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The Learning Curve: Derivatives

In recent years, derivatives have become increasingly important in the field of finance and, in fact, much of the development of financial markets since the 1980s has been directly attributable to the expansion of the derivatives industry. In this sense, derivatives markets are the engine of a lot of financial innovation. So what are derivatives?


Fundamentals

What are financial derivatives and how are they used? In this section we look at the key characteristics of this vital market and explain their key role in both hedging and trading strategies. We consider the very different risk/return profiles offered by derivative instruments as opposed to their cash market counterparts.

Focus on Options

Options are one of the most versatile trading products available. You are not limited to buying at current price when bullish and selling at market price when bearish. You can tailor an options trading strategy to look for profit in any future scenario. Find out what options are and how they work.

Focus on Futures

A small deposit gives you exposure to the movements of a host of markets with these highly leveraged instruments. What is more, as with options, you can employ strategies to profit from falls in price as well as rises. What are futures contracts and how do they work?


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