Nowadays, many investors' portfolios include investments such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds. But the variety of securities you have at your disposal does not end there. Another type of security, called an option, presents a world of opportunity to sophisticated investors. The power of options lies in their versatility. They enable you to adapt or adjust your position according to any situation that arises. Options can be as speculative or as conservative as you want. This means you can do everything from protecting a position from a decline to outright betting on the movement of a market or index. This versatility, however, does not come without its costs. Options are complex securities and can be extremely risky. This is why, when trading options, you'll see a disclaimer like the following: Options involve risks and are not suitable for everyone. Option trading can be speculative in nature and carry substantial risk of loss. Only invest with risk capital. Despite what anybody tells you, option trading involves risk, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Because of this, many people suggest you steer clear of options and forget their existence. On the other hand, being ignorant of any type of investment places you in a weak position. Perhaps the speculative nature of options doesn't fit your style. No problem - then don't speculate in options. But, before you decide not to invest in options, you should understand them. Not learning how options function is as dangerous as jumping right in: without knowing about options you would not only forfeit having another item in your investing toolbox but also lose insight into the workings of some of the world's largest corporations. Whether it is to hedge the risk of foreign-exchange transactions or to give employees ownership in the form of stock options, most multi-nationals today use options in some form or another. This book will introduce you to the fundamentals of options. Keep in mind that most options traders have many years of experience, so don't expect to be an expert immediately after reading this book .
Modern option pricing theory was developed in the late sixties and early seventies by F. Black, R. e. Merton and M. Scholes as an analytical tool for pricing and hedging option contracts and over-the-counter warrants. How- ever, already in the seminal paper by Black and Scholes, the applicability of the model was regarded as much broader. In the second part of their paper, the authors demonstrated that a levered firm's equity can be regarded as an option on the value of the firm, and thus can be priced by option valuation techniques. A year later, Merton showed how the default risk structure of cor- porate bonds can be determined by option pricing techniques. Option pricing models are now used to price virtually the full range of financial instruments and financial guarantees such as deposit insurance and collateral, and to quantify the associated risks. Over the years, option pricing has evolved from a set of specific models to a general analytical framework for analyzing the production process of financial contracts and their function in the financial intermediation process in a continuous time framework. However, very few attempts have been made in the literature to integrate game theory aspects, i. e. strategic financial decisions of the agents, into the continuous time framework. This is the unique contribution of the thesis of Dr. Alexandre Ziegler. Benefiting from the analytical tractability of contin- uous time models and the closed form valuation models for derivatives, Dr.
This volume is a follow up to its highly influential predecessor, "Options for Britain," which in 1995 brought together a leading group of academics and policy experts to assess the key economic, social and constitutional policy options for Britain.
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