A volatile new breed of fixed income securities have taken the market by storm over the past few years. Offering profit-hungry money managers and institutional investors the promise of far greater rewards than traditional fixed securities, these fickle instruments also entail far greater risk. Due, great part, to the sometimes violent ways in which these new fixed securities respond to changes in interest rates, old imprecise rules of thumb that worked so well in traditional markets only lead to disaster when applied to the likes of forward contracts, floating rate bonds, inverse floaters, IOs, interest rate swaps, and swaptions. Of course researchers have developed sophisticated tools for analyzing and applying these new instruments, but most of these, unfortunately, are over the heads of average practitioners… or are they?
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