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Introduction: The role of financial markets as a time machine

In this and the next module, we cover the key institutional features of financial markets and instruments. We ask the following questions: Why do financial markets exist? What role do they play? What are financial assets and how are they different than real assets? How does it all come together? Basically, this is where I hope you will get to see the big picture of the entire financial system and how it comes together. Module 2 focuses on fixed-income securities. We'll get started with a review of basics of bond valuation. You will learn about short-term money market instruments, U.S. Treasury securities as well as corporate bonds. After module 2, you will be able to describe fixed income securities, be familiar with their institutional features, and identify their cash flows. Finally, you will learn how to value fixed income securities such as Treasury bills, zero-coupon or coupon-bonds and compute yields.

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