A knowledgeable primer on securities and futures markets and the key factors that influence their performance, designed mainly to help novice investors. Largely ignoring such havens as CDs and mutual funds, Warfield (The Investor's Guide to Stock Quotations and Other Financial Listings) starts with the basics of equity (common or preferred stock) and debt (bonds) commitments. He does so in easy stages that will not intimidate rank beginners. There's a firstrate rundown on the income-statement and balance-sheet entries in annual reports, plus tips on using data from both sources to calculate cash flow or ratios of various sorts to make meaningful comparisons among publicly held companies. Also reviewed at some length are municipal bonds, US Government obligations (agency as well as Treasury), exchange-listed options, commodity contracts, and newer vehicles like stock index futures. In addition, Warfield takes straightforward note of the Federal Reserve's ongoing efforts to control the money supply, budget deficits, the balance of trade, economic indicators, the GNP, and other matters that can affect marketplace prices. An excellent introduction for rookies, and a good buy for veterans seeking an up-to-date reference work or refresher course. The text includes a blue-chip glossary that translates Wall Street lingo into Main Street language.