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Financial Glossary

A complete Financial Glossary from one of the most respected names in the industry, Professor Campbell Harvey. 6,000 definitions and 15,000 internal links. Understand financial terms, clarify their meanings, explore the internal links and find out how these terms relate to each other.

B

Fifth letter of a Nasdaq stock descriptor specifying that issue is the Class B shares of the company.

B2B

An Internet strategy of dealing directly with businesses, rather than consumers, i.e. business to (2) business.

BAN

See: Bank anticipation notes

BEACON

See: Boston Exchange Automated Communication Order-Routing Network

BEARS

See: Bonds Enabling Annual Retirement Savings (BEARS)

BIC

See: Bank Investment Contract

BIF

See: Bank Insurance Fund

BIPS

See: Basis point.

BIS

See: Bank for International Settlements

BPS

See: Basis point.

BTM

See: Book to market.

Baby bond

A bond with a par value of less than $1000.

Back away

In the context of general equities, to withdraw from a previously declared interest, indication, or transaction; broker-dealer's failure, as a market maker in a given security, to make good on a bid/offer for the minimum quantity.

Back fee

The fee paid on the extension date if the buyer wishes to continue the option.

Back months

In the context of futures and options trading, refers to the months of contracts with expiration dates farthest away. See farthest month.

Back office

Brokerage house clerical operations that support, but do not include, the trading of stocks and other securities. All written confirmation and settlement of trades, record keeping, and regulatory compliance happen in the back office.

Back on the shelf

In the context of general equities, permanently canceledorder/interest in a stock by a customer. See: Take a powder.

Back taxes

Due taxes that have not been paid on time.

Back up

(1) When bond yields rise and prices fall, the market is said to backup. (2) An investor who swaps out of one security into another of shorter current maturity is said to back up.

"Back up the truck"

In the context of general equities, "Prepare for a very large buyer."

Backdating

In the context of mutual funds, a feature allowing fundholders to use an earlier date on a letter of intent to invest in a mutual fund in exchange for a reduced sales charge, e.g. Giving retroactive value to purchases from the earlier date.

Backed in

In the context of general equities, to describe result of unanticipated events that allow for a purchase at a discount or a sale at a premium.

Back-end load fund

A mutual fund that charges investors a fee to sell (redeem) shares, often ranging from 4% to 6%. Some back-end load funds impose a full commission if the shares are redeemed within a designated length of time, such as one year. The commission decreases, the longer the investor holds the shares. The formal name for the back-end load is the contingent deferred sales charge, or CDSC

Back-testing

Creating a hypothetical portfolio performance history by applying current asset selection criteria to prior time periods.

Back-to-back financing

An intercompany loan channeled through a bank.

Back-to-back loan

A loan in which two companies in separate countries borrow each other's currency for a specific time period and repay the other's currency at an agreed-upon maturity.

Backup line

A commercial paper issuer's bank line of credit covering maturing notes if, for some reason, selling new notes to cover the maturing notes is not possible.

Backup Line of Credit

A bank assurance of funds obtained by an issuer of commercial paper to protect the CP investor from default. The issuer pays a commitment fee to the bank.

Backwardation

A market condition in which futures prices are lower in the distant delivery months than in the nearest delivery month. This may occur when the costs of storing the product until eventual delivery are effectively subtracted from the price today. The opposite of contango.

Bad debt

A debt that is written off and deemed uncollectible.

Bad delivery

Antithesis of good delivery.

Bad title

Title to property that does not distinctly confer ownership, usually in the context of real estate.

Bai-kai

Two-sided market picture, in Japanese terminology applies mainly to international equities.

Bailing out

In the context of securities, refers to selling a security or commodity quickly, regardless of the price. May occur when an investor no longer wants to sustain further losses on a stock. Also refers to relieving an individual, corporation, or government entity in financial trouble.

Bailout bond

A bond issued by the Resolution Funding Corporation (Refcorp) to save the failing savings and loan associations in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Baker Plan

A plan by former U.S. Treasury Secretary James Baker under which 15 principal middle-income debtor countries (the Baker 15) would undertake growth-oriented structural reforms, to be supported by increased financing from the World Bank and continued lending from commercial banks.

Balance of payments

A statistical compilation formulated by a sovereign nation of all economic transactions between residents of that nation and residents of all other nations during a stipulated period of time, usually a calendar year.

Balance of trade

Net flow of goods (exports minus imports) between two countries.

Balance on goods and services

Netting of transaction balances, including the net amount of payments of interest and dividends to foreign investors and investments, as well as receipts and payments resulting from international tourism.

Balance sheet

Also called the statement of financial condition, it is a summary of a company's assets, liabilities, and owners' equity.

Balance sheet exposure

See: Accounting exposure.

Balance sheet identity

Total assets = Total liabilities + Total stockholders' equity.

Balanced budget

A budget in which the income equals expenditure. See: budget.

Balanced fund

An investment company that invests in stocks and bonds. The same as a balanced mutual fund.

Balanced mutual fund

This is a fund that buys common stock, preferred stock, and bonds. The same as a balanced fund.

Balloon interest

In the context of serial bond issues, the elevated coupon rate on bonds with late maturity's.

Balloon maturity

Any large principal payment due at maturity for a bond or loan with or without a sinking fund requirement.

Balloon Payment

The final (large) payment that repays all the remaining principal and interest of a partially amortized or unamortized loan.

BAN

See: Bond anticipation note.

Bank anticipation notes (BAN)

Notes issued by states and municipalities to obtain interim financing for projects that will eventually be funded long term through the sale of a bond issue.

Bank collection float

The time that elapses between when a check is deposited into a bank account and when the funds are available to the depositor, during which period the bank is collecting payment from the payer's bank.

Bank discount basis

A convention used for quoting bids and offers for Treasury bills in terms of annualized yield, based on a 360-day year.

Bank draft

A draft addressed to a bank.

Bank holding company

A company that owns or has controlling interest in two or more banks and/or other bank holding companies.

Bank Insurance Fund (BIF)

A unit of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that provides deposit insurance for banks excluding thrifts.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

An international bank headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, which serves as a forum for monetary cooperation among several European central banks, the Bank of Japan, and the US Federal Reserve System. Founded in 1930 to handle the German payment of World War I reparations, it now monitors and collects data on international banking activity and promulgates rules concerning international bank regulation.

Bank Investment Contract (BIC)

Interest guaranteed by the bank in a portfolio over a specific time frame with a specific yield.

Bank line

Line of credit that by a bank grants to a customer.

Bank Letter of Credit Policy

Standards allowing banks to confirm letters of credit by foreign banks supporting the purchase of US exports.

Bank trust department

Bank department that deals with estates, administers trusts, and provides services such as estate planning advice to its clients.

Bank wire

A computer message system linking major banks. It is used not for effecting payments, but as a mechanism to advise the receiving bank of some action that has occurred, e.g., the payment by a customer of funds into that bank's account.

Banker's acceptance

A short-term credit investment created by a nonfinancial firm and guaranteed by a bank as to payment. Acceptances are traded at discounts to face value in the secondary market. These instruments have been a popular investment for money market funds. They are commonly used in international transactions.

Banking Delay

Time required for processing and clearing a check through the banking system.

Bankmail

An agreement between a company engaged in a takeover bid and a bank that the bank will not finance the bid of another acquirer.

Bankruptcy

Inability to pay debts. In bankruptcy of a publicly owned entity, the ownership of the firm's assets is transferred from the stockholders to the bondholders.

Bankruptcy cost view

The argument that expected indirect and direct bankruptcy costs offset the other benefits from leverage so that the optimal amount of leverage is less than 100% debt financing.

Bankruptcy risk

The risk that a firm will be unable to meet its debt obligations. Also referred to as default or insolvency risk.

Bankruptcy view

The argument that expected bankruptcy costs preclude firms from financing entirely with debt.

Bar

Slang for one million dollars.

Barbell strategy

A fixed income strategy in which the maturity's of the securities included in the portfolio are concentrated at two extremes.

Barefoot pilgrim

A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who has lost everything on the stock market.

Bargain hunter

In the context of general equities, purchaser who is extremely selective in the price sought on a transaction.

Bargain-purchase-price option

Gives the lessee the option to purchase the asset at a price below fair market value when the lease expires.

Barometer

Economic and market data that represent an overall trend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an example of a stock market barometer.

BARRA's performance analysis (PERFAN)

A method developed by BARRA, a consulting firm in Berkeley, Calif. It is commonly used by institutional investors applying performance attribution analysis to evaluate their money managers' performance.

Barrier options

Option contracts with trigger points that, when crossed, automatically generate buying or selling of other options. These are exotic options.

Barron's confidence index

Index measuring the ratio of the average yield on 10 top-grade bonds to the average yield on 10 intermediate-grade bonds. The discrepancy between high-rated top-grade bonds and low-rated bond yields establishes a measure that is indicative of investor confidence.

Barter

The trading/exchange of goods or services without using currency.

Base

A technical analysis tool. A chart pattern depicting the period when the supply and demand of a certain stock are in relative equilibrium, resulting in a narrow trading range. The merging of the support level and resistance level.

Base currency

Applies mainly to international equities. Currency in which gains or losses from operating an international portfolio are measured.

Base interest rate

Related: Benchmark interest rate.

Base market value

A group of securities, average market price at a specific time. Used for the purpose of indexing.

Base period

A particular period of time used for comparative purposes when measuring economic data.

Base probability of loss

The probability of not achieving a portfolio expected return. Related: Value at risk.

Base rate

British equivalent of the US prime rate.

Bank-based corporate governance system

Organization of a supervisory board so that it is dominated by bankers and corporate insiders.

Bank Letter of Credit Policy

Standards allowing banks to confirm letters of credit by foreign banks supporting the purchase of US exports.

Basic balance

In a balance of payments, the basic balance is the net balance of the combination of the current account and the capital account.

Basic business strategies

Key strategies a firm intends to pursue in carrying out its business plan.

Basic IRR rule

Accept the project if IRR is higher than the discount rate; reject the project if it is lower than the discount rate. It is wise to also consider net present value for project evaluation.

Basis

The price an investor pays for a security plus any out-of-pocket expenses. It is used to determine capital gains or losses for tax purposes when the stock is sold. Also, for a futures contract, the difference between the cash price and the futures price observed in the market.

Basis point

In the bond market, the smallest measure used for quoting yields is a basis point. Each percentage point of yield in bonds equals 100 basis points. Basis points also are used for interest rates. An interest rate of 5% is 50 basis points higher than an interest rate of 4.5%. Sometimes referred to as BPS, BIPS, and pronounced "Bips"

Basis price

Price expressed in terms of yield to maturity or annual rate of return.

Basis risk

Uncertainty about the basis at the time a hedge may be lifted. Hedging substitutes basis risk for price risk.

Basket

Applies to derivative products. Group of stocks that is formed with the intention of either being bought or sold all at once, usually to perform index arbitrage or a hedging program.

Basket options

Packages that involve the exchange of more than two currencies against a base currency at expiration. The basket option buyer purchases the right, but not the obligation, to receive designated currencies in exchange for a base currency, either at the prevailing foreign exchange market rate or at a prearranged rate of exchange. Multinational corporations with multicurrency cash flows frequently use basket options because it is generally cheaper to buy an option on a basket of currencies than to buy individual options on each of the currencies that make up the basket.

Basket trades

Related: Program trades.

BD form

An SEC required document of brokerage houses that outlines the firm's finances and officers.

BDS Statistic

A statistic based upon the correlation integral which examines the probability that a purely random system could have the same scaling properties as the system under study. See: Correlation Integral.

Boston Exchange Automated Communication Order-Routing Network (BEACON)

This system permits the automatic execution of trades based on the current stock prices on the consolidated markets at any of the US securities exchanges.

Bear

An investor who believes a stock or the overall market will decline. A bear market is a prolonged period of falling stock prices, usually by 20% or more. Related: bull.

Bear CD

A bear CD pays the holder a fraction of any fall in a given market index.

Bear hug

Often used in risk arbitrage. Hostile takeover attempt in which the acquirer offers an exceptionally large premium over the market value of the acquiree's share so as to as to squeeze (hug) the target into acceptance.

Bear market

Any market in which prices exhibit a declining trend. For a prolonged period, usually falling by 20% or more.

Bear raid

In the context of general equities, attempt by investors to move the price of a stock opportunistically by selling large numbers of shares short. The investors pocket the difference between the initial price and the new, lower price after this maneuver. This technique is illegal under SEC rules, which stipulate that every short sale must be on an uptick.

Bear spread

Applies to derivative products. Strategy in the options market designed to take advantage of a fall in the price of a security or commodity, usually executed by buying a combination of calls and puts on the same security at different strike prices in order to profit as the security's price falls.

Bear trap

The predicament facing short sellers when a bear market reverses its trend and becomes bullish. The assets continue to sell in anticipation of further declines in price, and short sellers then are forced to cover at higher prices.

Bearer bond

Bonds that are not registered on the books of the issuer. Such bonds are held in physical form by the owner, who receives interest payments by physically detaching coupons from the bond certificate and delivering them to the paying agent.

Bearer form

Describes issue form of security not registered on the issuing corporation's books, and therefore payable to its bearer. See also: Bearer bond; coupon bond.

Bearer share

Security not registered on the books of the issuing corporation and thus payable to possessor of the shares. Negotiable without endorsement and transferred by delivery, thus avoiding some of the control associated with ordinary shares. Dividends are payable upon presentation of dividend coupons, which are dated or numbered. Applies mainly to international equities.

Bearish

Words used to describe investor attitude.

Beating the gun

In the context of general equities, gaining an advantageous price in a trade through a quick response to market developments.

Before-tax contributions

The portion of an employee's salary contributed to a retirement plan before federal income taxes are deducted; this reduces the individual's gross income for federal tax purposes.

Before-tax profit margin

The ratio of net income before taxes to net sales.

Beggar-thy-neighbor

An international trade policy of competitive devaluations and increased protective barriers that one country institutes to gain at the expense of its trading partners.

Beggar-thy-neighbor devaluation

A devaluation that is designed to cheapen a nation's currency and thereby increase its exports at the expense of other countries. Devaluation can also reduce a nation's imports. Such devaluations often lead to trade wars.

Behind

Used for listed equity securities. At the same price but entered after your order/interest, such as on the specialist's book. Antithesis of ahead of you.

Bell

Signal on a stock exchange to indicate the open and close of trading.

Bellwether issues

Related: Benchmark issues.

Below par

Less than the nominal or face value of a security.

Benchmark

The performance of a predetermined set of securities, used for comparison purposes. Such sets may be based on published indexes or may be customized to suit an investment strategy.

Benchmark error

Use of an inappropriate proxy for the true market portfolio.

Benchmark interest rate

Also called the base interest rate, it is the minimum interest rate investors will demand for investing in a non-Treasury security. It is also tied to the yield to maturity offered on the comparable-maturity Treasury security that was most recently issued (on-the-run).

Benchmark issue

Also called on-the-run or current-coupon issue or bellwether issues. In the secondary market, the benchmark issue is the most recently auctioned Treasury issues for each maturity.

Beneath

Used for listed equity securities. 1) Behind; 2) Lower in price.

Beneficial ownership

Often used in risk arbitrage. Person who enjoys the benefits of ownership even though title is in another name. (Abused through the illegal use of a parking violation.)

Beneficiary

Term used to refer to the person who receives the benefits of a trust or the recipient of the proceeds of a life insurance policy.

Bequest

Property left to an heir under the terms of a will.

Best's rating

A rating A.M. Best Co. assigns to insurance companies based on the company's ability to meet its obligations to its policyholders.

Best-efforts sale

A method of securities distribution/underwriting in which the securities firm agrees to sell as much of the offering as possible and return any unsold shares to the issuer. As opposed to a guaranteed or fixed-price sale, in which the underwriter agrees to sell a specific number of shares (and holds any unsold shares in its own account if necessary).

Best-interests-of-creditors test

The requirement that a claim holder voting against a plan of reorganization must receive at least as much as if the debtor were liquidated.

Beta

The measure of an asset's risk in relation to the market (for example, the S&P500) or to an alternative benchmark or factors. Roughly speaking, a security with a beta of 1.5, will have move, on average, 1.5 times the market return. [More precisely, that stock's excess return (over and above a short-term money market rate) is expected to move 1.5 times the market excess return).] According to asset pricing theory, beta represents the type of risk, systematic risk, that cannot be diversified away. When using beta, there are a number of issues that you need to be aware of: (1) betas may change through time; (2) betas may be different depending on the direction of the market (i.e. betas may be greater for down moves in the market rather than up moves); (3) the estimated beta will be biased if the security does not frequently trade; (4) the beta is not necessarily a complete measure of risk (you may need multiple betas). Also, note that the beta is a measure of comovement, not volatility. It is possible for a security to have a zero beta and higher volatility than the market.

Beta equation (security)

The market beta of a security is determined as follows: Regress excess returns of stock y on excess returns of the market. The slope coefficient is beta. Define n as number of observation numbers.
Beta=
[(n) (sum of [xy]) ]-[ (sum of x) (sum of y)]/
[(n) (sum of [xx]) ]-[ (sum of x) (sum of x)]
where: n = # of observations (usually 36 to 60 months)
x = rate of return for the S&P 500 index
y = rate of return for the security
Related: Alpha

Biased expectations theories

Related: Pure expectations theory.

Bid

The price a potential buyer is willing to pay for a security. Sometimes also used in the context of takeovers where one corporation is bidding for (trying to buy) another corporation. In trading, we have the bid-ask spread which is the difference between what buyers are willing to pay and what sellers are asking for in terms of price.

Bid away

Refers to over-the-counter trading. Bid from another dealer exists at the same (listed) or higher (OTC) price.

Bid-asked spread

The difference between the bid and the asked prices.

Bid price>

This is the quoted bid, or the highest price an investor is willing to pay to buy a security. Practically speaking, this is the available price at which an investor can sell shares of stock. Related: Ask, offer.

Bid-to-cover ratio

The ratio of the number of bids received in a Treasury security auction compared to the number of accepted bids.

Bid wanted

Used in the context of general equities. Announcement that a holder of securities wants to sell and will entertain bids.

Bidder

A firm or person that wants to buy a firm or security.

Bidding buyer

In the context of general equities, a nonaggressive buyer who prefers to await a natural seller in the hope of paying a lower price.

Bidding through the market

In the context of general equities, aggressive willingness to purchase a security at a premium to the inside market. Contrast with bidding buyer.

Bidding up

Moving the bid price higher.

Bifurcation

When a non-linear dynamic system develops twice the possible solutions that it had before it passed its critical level. A bifurcation cascade is often called the period doubling route to chaos because the transition from an orderly system to a chaotic system often occurs when the number of possible solutions begins increasing, doubling each time.

Bifurcation Diagram

A graph that shows the critical points where bifurcation occurs, and the possible solutions that exist at that point.

Big Bang

The term applied to the liberalization in 1986 of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) when trading was automated.

Big Board

A nickname for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Also known as The Exchange. More than 2,000 common and preferred stocks are traded. Founded in 1792, the NYSE is the oldest exchange in the United States, and the largest. It is located on Wall Street in New York City.

Big picture

To highlight trading interest due to the size of the trade.

Big producer

A successful broker who generates a large volume of commission. See Rainmaker.

Big uglies

Unpopular stocks.

Bill of exchange

General term for a document demanding payment.

Bill of lading

A contract between an exporter and a transportation company in which the latter agrees to transport the goods under specified conditions that limit its liability. It is the exporter's receipt for the goods as well as proof that goods have been or will be received.

Billing cycle

The time elapsed between billing periods for goods sold or services rendered.

Binder

An amount of money paid to indicate good faith in a transaction before the transaction is completed.

Binomial option pricing model

An option pricing model in which the underlying asset can assume one of only two possible, discrete values in the next time period for each value that it can take on in the preceding time period.

Bi-weekly mortgage loan

A mortgage loan on which interest and principal payments are made every half-month (total of 26 payments) as opposed to monthly payments. This results in earlier loan retirement.

Black Friday

A precipitous drop in a financial market . The original Black Friday occurred on September 24, 1869, when prospectors attempted to corner the gold market.

Black market

An illegal market.

Black Monday

Refers to October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 508 points on the heels of sharp drops the previous week. On Monday, October 27, 1997, the Dow dropped 554 points. While the point drop set a new record, the percentage decline was substantially less than in 1987.

Black-Scholes option-pricing model

A model for pricing call options based on arbitrage arguments. Uses the stock price, the exercise price, the risk-free interest rate, the time to expiration, and the expected standard deviation of the stock return. Developed by Fischer Black and Myron Scholes in 1973.

Blank check

A check that is duly signed, but the amount of the check is left blank to be supplied by the drawee.

Blank check offering

An initial public offering by a company whose business activities are undefined and therefore peculative.

Blanket certification form

See: NASD form FR-1

Blanket fidelity bond

SEC-required insurance coverage that brokerage firms are required to have in order to cover fraudulent trading by employees.

Blanket inventory lien

A secured loan that gives the lender a lien against all the borrower's inventories.

Blanket recommendation

A recommendation by a brokerage firm sent to all its customers advising that they buy or sell a particular stock regardless of investment objectives or portfolio size.

Blind pool

A limited partnership that does not announce its intentions as to what properties will be acquired.

Blind trust

A trust in which a fiduciary third party has total discretion to make investments on behalf of a beneficiary while the beneficiary is uninformed about the holdings of the trust.

Blitzkrieg tender offer

In the context of a takeover, refers to a tender offer that is priced so attractively that the tender is completed quickly.

Block

Large quantity of stock or large dollar amount of bonds held or traded. As a rule of thumb, 10,000 shares or more of stock and $200,000 or more worth of bonds would be described as a block.

Block call

In the context of general equities, conference meeting during which customer indications and orders, along with the traders' own buy/sell preferences, are conveyed to the entire organization. See block list.

Block house

Brokerage firms that help to find potential buyers or sellers of large block trades.

Block list

In the context of general equities, listing of stock the investment bank is looking for (wants to buy) or (wants to sell) at the beginning of the day, whether on an agency or principal basis.

Block trade

A large trading order, defined on the New York Stock Exchange as an order that consists of 10,000 shares of a given stock or at a total market value of $200,000 or more.

Block trader

A dealer who will take a position in the block trades to accommodate customer buyers and sellers of blocks. See: Dealer, market maker, principal.

Block voting

Describes a group of shareholders banding together to vote their shares in a single block.

Blocked currency

A currency that is not freely convertible to other currencies due to exchange controls.

Blocked funds

Cash flows generated by a foreign project that cannot be immediately repatriated to the parent firm because of capital flow restrictions imposed by the host government.

Blow-off top

A steep and rapid increase in price followed by a steep and rapid drop. This is an indicator seen in charts and used in technical analysis of stock price and market trends.

Blowout

The rapid sale of all shares in a new securities offering. See: hot issue.

Blue list

Daily financial publication featuring bonds offered for sale by dealers and banks that represent billions of dollars in par value. Also available on-line at www.bluelist.com.

Blue-chip company

Used in the context of general equities. Large and creditworthy company. Company renowned for the quality and wide acceptance of its products or services,and for its ability to make money and pay dividends. Gilt-edged security.

Blue chip stocks

Common stock of well-known companies with a history of growth and dividend payments.

Blue-sky laws

State laws covering the issue and trading of securities.

Bo Derek stock

High quality stock.

Board broker

Employee of the Chicago Board Options Exchange who manages away from the market orders, which cannot be executed immediately.

Board of Directors

Individuals elected by the shareholders of a corporation who carry out certain tasks established in the charter.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

The managing body of the Federal Reserve System, set which policies on bank practices and the money supply.

Board room

A room at a brokerage firm where its clients can watch an electronic board displaying stock prices and transactions. Also refers to the room where Board of Directors meetings take place.

Bogey

The return an investment manager is compared to for performance evaluation.

Boiler room

Used to describe place or operation in which unscrupulous salespeople call and try to sell people speculative, even fraudulent, securities.

Boilerplate

Standard terms and conditions.

Bolsa

Spanish for stock exchange.

Bolsa de Commercio de Santiago (SSE)

Chile's preeminent stock exchange.

Bolsa de Valores de Rio de Janeiro (BVRJ)

Brazil's second-largest stock exchange.

Bolsa de Valores de Sao Paulo (BOVESPA)

The largest stock exchange in Brazil.

Bolt

Used for listed equity securities. Block trading version of COLT.

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)

See: National Stock Exchange; Mumbai stock exchange.

Bond

Bonds are debt and are issued for a period of more than one year. The US government, local governments, water districts, companies and many other types of institutions sell bonds. When an investor buys bonds, he or she is lending money. The seller of the bond agrees to repay the principal amount of the loan at a specified time. Interest-bearing bonds pay interest periodically.

Bond agreement

A contract for privately placed debt.

Bond anticipation note (BAN)

A short-term debt instrument issued by a state or municipality to borrow against the proceeds of an upcoming bond issue.

Bond broker

A broker on the floor of an exchange who trades bonds.

Bond Buyer

A daily publication featuring many essential statistics and index figures relevant to the fixed income markets.

Bond Buyer's municipal bond index

A municipal bond price tracking index published daily by the Bond Buyer.

Bond counsel

An attorney who prepares the legal opinion concerning a municipal bond issue.

Bond covenant

A contractual provision in a bond indenture. A positive covenant requires certain actions, and a negative covenant limits certain actions.

Bond crowd

Members of the stock exchange who transact bond orders on the floor of the exchange.

Bond discount

The difference by which a bond's market price is lower than its face value. The antithesis of a bond premium, which prevails when the market price of a bond is higher than its face value. See: Original issue discount.

Bond-equivalent basis

The method used for computing the bond-equivalent yield.

Bond equivalent yield

Bond yield calculated on an annual percentage rate method. Differs from annual effective yield.

Bond fund

A mutual fund that emphasizes income—consistent with risk, rather than growth—by investing in corporate, municipal, or US government debt obligations, or some combination of them.

Bond indenture

Contract that sets forth the promises of a corporate bond issuer and the rights of investors.

Bond indexing

Designing a bond portfolio so that its performance will match the performance of some bond index.

Bond market association

An international trade association of broker/dealers and banks in US government and federal agency securities, municipal securities, mortgage-backed securities, and money market securities.

Bond mutual fund

A mutual fund holding bonds.

Bond points

A conventional unit of measure for bond prices set at $1 and equivalent to 1% of the $100 face value of the bond. A price of 80 means that the bond is selling at 80% of its face or par value.

Bond power

A form used in the transfer of registered bonds from one owner to a different owner.

Bond premium

See: Bond discount

Bond rating

A rating based on the possibility of default by a bond issuer. The ratings range from AAA (highly unlikely to default) to D (in default). See: Rating, investment grade.

Bond ratio

The percentage of a company's capitalization represented by bonds. The ratio is calculated by dividing the total bonds due after one year by that same figure plus all other equity. See: Debt-to-equity-ratio.

Bond swap

The sale of one bond issue and purchase of another bond issue simultaneously. See: Swap; swap order.

Bond value

With respect to convertible bonds, the value the security would have if it were not convertible. That is the market value of the bond minus the value of the conversion option.

Bondholder

The firm often has stockholders and bondholders. In a liquidation, the bondholders have first priority.

BONDPAR

A system that monitors and evaluates the performance of a fixed income portfolio, as well as the individual securities held in the portfolio. BONDPAR decomposes the return into the elements beyond the manager's control--such as the interest rate environment and client-imposed duration policy constraints--and those that the management process contributes to, such as interest rate management, sector/quality allocations, and individual bond selection.

Bonds Enabling Annual Retirement Savings (BEARS)

Holders of BEARS receive the face value of bonds underlying call option, which are exercised by CUBS (an acronym for Calls Underwritten by Swanbrook). If the calls are exercised by CUBS, BEARS holders receive the total of the exercise price.

Bon voyage bonus

See: Greenmail.

Boning

Charging a lot more for an asset than its worth.

Book

A banker or trader's positions.

Book cash

A firm's cash balance as reported in its financial statements. Also called ledger cash.

Book to market

The ratio of book value to market value of equity. A high ratio means is often interpreted as a value stock (the market is valuing equity relatively cheaply compared to book value). This is the same as a low price-to-book value ratio. Value managers often form portfolios of securities with high book to market values.

Book profit

The cumulative book income plus any gain or loss on disposition of assets.

Book runner

The managing underwriter for a new issue. The book runner maintains the book of securities sold.

Book to bill

The book-to-bill ratio is the ratio of orders taken (booked) to products shipped and bills sent (billed). The ratio measures whether the company has more orders than it can deliver (>1), equal amounts (=1), or less (<1). This ratio is of significant interest to investors/ traders in the high-technology sector.

Book value

A company's total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities, such as debt. A company's book value might be higher or lower than its market value.

Book value per share

The ratio of stockholder equity to the average number of common shares. Book value per share should not be thought of as an indicator of economic worth, since it reflects accounting valuation (and not necessarily market valuation).

Book-entry securities

System in which securities are not represented by paper certificates but are maintained in computerized records at the Fed in the names of member banks, which in turn keep computer records of the securities they own as well as those they are holding for customers. In the case of other securities where a book-entry has developed, certificates reside in a central clearinghouse or by another agent. These securities do not move from holder to holder.

Bootstrap

Term used to describe the start-up of a company with very little capital.

Bootstrapping

Creating a theoretical spot rate curve using one yield projection as the basis for the yield of the next maturity.

Borrow

To obtain or receive money on loan with the promise or understanding that it will be repaid.

Borrowed reserves

Funds borrowed from a Federal Reserve Bank by member banks to maintain the required reserve ratios.

Borrower fallout

In the mortgage pipeline, the risk that prospective borrowers of loans committed to be closed will elect to withdraw from the contract.

Bot

Shorthand for bought. Antithesis of SL, meaning sold.

Bottom

Refers to the base support level for market prices of any type. Also used in the context of securities to refer to the lowest market price of a security during a specific time-frame.

Bottom fisher

An investor seeking stocks that have fallen to prices at or near their bottom, which he or she believes will trend up in the future.

Bottom-up equity management style

A management style that de-emphasizes the significance of economic and market cycles, focusing instead on the analysis of individual stocks.

Bought deal

Security issue in which one or two underwriters buy the entire issue.

Bounce

A check returned by a bank because it is not payable, usually because of insufficient funds. Also used in the context of securities to refer to the rejection and ensuing reclamation of a security; a stock price's abrupt decline and recovery.

Bourse

French for a stock market.

Boutique

A small, specialized brokerage firm that offers limited services and products to a limited number of clients. Antithesis of financial supermarket.

Box

The actual physical location at a brokerage house or bank where securities or other documents are stored for safekeeping. Alternatively, a quotation machine or battery march.

Bracket

A term signifying the extent of an underwriter's commitment in a new issue, e.g., major bracket or minor bracket.

Bracket creep

The gradual movement into higher tax brackets when incomes increase as a result of inflation.

Brady bonds

Bonds issued by emerging countries under a debt reduction plan.

Branch

An operation in a foreign country incorporated in the home country.

Breadth

The percentage of assets or stocks advancing relative to those unchanged or declining. Also the number of independent forecasts available per year. A stock picker forecasting returns to 100 stocks every quarter exhibits a breadth of 400, assuming each forecast is independent (based on separate information).

Breadth of the market

In the context of general equities, percentage of stocks participating in a particular market move. Technical analysts say there was significant breadth if two-thirds of the stocks listed on an exchange move in the same direction during a trading session. See: A/D line.

Break

A rapid and sharp price decline. Related: Crash.

Break price

Used in the context of general equities. Change one's offering or bid prices to move to a more realistic, tight level where execution is more feasible. Often done to trim one's position, thus "breaking price" from where the trades occurred (if long, "break price" downward 1/8 a point or more).

Break-even analysis

An analysis of the level of sales at which a project would make zero profit.

Break-even lease payment

The lease payment at which a party to a prospective lease is indifferent between entering and not entering into a lease arrangement.

Break-even payment rate

The prepayment rate of an MBS coupon that will produce the same cash flow yield (CFY) as that of a predetermined benchmark MBS coupon. Used to identify for coupons higher than the benchmark coupon the prepayment rate that will produce the same cash flow yield (CFY) as that of the benchmark coupon; and for coupons lower than the benchmark coupon the lowest prepayment rate that will do so.

Break-even point

Refers to the price at which a transaction produces neither a gain nor a loss. In the context of options, the term has the additional definitions: 1. Long calls and short uncovered calls: strike price plus premium.
2. Long puts and short uncovered puts: strike price minus premium.
3. Short covered call: purchase price minus premium.
4. Short put covered by short stock: short sale price of underlying stock plus premium.

Break-even tax rate

The tax rate at which a party to a prospective transaction is indifferent between entering into and not entering into the transaction.

Break-even time

Related: Premium payback period.

Breaking the syndicate

Terminating an agreement among underwriters, specifically the investment banking group assembled to underwrite the issue of a security.

Breakout

A rise in a security's price above a resistance level (commonly its previous high price) or a drop below a level of support (commonly the former lowest price.) A breakout is taken to signify a continuing move in the same direction. Can be used by technical analysts as a buy or sell indicator.

Breakpoint sale

For mutual funds, refers to the investment amount necessary to make the fundholder eligible for a reduced sales charge. See: Letter of intent; right of accumulation.

Breakup value

See: Private market value.

Breeden, Douglas T.

Inventor of one of the foundational asset pricing models in finance, the consumption based capital asset pricing model. Chairman of Smith Breeden Associates.

Bretton Woods Agreement

An agreement signed by the original United Nations members in 1944 that established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the post-World War II international monetary system of fixed exchange rates.

Bridge financing

Interim financing of one sort or another used to solidify a position until more permanent financing is arranged.

"Bring it out"

In the context of general equities, "make stock available for sale to indicated buyers."

British clearers

The large clearing banks that dominate deposit taking and short-term lending in the domestic sterling market.

Broad tape

An expanded version of the ticker tape, which is displayed on a screen in the board room of a brokerage firm and shows constantly updated financial information and news.

Broken up

Used for listed equity securities. Prevented from executing a trade (committed to upstairs) due to exchange priority rules excluding one's order (e.g., higher bid/lower offer on floor, market order to satisfy).

Broker

An individual who is paid a commission for executing customer orders. Either a floor broker who executes orders on the floor of the exchange, or an upstairs broker who handles retail customers and their orders. Also, person who acts as an intermediary between a buyer and seller, usually charging a commission. A "broker" who specializes in stocks, bonds, commodities, or options acts as an agent and must be registered with the exchange where the securities are traded. Antithesis of dealer.

Broker-dealer

See: Dealer.

Broker loan rate

Related: Call money rate.

Brokered CD

A certificate of deposit issued by a bank or thrift institution bought by a brokerage firm in bulk for the purpose of reselling to brokerage customers. A broker CD features a higher interest rate, usually 1% higher, and is FDIC insured and do not usually have commissions.

Brokered market

A market in which an intermediary offers search services to buyers and sellers.

Brought over the wall

Compelling a research analyst of an investment bank to work in the underwriting department for a corporate client, therefore allowing for the transmission of insider information. Also called "Over the Chinese wall".

Brussels Stock Exchange (BSE)

Stock exchange that handles the majority of securities transactions in Belgium.

Bubble theory

Security prices sometimes move wildly above their true values, or the price falls sharply until the "bubble bursts.".

Budget

A detailed schedule of financial activity, such as an advertising budget, a sales budget, or a capital budget.

Budget authority

Broad responsibility by Congress that government agencies have the power to spend federal funds. Congress can specify criteria for the spending of these funds. For example, it may stipulate that a given agency must spend within a specific year, number of years, or any time in the future. The basic forms of budget authority are; appropriations, authority to borrow, contract authority, and authority to obligate and expend offsetting receipts and collections. The period of time during which Congress makes funds available may be specified as one-year, multiple years or no year. The available amount may be classified as either definite or indefinite; a specific amount or an unspecified amount can be made available. Authority may also be classified as current or permanent. Permanent authority requires no current action by Congress.

Budget deficit

The amount by which government spending exceeds government revenues.

Buck

Slang for one million dollars.

Bucket shop

An illegal brokerage firm that accepts customer orders but does not attain immediate executions. A bucket shop broker promises the customer a certain price, but waits until a price discrepancy is present and the trade is advantageous to the firm and then keeps the difference as profit. Alternatively, the broker may never fill the customer's order but keep the money.

Budget surplus

The amount by which government revenues exceed government pending.

Build a book

In the context of general equities, develop customer orders to gather demand/supply in order to make a bid or an offer.

Builder buydown loan

A mortgage loan on newly developed property that the builder subsidizes during the early years of the development. The builder uses cash to buy down the mortgage rate to a lower level than the prevailing market loan rate for some period of time. The typical buydown is 3% of the interest rate amount for the first year, 2% for the second year, and 1% for the third year (also referred to as a 3-2-1 buydown).

Bulge

A short-lived stock price increase. Synonymous with bubble.

Bulge bracket

A tier of firms in an underwriting syndicate that have the highest participation level. See: Mezzanine bracket.

Bull

An investor who thinks the market will rise. Related: Bear.

Bull-bear bond

Bond whose principal repayment is linked to the price of another security. The bonds are issued in two tranches: In the first tranche repayment increases with the price of the other security, and in the second tranche repayment decreases with the price of the other security.

Bull CD

A bull CD pays its holder a specified percentage of the increase in return on a specified marketindex while guaranteeing a minimum rate of return.

Bull market

Any market in which prices are in an upward trend.

Bull spread

A spread strategy in which an investor buys an out-of-the-money put option, financing it by selling an out-of-the money call option on the same underlying security.

Bulldog bond

Foreign bond issue made in London.

Bulldog market

The foreign market in the United Kingdom.

Bullet contract

A guaranteed investment contract purchased with a single (one-shot) premium. Related: Window contract.

Bullet loan

A bank term loan that calls for no amortization.

Bullet strategy

A fixed income strategy in which a portfolio is constructed so that the maturity's of its securities are highly concentrated at one point on the yield curve.

Bullion coins

Metal coins consisting of gold, silver, platinum, or palladium that are actively traded. Some examples include the American eagle and the Canadian maple leaf. Their price is directly connected to the underlying price of their metal.

Bullish

Words used to describe investor attitudes. Bullish refers to an optimistic outlook, while bearish means a pessimistic outlook.

Bump-up CD

A certificate of deposit granting the owner the right to increase its yield one time for the remaining term of the CD. The power is exercised by the owner in the event of an interest rate hike.

Bunching

Describes the act of traders combining round-lot orders for execution at the same time. Bunching can also be used to combine odd-lot orders to save the odd-lot differential for customers. Also used to refer to the pattern on the ticker tape when a series of trades for a security appear consecutively.

Bundling, unbundling

Creation of securities either by combining primitive and derivative securities into one composite hybrid or by separating returns on an asset into classes.

Burn rate

Used in venture capital financing to refer to the rate at which a startup company expends capital to finance overhead costs prior to the generation of positive cash flow.

Burnout

Depletion of a tax shelter's benefits. In the context of mortgage backed securities it refers to the percentage of the pool that has prepaid their mortgage.

Business combination

See: Merger

Business cycle

Repetitive cycles of economic expansion and recession. The official peaks and troughs of the US cycle are determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA.

Business day

A day in which financial markets are open for trading.

Business failure

A business that has terminated operations with a loss to creditors.

Business risk

The risk that the cash flow of an issuer will be impaired because of adverse economic conditions, making it difficult for the issuer to meet its operating expenses.

Business segment reporting

Reporting the results of the separate divisions or subsidiaries of a business.

Busted convertible

Related: Fixed income equivalent. Mainly applies to convertible securities. Convertible bond selling essentially as a straight bond. Assuming the issuer is "money good," or will continue to meet credit obligations, such issues can be highly attractive since the price makes virtually no allowance for the bond's call on the common stock, although such issues usually carry high premiums.

Bust-up takeover

A leveraged buyout in which the buyer sells off the assets of the target_company to repay the debt that financed the takeover.

Butterfly

In the context of equities, a firm with two divisions may split into two companies and issue original shareholders two shares (one in each of the new companies) for every old share they have.

Butterfly shift

A nonparallel shift in the yield curve involving the height of the curve.

Butterfly spread

Applies to derivative products. Complex option strategy that involves selling two calls and buying two calls on the same or different markets, with several maturity dates. One of the options has a higher exercise price and the other has a lower exercise price than the other two options. The payoff diagram resembles the shape of a butterfly.

Buy

To purchase an asset; taking a long position.

Buy-and-hold strategy

A passive investment strategy with no active buying and selling of stocks from the time the portfolio is created until the end of the investment horizon.

Buy-and-write strategy

An options strategy that calls for the purchase of stocks and the writing of covered call options on them.

Buy the book

An order, typically from a large institutional investor to a broker to purchase all the shares available at the market from the specialist and other brokers and dealers at the current offer price. The book refers to the record a specialist kept before the advent of computers.

Buy hedge

See: Long hedge

Buy in

To cover, offset, or close out a short position. Related: Evening up, liquidation.

Buy limit order

A conditional trading order that indicates a security may be purchased only at the designated price or lower. Related: Sell limit order.

Buy minus order

In the context of general equities, rare market or limit order to buy a stated amount of a stock, provided that the price to be obtained is not higher than the last sale if the last sale is a minus or zero-minus tick, and is not higher than the last sale minus the minimum fractional change in the stock if the last sale is a plus or zero-plus tick. (If limit, then the buy cannot occur above the limit, regardless of tick.)

Buy on the bad news

Buying stock shortly after a price drop resulting from bad news from the company. Investors believe that the price has hit bottom and will trend upward. See: Bottom fisher.

Buy on close

Buying at the end of the trading session at a price within the closing range.

Buy on margin

Borrowing to buy additional shares, using the shares themselves as collateral.

Buy on opening

Buying at the beginning of a trading session at a price within the opening range.

Buy order

An order to a broker to purchase a specific quantity of a security.

Buy-side analyst

A financial analyst employed by a nonbrokerage firm, typically one of the larger money management firms that purchases securities on its own account.

Buy stop order

A buy order not to be executed until the market price rises to the stop price. Once the security has broken through that price, the order is then treated as a market order. Also known as a suspended market order.

"Buy them back"

Used for listed equity securities. "Cover my short position.

Buyback

The covering of a short position by purchasing a long contract, usually resulting from the short sale of a commodity. See: Short covering, stock buyback. Also used in the context of bonds. The purchase of corporate bonds by the issuing company at a discount in the open market. Also used in the context of corporate finance. When a firm elects to repurchase some of the shares trading in the market.

Buydowns

Mortgages in which monthly payments consist of principal and interest. During the early part of the loan, portions of these payments are provided by a third party to reduce the borrower's monthly payments.

Buyer's market

Market in which the supply exceeds the demand, creating lower prices. Antithesis of seller's_market.

Buyers/sellers on balance

Used for listed equity securities. Indicates that at a given time (usually before the opening of a stock/market or at expiration time), there are more buyers/sellers in the marketplace, usually with market orders. See: Imbalance of orders.

Buying climax

A rapid rise in the price of a stock resulting from heavy buying, which usually creates the market condition for a rapid fall in the price.

Buying the index

Purchasing the stocks in the S&P 500 in the same proportion as the index to achieve the same return.

Buying power

The amount of money available to buy securities, determined by adding the total cash held in brokerage accounts and the amount that could be spent if securities were margined to the limit.

Buyout

Purchase of a controlling interest (or percent of shares) of a company's stock. A leveraged buy out is effected with borrowed money.

Bylaws

Rules and practices that govern management of an organization.

Bypass trust

An irrevocable trust that is designed to pay trust income (and principal, if needed) to an individual's spouse for the duration of the spouse's lifetime. The bypass trust is not part of the beneficiary spouse's estate and is not subject to federal estate taxes upon his/her death.

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*Costs and expenses vary, and may include a sales load, deferred sales charge, and transaction fees. Each individual investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the investment company before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information about the investment company. A prospectus can be obtained by calling or writing to StockCross Financial Services or the website of the fund family. Please read the Mutual Fund Disclosure and Prospectus carefully before investing.

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Brokerage Products and Services offered by StockCross Financial Services, Inc. - Member FINRA and SIPC.

Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus and, if available, the summary prospectus contain this and other information about the investment company.  To obtain a prospectus contact StockCross at 800.225.6196. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Detailed information on our policies and the risks associated with options can be found in the StockCross Options Application and Agreement, Customer Agreement, and by downloading the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options, and 2012 Supplements from The Options Clearing Corporation, or by requesting a copy from StockCross free of charge. 

Margin trading involves interest charges and risks, including the potential to lose more than deposited or the need to deposit additional collateral in a falling market. The Margin Disclosure Statement and Agreement (PDF) is available for download, or by requesting a copy from StockCross free of charge. 

Testimonials may not be representative of the experience of other clients and are no guarantee of future performance or success.

Copyright StockCross Financial Services, Inc. 2016.