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|> About Money 101

investing 101

A comprehensive A-to-Z listing of 2,500 financial terms

Face value
See: Par value.

A financial institution that buys a firm's accounts receivables and collects the debt.

Factor analysis
A statistical procedure that seeks to explain a certain phenomenon, such as the return on a common stock, in terms of the behavior of a set of predictive factors.

Factor model
A way of decomposing the factors that influence a security's rate of return into common and firm-specific influences.

Factor portfolio
A well-diversified portfolio constructed to have a beta of 1.0 on one factor and a beta of zero on any other factors.

Sale of a firm's accounts receivable to a financial institution known as a factor.

A trade is said to fail if on settlement date either the seller fails to deliver securities in proper form or the buyer fails to deliver funds in proper form.

Fair game
An investment prospect that has a zero risk premium.

Fair market price
Amount at which an asset would change hands between two parties, both having knowledge of the relevant facts. Also referred to as market prices.

Fair price
The equilibrium price for futures contracts. Also called the theoretical futures price, which equals the spot price continuously compounded at the cost of carry rate for some time interval.

Fair price provision
See:appraisal rights.

Fair-and-equitable test
A set of requirements for a plan of reorganization to be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Fallout risk
A type of mortgage pipeline risk that is generally created when the terms of the loan to be originated are set at the same time as the sale terms are set. The risk is that either of the two parties, borrower or investor, fails to close and the loan "falls out" of the pipeline.

Financial Accounting Standards Board. Sets accounting standards for U.S. firms.

FASB No. 8
U.S. accounting standard that requires U.S. firms to translate their foreign affiliates' accounts by the temporal method. Gains and losses from currency fluctuations were reported in current income. It was in effect between 1975 and 1981 and became the most controversial accounting standard in the U.S. It was replaced by FASB No. 52 in 1981.

FASB No. 52
The U.S. accounting standard which was replaced by FASB No. 8. U.S. companies are required to translate foreign accounts by the current rate and report the changes from currency fluctuations in a cumulative translation adjustment account in the equity section of the balance sheet.

Foreign Credit Insurance Association. A private U.S. consortium of insurance companies that offers trade credit insurance to U.S. exporters in conjunction with the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) Export-Import Bank.

(FDIC) Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Feasible portfolio
A portfolio that an investor can construct given the assets available.

Feasible set of portfolios
The collection of all feasible portfolios.

Feasible target payout ratios
Payout ratios that are consistent with the availability of excess funds to make cash dividend payments.

Federal agency securities
Securities issued by corporations and agencies created by the U.S. government, such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and Ginnie Mae.

Federal credit agencies
Agencies of the federal government set up to supply credit to various classes of institutions and individuals, e.g. S&Ls, small business firms, students, farmers, and exporters.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
A federal institution that insures bank deposits.

Federal Financing Bank
A federal institution that lends to a wide array of federal credit agencies funds it obtains by borrowing from the U.S. Treasury.

Federal funds
Non-interest bearing deposits held in reserve for depository institutions at their district Federal Reserve Bank. Also, excess reserves lent by banks to each other.

Federal funds market
The market where banks can borrow or lend reserves, allowing banks temporarily short of their required reserves to borrow reserves from banks that have excess reserves.

Federal funds rate
This is the interest rate that banks with excess reserves at a Federal Reserve district bank charge other banks that need overnight loans. The Fed Funds rate, as it is called, often points to the direction of U.S. interest rates.

Federal Home Loan Banks
The institutions that regulate and lend to savings and loan associations. The Federal Home Loan Banks play a role analogous to that played by the Federal Reserve Banks vis-à-vis member commercial banks.

Federal Reserve System
The central bank of the U.S., established in 1913, and governed by the Federal Reserve Board located in Washington, D.C. The system includes 12 Federal Reserve Banks and is authorized to regulate monetary policy in the U.S. as well as to supervise Federal Reserve member banks, bank holding companies, international operations of U.S.banks, and U.S.operations of foreign banks.

Federally related institutions
Arms of the federal government that are exempt from SEC registration and whose securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government (with the exception of the Tennessee Valley Authority).

A wire transfer system for high-value payments operated by the Federal Reserve System.

FHA prepayment experience
The percentage of loans in a pool of mortgages outstanding at the origination anniversary, based on annual statistical historic survival rates for FHA-insured mortgages.

Fiat money
Nonconvertible paper money.

Field warehouse
Warehouse rented by a warehouse company on another firm's premises.

Figuring the tail
Calculating the yield at which a future money market (one available some period hence) is purchased when that future security is created by buying an existing instrument and financing the initial portion of its life with a term repo.

The price at which an order is executed.

Fill or kill order
A trading order that is canceled unless executed within a designated time period. Related: open order.

A rule that stipulates when a security should be bought or sold according to past price action.

A discipline concerned with determining value and making decisions. The finance function allocates resources, which includes acquiring, investing, and managing resources.

Financial analysts
Also called securities analysts and investment analysts, professionals who analyze financial statements, interview corporate executives, and attend trade shows, in order to write reports recommending either purchasing, selling, or holding various stocks.

Financial assets
Claims on real assets.

Financial control
The management of a firm's costs and expenses in order to control them in relation to budgeted amounts.

Financial distress
Events preceding and including bankruptcy, such as violation of loan contracts.

Financial distress costs
Legal and administrative costs of liquidation or reorganization. Also includes implied costs associated with impaired ability to do business (indirect costs).

Financial engineering
Combining or dividing existing instruments to create new financial products.

Financial future
A contract entered into now that provides for the delivery of a specified asset in exchange for the selling price at some specified future date.

Financial intermediaries
Institutions that provide the market function of matching borrowers and lenders or traders.

Financial lease
Long-term, non-cancelable lease.

Financial leverage
Use of debt to increase the expected return on equity. Financial leverage is measured by the ratio of debt to debt plus equity.

Financial leverage clientele
A group of investors who have a preference for investing in firms that adhere to a particular financial leverage policy.

Financial leverage ratios
Related: capitalization ratios.

Financial market
An organized institutional structure or mechanism for creating and exchanging financial assets.

Financial objectives
Objectives of a financial nature that the firm will strive to accomplish during the period covered by its financial plan.

Financial plan
A financial blueprint for the financial future of a firm.

Financial planning
The process of evaluating the investing and financing options available to a firm. It includes attempting to make optimal decisions, projecting the consequences of these decisions for the firm in the form of a financial plan, and then comparing future performance against that plan.

Financial press
That portion of the media devoted to reporting financial news.

Financial ratio
The result of dividing one financial statement item by another. Ratios help analysts interpret financial statements by focussing on specific relationships.

Financial risk
The risk that the cash flow of an issuer will not be adequate to meet its financial obligations. Also referred to as the additional risk that a firm's stockholder bears when the firm utilizes debt and equity.

Financing decisions
Decisions concerning the liabilities and stockholders' equity side of the firm's balance sheet, such as the decision to issue bonds.

Refers to an order to buy or sell that can be executed without confirmation for some fixed period. Also, a synonym for company.

Firm commitment underwriting
An undewriting in which an investment banking firm commits to buy the entire issue and assumes all financial responsibility for any unsold shares.

Firm's net value of debt
Total firm value minus total firm debt.

Firm-specific risk
See:diversifiable risk or unsystematic risk.

First notice day
The first day, varying by contracts and exchanges, on which notices of intent to deliver actual financial instruments or physical commodities against futures are authorized.

With collateralized mortgage obligation (CMOs), the start of the cash flow cycle for the cash flow window.

First-In-First-Out (FIFO)
A method of valuing the cost of goods sold that uses the cost of the oldest item in inventory first.

First-pass regression
A time series regression to estimate the betas of securities portfolios.

Fiscal agency agreement
An alternative to a bond trust deed. Unlike the trustee, the fiscal agent acts as an agent of the borrower.

Fisher effect
A theory that nominal interest rates in two or more countries should be equal to the required real rate of return to investors plus compensation for the expected amount of inflation in each country.

Fisher's separation theorem
The firm's choice of investments is separate from its owner's attitudes towards investments. Also referred to as portfolio separation theorem.

Fiscal policy
The use of government spending and taxing for the specific purpose of stabilizing the economy.

Five Cs of credit
Five characteristics that are used to form a judgement about a customer's creditworthiness: character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions.

Fixed asset
Long-lived property owned by a firm that is used by a firm in the production of its income. Tangible fixed assets include real estate, plant, and equipment. Intangible fixed assets include patents, trademarks, and customer recognition.

Fixed asset turnover ratio
The ratio of sales to fixed assets.

Fixed cost
A cost that is fixed in total for a given period of time and for given production levels.

Annuity contracts in which the insurance company or issuing financial institution pays a fixed dollar amount of money per period.

Fixed-charge coverage ratio
A measure of a firm's ability to meet its fixed-charge obligations: the ratio of (net earnings before taxes plus interest charges paid plus long-term lease payments) to (interest charges paid plus long-term lease payments).

In the Euromarket the standard periods for which Euros are traded (1 month out to a year out) are referred to as the fixed dates.

Fixed-dollar obligations
Conventional bonds for which the coupon rate is set as a fixed percentage of the par value.

Fixed-dollar security
A nonnegotiable debt security that can be redeemed at some fixed price or according to some schedule of fixed values, e.g., bank deposits and government savings bonds.

Fixed-exchange rate
A country's decision to tie the value of its currency to another country's currency, gold (or another commodity), or a basket of currencies.

Fixed-income equivalent
Also called a busted convertible, a convertible security that is trading like a straight security because the optioned common stock is trading low.

Fixed-income instruments
Assets that pay a fixed-dollar amount, such as bonds and preferred stock.

Fixed-income market
The market for trading bonds and preferred stock.

Fixed price basis
An offering of securities at a fixed price.

Fixed-price tender offer
A one-time offer to purchase a stated number of shares at a stated fixed price, usually a premium to the current market price.

Fixed-rate loan
A loan on which the rate paid by the borrower is fixed for the life of the loan.

Fixed-rate payer
In an interest rate swap the counterparty who pays a fixed rate, usually in exchange for a floating-rate payment.

Flat benefit formula
Method used to determine a participant's benefits in a defined benefit plan by multiplying months of service by a flat monthly benefit.

Flat price risk
Taking a position either long or short that does not involve spreading.

Flat trades
(1) A bond in default trades flat; that is, the price quoted covers both principal and unpaid, accrued interest. (2) Any security that trades without accrued interest or at a price that includes accrued interest is said to trade flat.

Flattening of the yield curve
A change in the yield curve where the spread between the yield on a long-term and short-term Treasury has decreased. Compare steepening of the yield curve and butterfly shift.

Flat price (also clean price)
The quoted newspaper price of a bond that does not include accrued interest. The price paid by purchaser is the full price.

Flight to quality
The tendency of investors to move towards safer, government bonds during periods of high economic uncertainty.

Flip-flop note
Note that allows investors to switch between two different types of debt.

The number of shares that are actively tradable in the market, excluding shares that are held by officers and major stakeholders that have agreements not to sell until someone else is offered the stock.

Floating rate bond.

Floating exchange rate
A country's decision to allow its currency value to freely change. The currency is not constrained by central bank intervention and does not have to maintain its relationship with another currency in a narrow band. The currency value is determined by trading in the foreign exchange market.

Floating lien
General lien against a company's assets or against a particular class of assets.

Floating supply
The amount of securities believed to be available for immediate purchase, that is, in the hands of dealers and investors wanting to sell.

Floating-rate contract
A guaranteed investment contract where the credit rating is tied to some variable ("floating") interest rate benchmark, such as a specific-maturity Treasury yield.

Floating-rate note (FRN)
Note whose interest payment varies with short-term interest rates.

Floating-rate payer
In an interest rate swap, the counterparty who pays a rate based on a reference rate, usually in exchange for a fixed-rate payment

Floating-rate preferred
Preferred stock paying dividends that vary with short-term interest rates.

Floor broker
A member who is paid a fee for executing orders for clearing members or their customers. A floor broker executing customer orders must be licensed by the CFTC.

Floor planning
Arrangement used to finance inventory. A finance company buys the inventory, which is then held in trust by the user.

Floor trader
A member who generally trades only for his own account, for an account controlled by him or who has such a trade made for him. Also referred to as a "local".

Flower bond
Government bonds that are acceptable at par in payment of federal estate taxes when owned by the decedent at the time of death.

Flow-through basis
An account for the investment credit to show all income statement benefits of the credit in the year of acquisition, rather than spreading them over the life of the asset acquired.

Flow-through method
The practice of reporting to shareholders using straight-line depreciation and accelerated depreciation for tax purposes and "flowing through" the lower income taxes actually paid to the financial statement prepared for shareholders.

Force majeure risk
The risk that there will be an interruption of operations for a prolonged period after a project finance project has been completed due to fire, flood, storm, or some other factor beyond the control of the project's sponsors.

Forced conversion
Use of a firm's call option on a callable convertible bond when the firm knows that the bondholders will exercise their option to convert.

Foreign banking market
That portion of domestic bank loans supplied to foreigners for use abroad.

Foreign bond
A bond issued on the domestic capital market of anther company.

Foreign bond market
That portion of the domestic bond market that represents issues floated by foreign companies to governments.

Foreign currency
Foreign money.

Foreign currency option
An option that conveys the right to buy or sell a specified amount of foreign currency at a specified price within a specified time period.

Foreign currency translation
The process of restating foreign currency accounts of subsidiaries into the reporting currency of the parent company in order to prepare consolidated financial statements.

Foreign direct investment (FDI)
The acquisition abroad of physical assets such as plant and equipment, with operating control residing in the parent corporation.

Foreign equity market
That portion of the domestic equity market that represents issues floated by foreign companies.

Foreign exchange
Currency from another country.

Foreign exchange controls
Various forms of controls imposed by a government on the purchase/sale of foreign currencies by residents or on the purchase/sale of local currency by nonresidents.

Foreign exchange dealer
A firm or individual that buys foreign exchange from one party and then sells it to another party. The dealer makes the difference between the buying and selling prices, or spread.

Foreign exchange risk
The risk that a long or short position in a foreign currency might have to be closed out at a loss due to an adverse movement in the currency rates.

Foreign exchange swap
An agreement to exchange stipulated amounts of one currency for another currency at one or more future dates.

Foreign market
Part of a nation's internal market, representing the mechanisms for issuing and trading securities of entities domiciled outside that nation. Compare external market and domestic market.

Foreign market beta
A measure of foreign market risk that is derived from the capital asset pricing model.

Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC)
A special type of corporation created by the Tax Reform Act of 1984 that is designed to provide a tax incentive for exporting U.S.-produced goods.

Foreign tax credit
Home country credit against domestic income tax for foreign taxes paid on foreign derived earnings.

Foreign exchange.

Purchaser of promises to pay issued by importers.

Formula basis
A method of selling a new issue of common stock in which the SEC declares the registration statement effective on the basis of a price formula rather than on a specific range.

48-hour rule
The requirement that all pool information, as specified under the PSA Uniform Practices, in a to be announced (TBA) transaction be communicated by the seller to the buyer before 3 p.m. EST on the business day 48-hours prior to the agreed upon trade date.

See forward contract.

Forward contract
A cash market transaction in which delivery of the commodity is deferred until after the contract has been made. It is not standardized and is not traded on organized exchanges. Although the delivery is made in the future, the price is determined at the initial trade date.

Forward cover
Purchase or sale of forward foreign currency in order to offset a known future cash flow.

Forward delivery
A transaction in which the settlement will occur on a specified date in the future at a price agreed upon on the trade date.

Forward differential
Annualized percentage difference between spot and forward rates.

Forward discount
A currency trades at a forward discount when its forward price is lower than its spot price.

Forward exchange rate
Exchange rate fixed today for exchanging currency at some future date.

Forward Fed funds
Fed funds traded for future delivery.

Forward forward contract
In Eurocurrencies, a contract under which a deposit of fixed maturity is agreed to at a fixed price for future delivery.

Forward interest rate
Interest rate fixed today on a loan to be made at some future date.

Forward looking multiple
A truncated expression for a P/E ratio that is based on forward (expected) earnings rather than on trailing earnings.

Forward market
A market in which participants agree to trade some commodity, security, or foreign exchange at a fixed price for future delivery.

Forward premium
A currency trades at a forward premium when its forward price is higher than its spot price.

Forward rate
A projection of future interest rates calculated from either the spot rates or the yield curve.

Forward rate agreement (FRA)
Agreement to borrow or lend at a specified future date at an interest rate that is fixed today.

Forward sale
A method for hedging price risk which involves an agreement between a lender and an investor to sell particular kinds of loans at a specified price and future time.

Forward trade
A transaction in which the settlement will occur on a specified date in the future at a price agreed upon the trade date.

Fourth market
Direct trading in exchange-listed securities between investors without the use of a broker.

Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)
A Congressionally chartered corporation that purchases residential mortgages in the secondary market from S&Ls, banks, and mortgage bankers and securitizes these mortgages for sale into the capital markets.

Free cash flows
Cash not required for operations or for reinvestment. Often defined as earnings before interest (often obtained from operating income line on the income statement) less capital expenditures less the change in working capital.

Free float
An exchange rate system characterized by the absence of government intervention. Also known as clean float.

Free on board
Implies that distributive services like transport and handling performed on goods up to the customs frontier of the economy from which the goods are classed as merchandise.

Free reserves
Excess reserves minus member bank borrowings at the Fed.

Free rider
A follower who avoids the cost and expense of finding the best course of action and by simply mimicking the behavior of a leader who made these investments.

Frequency distribution
The organization of data to show how often certain values or ranges of values occur.

Friction costs
Costs, both implied and direct, associated with a transaction. Such costs include time, effort, money, and associated tax effects of gathering information and making a transaction.

The "stickiness" in making transactions; the total hassle including time, effort, money, and tax effects of gathering information and making a transaction such as buying a stock or borrowing money.

Front fee
The fee initially paid by the buyer upon entering a split-fee option contract.

Full faith-and-credit obligations
The security pledges for larger municipal bond issuers, such as states and large cities which have diverse funding sources.

Full coupon bond
A bond with a coupon equal to the going market rate, thereby, the bond is selling at par.

Full price
Also called dirty price, the price of a bond including accrued interest. Related: flat price.

Full-payout lease
See: financial lease.

Full-service lease
Also called rental lease. Lease in which the lessor promises to maintain and insure the equipment leased.

Fully diluted earnings per shares
Earnings per share expressed as if all outstanding convertible securities and warrants have been exercised.

Fully modified pass-throughs
Agency pass-throughs that guarantee the timely payment of both interest and principal. Related: modified pass-throughs

Functional currency
As defined by FASB No. 52, an affiliate's functional currency is the currency of the primary economic environment in which the affiliate generates and expends cash.

Fund family
Set of funds with different investment objectives offered by one management company. In many cases, investors may move their assets from one fund to another within the family at little or no cost.

Fundamental analysis
Security analysis that seeks to detect misvalued securities by an analysis of the firm's business prospects. Research analysis often focuses on earnings, dividend prospects, expectations for future interest rates, and risk evaluation of the firm.

Fundamental beta
The product of a statistical model to predict the fundamental risk of a security using not only price data but other market-related and financial data.

Fundamental descriptors
In the model for calculating fundamental beta, ratios in risk indexes other than market variability, which rely on financial data other than price data.

Funded debt
Debt maturing after more than one year.

Funding ratio
The ratio of a pension plan's assets to its liabilities.

Funding risk
Related: interest rate risk

Funds From Operations (FFO)
Used by real estate and other investment trusts to define the cash flow from trust operations. It is earnings with depreciation and amortization added back. A similar term increasingly used is Funds Available for Distribution (FAD), which is FFO less capital investments in trust property and the amortization of mortgages.

A term used to designate all contracts covering the sale of financial instruments or physical commodities for future delivery on a commodity exchange.

Future investment opportunities
The options to identify additional, more valuable investment opportunities in the future that result from a current opportunity or operation.

Future value
The amount of cash at a specified date in the future that is equivalent in value to a specified sum today.

A term used to designate all contracts covering the sale of financial instruments or physical commodities for future delivery on a commodity exchange.

Futures commission merchant
A firm or person engaged in soliciting or accepting and handling orders for the purchase or sale of futures contracts, subject to the rules of a futures exchange and, who, in connection with such solicitation or acceptance of orders, accepts any money or securities to margin any resulting trades or contracts. The FCM must be licensed by the CFTC. Related: commission house , omnibus account

Futures contract
Agreement to buy or sell a set number of shares of a specific stock in a designated future month at a price agreed upon by the buyer and seller. The contracts themselves are often traded on the futures market. A futures contract differs from an option because an option is the right to buy or sell, whereas a futures contract is the promise to actually make a transaction. A future is part of a class of securities called derivatives, so named because such securities derive their value from the worth of an underlying investment.

Futures contract multiple
A constant, set by an exchange, which when multiplied by the futures price gives the dollar value of a stock index futures contract.

Futures market
A market in which contracts for future delivery of a commodity or a security are bought or sold.

Futures option
An option on a futures contract. Related: options on physicals.

Futures price
The price at which the parties to a futures contract agree to transact on the settlement date.


Glossary created by Campbell R. Harvey, Professor of Finance,
Fuqua School of Business at Duke University

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