C shares are a type of mutual fund share.  They are distinguished from A shares and B shares by their load (fee) structure.The main aspect that differentiates C shares from A shares and B shares ...

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A cabinet security is an inactive security (often a bond) that is listed on an exchange. Before the advent of computers, it was necessary to move physical evidence of securities and orders. When secu...

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The CAC 40 Index is the benchmark tracking index for the Paris Bourse.Started in December of 1987 with a value of 1000, the CAC 40 is comprised of the 40 largest and most liquid stocks trading on...

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A cafeteria plan, also called a "tax-advantaged benefits plan", is a type of employee-benefit program recognized by section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. Let's assume Company XYZ employs 100...

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A cage is a department in a brokerage firm. The cage is a physical location in which people at a brokerage firm handle physical securities and certificates. The location is called a cage because it u...

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Compound Annual Growth Rate (or CAGR) is a widely used measure of growth. It is used to evaluate anything that can fluctuate in value, such as assets and investments. CAGR takes the initial invest...

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A caisse populaire is a Canadian financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members rather than shareholders. It is essentially a credit union. Most are in Quebec. The members of the c...

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A calculation agent is a person or company that calculates how much the parties to certain derivatives owe each other. For example, consider an interest rate swap, which is a contractual agreement be...

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A calendar effect is a theory that stock prices will perform differently at different times of the year. There are many different calendar effects, including the Monday effect, "Sell in May and G...

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The calendar year is the period between January 1 and December 31.If Company XYZ starts its fiscal year on January 1 and ends its fiscal year on December 31, then Company XYZ's fiscal year is said...

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In the insurance industry, a calendar year experience (also called accident-year experience or underwriting-year experience) is the difference between the premiums earned and the losses incurred durin...

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A call date is the date after which a bond issuer can redeem a callable bond.Callable bonds usually have a call schedule. This is a series of call dates on or before which the issuer can redeem the bo...

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A call loan is a loan that the lender may force the borrower to repay at any time.Also called a broker loan or demand loan, a call loan is granted to a brokerage house that needs short-term capital fo...

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In a call market, buy and sell orders are grouped together and then executed at specific times, rather than executed one by one continuously.Let's assume that the following buy orders for Company ...

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Call money is a very short-term bank loan that does not contain regular principal and interest payments. It is often used by brokerage firms to finance margin accounts.Let's assume that Broker XYZ...

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The call money rate, sometimes known as the "broker loan rate," is the interest rate on the loans banks make to brokerage firms that are borrowing to fund transactions in their clients' margins a...

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A call on a call is a type of compound option. It is a call option on a call option.A call on a call is just one type of compound option; there are also puts on puts, puts on calls, and calls on puts....

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A call on a put is a type of compound option. It is a call option on a put option.A call on a put is just one type of compound option; others include the put on a put, put on a call and call on a call...

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A call option is a contract between a buyer and a seller that gives the option buyer the right (but not the obligation) to buy an underlying asset at the strike price on or before the expiration d...

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The phrase call over is used to describe the exercising of a call option.A call option gives its owner the right to buy an asset at a set price (the strike price) on or before a certain day (the expir...

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A call premium is the price of a call option. It is not the same as the strike price. Supply and demand of the call option determines its premium, but the famous Black-Scholes options pricing mod...

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The call price is the price a bond issuer or preferred stock issuer must pay investors if it wants to buy back, or call, all or part of an issue before the maturity date.The bond indenture will stipul...

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Call protection is a period of time during which a bond issuer cannot call, or buy back, a bond.Call protection is described in a callable bond's indenture. Callable corporate and municipal bonds ...

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A call provision is a clause in a bond's indenture granting the issuer the right to call, or buy back, all or part of an issue prior to the maturity date.The bond indenture will stipulate when and...

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A call ratio backspread is a trading strategy whereby an investor uses long and short option positions to simultaneously hedge against loss and maximize profit if stock prices go up. The strategy diff...

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A call report is a quarterly report that banks and all regulated financial institutions must file with the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). The formal name of the...

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Call risk is the risk that a bond issuer will redeem its bonds before they mature. Some bonds are callable, that is, the issuer has the right to call, or buy back all or some of the bonds before they...

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The call rule is a rule that requires the official opening price of a cash commodity to be near the previous day's closing price of that commodity.For example, let's assume that on June 1, the...

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Call warrants are securities that give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy a certain number of securities (usually the issuer's common stock) at a certain price before a certain t...

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A callable bond gives the borrower (issuer) the right to pay back the obligation to the lender (bondholder) before the stated maturity date.A callable bond (also called a "redeemable bond") is...

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A callable certificate of deposit (callable CD) is a time deposit with a bank or financial institution. But unlike other CDs, callable CDs can be redeemed by the issuer before the maturity date. ...

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Callable common stock is an equity stake in a company where either the issuer or a third party has the right, but not the obligation, to repurchase the stock at a specific price after a certain da...

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Issuers of callable preferred stock have the right (but not the obligation) to repurchase the stock at a specific price after a certain date.For example, consider Company XYZ preferred stock...

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A callable security gives the issuer or a third party the right but not the obligation to repurchase the security at a specific price after a certain time. Let's assume you own 100 shares of Compa...

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"Called away" refers to an investing scenario in which one party to an options contract has the obligation to deliver an underlying asset to the other party to the contract.There are three com...

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A cambist is an expert in foreign exchange. In the old days, a cambist relied on interpreting books of information about exchange rates between various currencies. The term comes from the Latin root ...

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CAMELS is a system used to rate banks. In order to ensure their financial strength, banks must undergo periodic examinations by a federal agency (usually the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency...

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Camouflage compensation is compensation that is not fully disclosed or is hard to identify. Let's say Company XYZ needs a new CEO. CEOs in the industry typically earn at least $1 million a year i...

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CAN SLIM is an investing system that uses seven fundamental and technical traits to pick stocks. The system, developed in the 1950s by Investor's Business Daily founder William J. O'Neil, relies on s...

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A Canada Learning Bond offers money to Canadian families to help them start saving for college. In general, under the program, the Canadian government gives families $500 in the form of a bond to sta...

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A Canadian income trust is a type of investment trust that holds stable, income-producing assets and pays out at least 90% of its net cash flows to its unitholders (shareholders are known as unitholde...

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A Canadian rollover mortgage is an adjustable-rate mortgage commonly available to homebuyers in Canada. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a mortgage in which the interest rate varies. The loans ar...

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A canary call is a step-up bond that can't be called after a certain period. A step-up bond is a bond with a coupon that increases (“steps up”), usually at regular intervals, while th...

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Cancel former order is a specific type of trade order a client places with a broker in order to cancel an unfilled buy or sell order.For example, if a client has an outstanding order to buy 100 shares...

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A canceled check is a check that has cleared or prevented from clearing. Let's say John Doe writes a $100 check to Jane Smith. She takes it to her bank to cash it. The bank takes the check, depos...

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In the finance world, a canceled order is an order that is deleted before it is executed. Let's say Jane Smith calls her broker, John Doe, and tells him to buy 1,000 shares of Company XYZ. John p...

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A cancellation bulletin is a list of credit cards that are reported stolen, canceled or compromised in some way.  A cancellation bulletin is also called a "warning bulletin," "hot li...

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Cancellation of debt occurs when a lender tells a borrower that he or she no longer must repay a loan. Let's assume that John Doe borrowed $100,000 from Bank XYZ for a luxury car. In the middle of th...

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Candlestick charts are often used in technical analysis to track price movements of securities, derivatives and currency over time.Each candlestick is made up of three parts: the upper shadow, the low...

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Capital is anything a business uses to generate income. In simple terms, capital is the potential for any item to create wealth. In the economic sense, capital comes in many forms: cur...

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A capital account is a national account that shows the changes in a nation's assets. These assets can be physical or financial. The capital account essentially is the left-hand side of a country&...

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Capital accumulation occurs when a company acquires assets. Capital accumulation also occurs when an institutional investor or other financial institution acquires a large position in a company over t...

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Capital appreciation (also called a capital gain) is an increase in the value of an investment. It is the difference between the purchase price (the basis) and the sale price of an asset. The for...

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For firms, a capital asset is an asset that has a useful life longer than one year and is not intended for sale during the normal course of business. For individuals, capital asset typically re...

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The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) is used to calculate the required rate of return for any risky asset. Your required rate of return is the increase in value you should expect to see based on the...

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Capital budgeting is the process of figuring out which projects are financially worth an investment. Let's assume Company XYZ is deciding whether to purchase a piece of factory equipment for $300,000...

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A capital dividend account is a special account that companies use to pay tax-free dividends to shareholders. Let's say five people pool their capital to form a company. They each contribute $10,...

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Capital expenditures, or capex, is money used to purchase, upgrade, improve, or extend the life of long-term assets. Long-term assets are typically property, infrastructure, or equipment with a useful...

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Capital flight is the movement of capital from one country to another, or sometimes from one investment sector to another, to capitalize on returns or mitigate risk. Let's say the Venezuelan gove...

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A capital gain is an increase in the value of an investment. It is the difference between the purchase price (the basis) and the sale price of an asset. The formula for capital gain is: sale Price -...

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Capital gains distributions are capital gains that are passed on to investment company shareholders.Let's assume that XYZ Company mutual fund invested well during the year and realized $1,000,000 ...

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A capital gains tax is a tax on the increase in the value of an investment. A capital gain is the difference between the purchase price (the basis) and the sale price of an asset. The formula for cap...

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Capital gains treatment refers to whether capital gains are taxed as short-term capital gains, long-term capital gains, or in another manner.Let's assume you purchase 100 shares of XYZ Company for...

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In general, a capital improvement is a one-time expenditure for physical assets such as buildings, land, construction, landscaping or major equipment. Let's say Town XYZ wants to refurbish ABC El...

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A capital injection is an inflow of cash, stock or even debt into a company. Let's say Company XYZ is a private company and it wants to open 15 more stores in its retail chain. It raises money fr...

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Capital intensive refers to the degree that a company must invest money in physical or financial assets in order to produce a profit.Airlines, auto manufacturers, and drilling operations are often con...

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Capital IQ is a research division of Standard & Poor's. Essentially, Capital IQ provides research and analysis on companies. It also sells software and data feeds to investors and analysts. C...

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A capital loss is a decrease in the value of an investment. It is the difference between the sale price and the purchase price (the basis) of an asset. The formula for capital loss is:Purchase Pr...

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The capital markets are a source of financing for companies around the world. The most famous of the capital markets are the stock market and bond market. Companies utilize capital markets to rai...

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Capital stock is the number of shares that a company's charter authorizes for issuance. A corporate charter is a legal document that sets forth a corporation's basic information, such as its ...

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Capital structure refers to the blend of debt and equity a company uses to fund and finance its operations. If Company XYZ has completed an initial public offering and a bond offering, we could there...

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Capitalism is an economic and social system in which participants privately own the means of production -- called capital. Free market competition, not a central government or regulating body, dictate...

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In the business world, capitalization has two meanings. The first meaning, also called market capitalization, refers to the value of a company's outstanding shares. The formula for market capitali...

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In real estate, a capitalization rate is a measure of return on investment. The formula for capitalization rate is: Capitalization Rate = (Expected Income from Property – Fixed Costs &ndash...

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Capitalizing refers to the accounting practice of characterizing the costs of an asset purchase as a long-term asset on the balance sheet instead of an expense on the income statement. Companies ...

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A capitated contract is a health insurance policy that pays care providers a flat fee for each patient in the plan. For example, a capitated contract issued by Company XYZ might pay Dr. Smith, say, $...

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Capitulation occurs when investors attempt to exit an investment or market so quickly that they are willing to surrender any and all gains to do so. Panicked behavior often causes a capitulation, and ...

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The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), also known as "cash for clunkers," was a U.S. federal government funded program that provided economic incentives for people to purchase a more fuel-eff...

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A car title loan is a short-term loan where a borrower uses the title of his or her car as collateral for the loan. Loans for car title loans are usually for less than 30 days and change a high rate ...

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Designed to facilitate the sharing of stolen credit card information, a carding forum is an illegal website where fraudsters also share info, tips and techniques about obtaining credit card informatio...

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A cartel is a group of companies, countries or other entities that agree to work together to influence market prices by controlling the production and sale of a particular product.Cartels tend to spri...

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The Case-Shiller Home Price Index refers to a set of indices released by Standard and Poor's that tracks changes in the value of residential real estate.There are several "Case-Shiller...

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Cash is an asset that is in currency form. Although there is some leeway for judgment in particular situations, common examples of cash at the corporate level typically include bank accounts and money...

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Under cash accounting, a business records revenue and expenses in the period in which they are actually received or paid, rather than in the period in which they are incurred.Let's assume Company ...

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A cash advance is a high interest loan typically taken out on a credit card or a line of credit from a bank. Interest on a cash advance begins accruing immediately upon disbursement.Suppose John uses ...

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Cash and cash equivalents (CCE) are company assets in cash form or in a form that can be easily converted to cash.The balance sheet shows the amount of cash and cash equivalents at a given point in ti...

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Cash budget is a review or projection of cash inflows and outflows. It can be used as a tool for analyzing the revenues and costs of a company or individual.A cash budget is a planning tool used by co...

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A cash cow is a business unit, product line, or investment that has a return on assets (ROA) greater than the market growth rate. The idiom refers to the idea that it produces "milk" (profit) ...

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A cash dividend is a cash payment made to the shareholders of a corporation. Generally, cash dividends are reported in dollars per share when discussing common stock. When discussing prefer...

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Cash equivalents are company assets that are easily converted to cash. Although there is some leeway for judgment in particular situations, examples of cash equivalents include marketable securities a...

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Cash flow is simply the cash expected to be generated by an investment, asset or business. As an investor, you buy a dividend-paying stock. You purchase the stock for $10 and the company pays you...

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Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is a measure of a company's ability to generate positive cash flow after deducting taxes.The general formula for CFAT is:CFAT = Net Income + Depreciation + Amortizatio...

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The section of the cash flow statement titled Cash Flow from Financing Activities accounts for inflows and outflows of cash resulting from debt issuance and financing, the issuance of any new stock, d...

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Cash from investing activities is a section of the cash flow statement that provides information regarding a company's purchases or sales of capital assets.A statement of cash flows typically brea...

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Cash flow from operating activities measures the cash-generating abilities of a company's core operations (rather than its ability to raise capital or buy assets).  Put another way, cash f...

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A cash flow loan is a loan, usually to a company, intended to meet daily cash needs during times when cash flow is inconsistent. These loans are short-term in nature; borrowers usually must repay them...

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Cash flow per share represents the portion of a company's cash flow allocated to each share of common stock.Cash flow per share can be calculated by dividing cash flow earned in a given reporting ...

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Cash flow plans are strategic documents companies make in order to forecast their cash inflows and outflows over several periods. In the insurance world, cash flow plans refer to coordinating the paym...

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The cash flow return on investment (CFROI) measures a company's cash return on invested assets. It is determined by dividing a company's gross cash flow by its gross investment.A company inves...

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A cash flow statement is the financial statement that measures the cash generated or used by a company in a given period.A cash flow statement typically breaks out a company's cash sources and use...

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Cash flow to capital expenditures is the ratio of a company's cash from operations to its capital expenditures for acquiring or upgrading assets, such as buildings or equipment, required to improv...

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In the insurance business, cash flow underwriting is the equivalent of selling below cost. For example, let's assume Insurance Company XYZ decides to engage in cash flow underwriting for its ...

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Also called the spot market or the physical market, a cash market is a market for securities or commodities in which the goods are sold for cash and for immediate delivery. In some cases, "immedia...

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A cash out refinance (also called a cash out refinance loan or cash out refinance mortgage) is a type of mortgage loan that lets you to turn the equity you have in your home into cash, similar to ...

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Also called the spot price or the current price, a cash price is the current price of a commodity if it were to be sold or purchased today. For example, if you purchase a cup of coffee in a restauran...

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A cash settlement is a payment in cash for the value of a stock or commodity underlying an options or futures contract upon exercise or expiration.Options and futures contracts are valued based on an ...

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Cash-flow matching is an investing strategy for investors who need to fund a series of future cash needs. Buy-and-hold and indexing strategies are about generating steady rates of return in a por...

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Cash back, or cashback, often refers to the cash benefit paid to a credit card user after a certain amount is charged on their credit card. The cash back reward is offered by card issuers as a loyalty...

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A cashier's check is a check that guarantees the availability of the underlying funds because it is drawn upon and issued by the bank itself.To obtain a cashier's check, a person must first de...

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A catalyst is news or information that changes a pricing trend in a security.Let's assume that Company XYZ announces earnings that far exceed analysts' expectations. This information could ser...

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Catastrophe calls are provisions in bonds that allow the issuer to call the bonds if the item built or produced by the bond is destroyed. Let's assume ABC Town wants to build a new toll road, but...

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A category killer is a large, dominant company that is more efficient but less specialized than other merchants in a particular niche or industry. Wal-Mart is a classic example of a category killer. ...

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Caveat emptor is Latin for let the buyer beware, meaning the buyer assumes the risk in a transaction. Garage sales are great examples of caveat emptor. Buyers purchase goods as is and have ...

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A CD ladder is an investing strategy whereby the investor staggers the maturity of ("ladders") the certificates of deposit in his portfolio so that the proceeds can be reinvested at regular intervals....

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A central bank is an institution responsible for determining the monetary policy of a nation or group of nations. Exact duties vary by country, but generally a central bank's main goals are t...

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A certificate of deposit (CD) is a relatively low-risk debt instrument purchased directly through a commercial bank or savings and loan institution.The certificate of deposit indicates that the i...

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A for-profit service run by the Promontory Interfinancial Network, the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) allows investors to purchase certificates of deposit (CDs) across a netwo...

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A certificate of insurance, or COI, is issued by an insurance company or insurance broker. The COI summarizes the details and conditions of the policy, including effective dates, types and limits of c...

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A certified check is a check for which the issuing bank guarantees payment.Let's assume you want to rent an apartment from the XYZ Leasing Company but your credit is bad. XYZ Leasing Company may r...

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Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation attained by a financial planner or advisor who has successfully completed the requirements set by the Certified Financial Planner B...

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Relatively new to the financial planning and advice sector, a Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA) is a professional certification for financial advisors who work with clients who take a Christian values b...

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The certified public accountant (CPA) designation is a professional designation granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is given to individuals who pass the Unifo...

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The CFA Institute issues the CFA designation. CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. A CFA charter signifies a mastery of investment management principles and usually takes at least three years t...

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Chapter 10 (formally referred to as Chapter X) is a former portion of the bankruptcy code that dictated bankruptcy processes and procedures for companies and individuals. Chapter X was originally par...

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Chapter 11 bankruptcy refers to the section of U.S. bankruptcy law under which companies and individuals can attempt to restructure their debts in order to repay them.Individuals, partnerships, o...

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Chapter 13 refers to the section of U.S. bankruptcy law under which individuals may attempt to restructure their finances in order to repay their debts. Individuals, the self-employed, and those oper...

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Chapter 7 refers to the section of U.S. bankruptcy law under which companies and individuals liquidate their assets in order to repay their debts.Individuals, partnerships, or corporations can file ba...

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Chapter X was a portion of the bankruptcy code that dictated bankruptcy processes and procedures for corporations. 1978 was the last year corporations were able to file bankruptcy under Chapter X.Chap...

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A charge card is a plastic card issued by a financial institution that allows the user to make purchases with funds borrowed from that financial institution. Colloquially speaking, a charge card is t...

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A chargeback protects cardholders from unsatisfactory sales and service by letting the cardholder demand a "refund" directly from the credit card issuer. If a customer successfully disputes a credit c...

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A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a highly-respected designation attained by an investment professional who has successfully completed all three parts of the CFA exam. Because it's s...

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A Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) is an individual certified by the Investment Counsel Association. The certification is available to CFA holders who are currently registered as investment adviso...

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A Chartered Market Technician (CMT) is an individual who has been certified by the Market Technicians Association.The Market Technicians Association (MTA) grants the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) ...

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The Chartered Trust and Estate Planner (CTEP) accreditation is issued by the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) for financial professionals who have demonstrated expertise in dealing with...

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Checkable deposits are bank accounts against which checks can be drawn. There are different types of checkable accounts offered by retail banks and credit unions: deposit accounts, interest-bearing ac...

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The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is a commodity futures and options exchange. Several dozen types of contracts trade on the CBOT, and the exchange facilitates hundreds of millions of these trades eac...

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The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) is an exchange used for trading standardized options contracts, including stock options, LEAPS, interest rate options, foreign currency options, and index opt...

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The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is a commodities futures and options exchange. Several dozen types of contracts trade on the CME, and the exchange facilitates hundreds of millions of these trade...

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The chief executive officer (CEO) oversees the entire operation of a company or organization. A CEO is responsible for coordinating effective operating, marketing, financial, cultural and legal strate...

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The chief financial officer (CFO) oversees the financial operation of a company or organization.The CFO's job is to coordinate effective financial, accounting and tax strategies to maximize shareh...

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The chief operating officer (COO) is responsible for executing and implementing the operational directives set by the CEO and the board of directors. Whereas the CEO is responsible for the overall lea...

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The child tax credit is a tax-bill reduction given to people with qualifying children under 17 years old.The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows taxpayers to reduce their federal income taxes by a f...

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Banks offer different types of savings accounts any time of year. A way to save money toward holiday shopping and seasonal spending is a Christmas Club account. It is marketed to savers as an incentiv...

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Class A shares are either 1) common stocks or 2) preferred stocks that offer enhanced benefits, such as greater voting rights and a higher dividend priority. For example, let’s say Joe purc...

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Class action is a type of civil lawsuit brought by a group of people who are "similarly situated" -- that is, they have been harmed in a similar way. In the business world, this group is most ...

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Class B shares are either 1) common stocks or 2) preferred stocks that generally give fewer benefits to shareholders than class A shares. For example, Joe purchases stock in company XYZ.&nb...

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A clean up call, also known as a calamity call, is a feature of a collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) that requires the issuer to pay off a portion of the CMO if the underlying mortgages don't ge...

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A clearinghouse is an intermediary between buyers and sellers of financial instruments.Clearinghouses take the opposite position of each side of a trade. When two parties agree on the terms of a trans...

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A closed end lease, also called a "walk away lease", is usually a kind of car lease that allows the lessee to return the car at the end of a lease period. Let's assume John Doe leases ...

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A closed end fund (CEF) is a publicly-traded security that offers its shareholders partial ownership in an underlying portfolio of assets. Closed-end funds initially raise capital through an ini...

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The closing bell is a term used to describe the time that an exchange's daily trading session ends.Each trading day, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) rings its bell at 4 p.m. Eastern, signifying...

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Closing costs are fees and expenses paid by both the buyer and the seller when a transaction is completed. Closing costs are common expenses in real estate transactions. Closing costs are most common...

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A closing price is the trading price of a security at the end of the trading day. In real estate, it is the price at which a piece of property sells. The New York Stock Exchange has the most famous cl...

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The CNN effect refers to a major negative impact on consumer spending as a result of breaking news.CNN (which was later joined by MSNBC, BBC World News and Fox News) offers minute-by-minute updates on...

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Also called tag-along rights, co-sale rights allow minority shareholders to sell their stakes in a company if a majority shareholder wishes to sell its stake in a company. Let's say Company XYZ i...

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Cockroach theory refers to the notion that unfavorable reports about a company will, once publicized, be followed by similar reports about other companies in the industry.Named in reference to the pop...

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Coinsurance, commonly used in health insurance, is the percentage that the insurer pays for a medical claim on behalf of the insured patient after the deductible has been met.  Property c...

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A coinsurance clause in regards to property insurance specifies a minimum percentage of a property's assessed cash or replacement value that it must be insured for (typically 80% or 90%). If...

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A collar option strategy, also known as a "hedge wrapper," is used to lock in the maximum gain and maximum loss of a stock. To execute a collar, an investor buys a stock and an out-of-the-money put op...

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Collateral is an asset pledged by a borrower to a lender, usually in return for a loan. The lender has the right to seize the collateral if the borrower defaults on the obligation.Let's assume you...

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Collateralization occurs when a company pledges an asset to a lender (usually in return for a loan). The lender has the right to seize the collateral if the borrower defaults on the obligation. Let&rs...

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A collateralized bond obligation (CBO) is a bond that uses a variety of high-yield junk bonds as collateral. These bonds are separated, or pooled, into tranches with higher and lower levels of risk.Ju...

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A collateralized debt obligation (CDO) is a security that repackages individual fixed-income assets into a product that can be chopped into pieces and then sold on the secondary market. They are c...

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A collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) is a fixed income security that uses mortgage-backed securities as collateral.  Like other structured securities, CMOs are subdivided into graduated ris...

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The College Work Study Program (CWSP) is a type of financial aid that a school awards to a student who has completed a FAFSA and has demonstrated a financial need. The student is given a job (usually ...

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Collision insurance is insurance coverage that helps to cover the costs to repair or replace an automobile after an accident. A vehicle is typically covered if the insured driver is at fault and th...

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Collusion, also known as price rigging or price fixing,  occurs when several individuals and/or businesses agree to set the price for something. For example, let’s assume that there ar...

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A combination trade is an option strategy where the trader takes a position in both call and put options in the same underlying stock. While there are multiple types of combination trades, in this sec...

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A command economy (also known as a “planned economy”) occurs when decisions about the production and allocation of all goods and services are made by one central government authority. C...

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Commerce is the exchange of goods, services or commodities on a large scale. Nearly every business transaction is a form of commerce: purchasing food at a restaurant, buying stocks on the stock marke...

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A commercial bank is a financial institution that offers checking accounts, demand deposits, business and personal loans, savings vehicles and a variety of other related financial services. Commercia...

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A commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) is a fixed-income security, typically in the form of a bond, which uses commercial real estate loans as collateral.A CMBS is comprised of numerous commerci...

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Commercial paper is an unsecured and discounted promissory note issued to finance the short-term credit needs of large institutional buyers. Banks, corporations and foreign governments commonly use th...

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Commercial real estate is any property that is exclusively used for business activity. Commercial real estate is any non-residential property used for commercial profit-making purposes. Commercial re...

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A commission is a fee paid to an agent as compensation for executing a transaction. It is calculated either as a percentage of the transaction value or as a flat fee.Let's assume you would like to...

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Commodification, also known as "commoditization", refers to a good or service becoming indistinguishable from similar products. To be considered a commodity, an item must satisfy three condition...

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A commodity is any homogenous good traded in bulk on an exchange.  Grain, precious metals, electricity, oil, beef, orange juice, and natural gas are traditional examples of commodities, but fore...

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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), was established in 1974 as an independent government agency with the purpose of regulating commodity futures and options markets. The Commod...

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A commodity index is an index of the prices of items such as wheat, corn, soybeans, coffee, sugar, cocoa, hogs, cotton, cattle, oil, natural gas, aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, zinc, gold and silver....

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A commodity market is a place where buyers and sellers can trade any homogenous good in bulk. Grain, precious metals, electricity, oil, beef, orange juice and natural gas are traditional examples of c...

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Commodity parity price refers to the price of a commodity based on a single price or average of prices during a previous span of time.A commodity's parity price is a benchmark price against which ...

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The Commodity Research Bureau Index (CRB) tracks the general trend of the commodities markets.The CRB Index gauges the collective price trend of the commodities markets. Calculated by the Commodi...

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Common stock represents ownership interests in corporations. The most prominent characteristics of common stock are that they entitle the shareholder to vote on corporate matters (typically, the share...

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A common-size balance sheet is a balance sheet in which each line item is expressed as a percentage of assets. For example, let's assume that Company XYZ's balance sheet looks like this: T...

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A common-size financial statement is an income statement or balance sheet in which each line items are expressed as a percentage of sales or assets, respectively. For example, let's assume that C...

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A common-size income statement is an income statement in which each line item is expressed as a percentage of sales. For example, let's assume that Company XYZ’s income statement looks like...

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A firm's comparative advantage is its ability to produce a good or service at a lower opportunity cost than another entity. Famed economist David Ricardo first coined the term "comparative advantage"...

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A composite is a grouping of securities, indexes or other items. One of the most well-known composites in the finance world is the Dow Jones Composite Average, which is  a price-weighted average...

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A composite average is an average of the components of other averages. For example, the Dow Jones Composite Average is a price-weighted index of the companies that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Av...

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In finance, to compound means to earn interest on principal plus interest that was earned earlier. You have $100 to open a savings account at XYZ Bank on January 1. The annual interest rate is 5%. Ho...

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The financial world often refers to compound interest as magic. Compound interest can be thought of as “interest building on interest” which adds to your principal. In layman’s terms, it’s a f...

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A compound option is the opportunity to buy or sell an option. Let’s assume John Doe buys a call on an option to purchase 100 shares of Company XYZ at $25 per share by March 31. He pays $1,000 t...

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Compounding is the process of the exponential increase in the value of an investment due to earning interest on both principal and accumulated interest.Let's assume you have $100 to open a savings...

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A condominium, often shortened to condo, is a multi-unit property where units are individually owned. Ownership typically includes an interest in common properties, like sidewalks, lobbies, and poo...

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A conglomerate is a corporation made up of several smaller, independently-run companies which may operate across several sectors and industries.Conglomerates are generally formed for two reasons: to d...

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A consensus estimate is a shared prediction of a company's quarterly or annual earnings per share. Securities analysts are tasked with the job of making earnings estimates for the companies they c...

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A conservatorship is the legal establishment of a court appointed manager for the personal and financial affairs of someone who is legally incapacitated, also referred to as a ward. The ward may be...

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Consignment is an agreement between an owner and a third-party consignee whereby the consignee agrees to sell the owners goods in exchange for a fee.  Consignment is an arrangement in which an i...

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In the accounting world, to consolidate means to combine the financial statements of a company and all of its subsidiaries, divisions or suborganizations. Let's assume Company XYZ is a holding co...

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Consolidated financial statements are the combined financial statements of a company and all of its subsidiaries, divisions, or suborganizations.Let's assume Company XYZ is a holding company that ...

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Consolidated Reports of Condition are reports that are filed quarterly by banks and all regulated financial institutions with the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) ...

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In business, consolidation refers to the merger of several companies in a specific industry, which typically concentrates market share in the hands of a few large companies.Perhaps one of the mos...

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Also called real GDP, constant-price gross domestic product (GDP) is inflation-adjusted GDP. Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest quantitative measure of a nation's total economic activit...

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Sometimes referred to as a “self build loan,” a construction loan is a loan that is used to finance the construction of a new home or some other type of real estate project. The loan is made to th...

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The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is an index based on the monthly Consumer Conference Board survey that measures consumer sentiment regarding current and future economic conditions. note that the C...

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Consumer cyclical refers to a stock or group of stocks that are affected by changes in the economic cycle. Consumer cyclicals perform well when the economy grows and suffer when the economy stagnates...

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Consumer durables are a category of consumer products that do not have to be purchased frequently because they last for an extended period of time (typically more than three years). Consumer goods ar...

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Created by President Obama’s Administration in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) serves as a federal watchdog over the consumer financial industry. Responsible for regulating ...

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The consumer price index (CPI) measures changes in consumer prices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculates and publishes CPI data monthly. The CPI is the most recognized inflation measure in ...

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Consumer staples are household necessities -- products that most of us use on an everyday basis and would continue to use with little regard to their cost or the overall economy.Examples of consumer s...

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Contactless payment technology allows transactions through a chip embedded in payment cards, tags, key fobs, or mobile phones. A chip or QR code communicates with a reader device using radio frequency...

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Contango occurs when the current futures price of an asset (as quoted in the futures market) is higher than the current spot price of the underlying asset.There is a relationship between the spot pric...

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Also called a back-end load, a contingent deferred sales charge is a fee paid to sell a specific investment. It is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested, and may also be called an exit fee ...

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Also called the Zaraba method, the continuous auction method is a method of trading securities.   In the continuous auction method, which many Japanese exchanges use, the exchange fills orders ...

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A contrarian is an investor that attempts to profit by deviating from conventional wisdom or "the herd." Generally, the basic premise behind contrarian investment methods is that the mark...

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Contribution margin is a measure of profit per unit; it is used to tell a business how profitable each of their products is by calculating how much each product can contribute to revenues. The ...

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A conventional loan is a mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by a government agency. Also known as a conventional mortgage, conventional loans are usually fixed-rate loans. Conventional mort...

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A conversion ratio is the number of one security given for another security (usually a convertible security). For example, convertible preferred stock is preferred stock that holders can exchange for ...

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A convertible bond gives the bondholder the right to convert the bond into a fixed number of shares of common stock in the issuing company.For example, consider a Company XYZ bond with a $1,000 par va...

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Convertible preferred stock is preferred stock that holders can exchange for common stock at a set price after a certain date.Let's assume you purchase 100 shares of XYZ Company convertible prefer...

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In the bond world, convexity refers to the shape of the yield curve and  how sensitive bond prices are to changes in interest rates. The degree to which a bond's price changes when interest ...

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Core earnings are the net income a company generates from the principle products and services it provides.The concept of core earnings was developed by Standard & Poor's (S&P) in order to ...

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"Cornering the market" refers to the process of acquiring enough shares of a certain security or asset with the intention of illegally manipulating its price.Let's assume you want to profi...

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Corporate bonds are debt instruments created by companies for the purpose of raising capital. They are called fixed-income securities because they pay a specified amount of interest on a regular basis...

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Also called "articles of incorporation" or a "certificate of incorporation," a corporate charter is a legal document that sets forth a corporation's basic information, such as its location, profi...

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Corporate governance is the process and rules under which a company is managed on the behalf of shareholders and stakeholders. The board of directors is primarily responsible for applying and maintain...

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Corporate inversion is practice by U.S.-based companies of exchanging their registration with a subsidiary outside the U.S. in order to pay lower taxes.Many large companies in the U.S. have smaller su...

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Corporate profit, also called net income, is the amount remaining after all costs, depreciation, interest, taxes, and other expenses have been deducted from total sales. Profit is also referred to as ...

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Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is a system of self-regulation for a business to become and remain socially accountable to its customers, employees, peers, and community.  Under CSR, ...

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A corporation is one of many ways to formally organize a business. Structuring a business as a corporation has a number of important legal requirements and consequences that impact investors.A corpora...

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A correction refers to a price decline of at least 10% of any security or market index after a temporary increase in market prices.The stock market's value is always rising and falling. Sometimes,...

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Correlation, as used in investing, is a measure of the return performance of two (or more) securities or asset classes relative to each other. Portfolio managers, traders, brokers, and stock...

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Cost basis refers to the original price of an asset. Cost basis is sometimes called tax basis.Let's assume you purchase 100 shares of XYZ Company stock for $5 per share, and you pay a $10 commissi...

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Cost-benefit analysis is used to analyze a potential investment that will impact a business. Whether a company is looking to purchase a new property – or expand its operations – cost benefit a...

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Cost of capital is an important business term for both investors and companies. Cost of capital can best be described as the ability to cover both asset and liability expenditures while generating a p...

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Cost of equity refers to a shareholder's required rate of return on an equity investment. It is the rate of return that could have been earned by putting the same money into a different investment wit...

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Cost of goods sold (COGS) is an accounting term to describe the direct expenses related to producing a good or service. COGS is listed on the income statement.For goods, COGS is primarily composed of ...

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Cost per thousand (CPM) is a marketing term referring to the cost of a media vehicle reaching 1,000 members of an audience. The M in CPM is the Roman numeral for 1,000.The formula for cost per thousan...

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Cost per unit is a measure of a company's cost to build or create one unit of product. For example, let's assume it costs Company XYZ $10,000 to purchase 5,000 widgets that it will resell in its reta...

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Cottage industry is a production system that relies on producing goods, or parts of goods, by craftsmen at home, or small workshops, by individuals, small teams or family units instead of large factor...

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A countercyclical stock is a stock whose price tends to move in opposition to the overall business cycle. When the market rises, the stock price falls, and when the market falls, the stock price moves...

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Country risk is the risk that a foreign government will default on its bonds or other financial commitments. Country risk also refers to the broader notion of the degree to which political a...

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A coupon bond, frequently referred to as a "bearer bond," is a bond with a certificate that has small detachable coupons. The coupons entitle the holder to interest payments from the borrower...

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The coupon equivalent rate (CER), also known as the bond equivalent yield (BEY), is the effective yield on a zero-coupon bond when calculated as if it paid a coupon.To calculate the coupon equiva...

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The coupon equivalent yield is the effective annual interest rate earned on a bond. It is used to understand what the annual return is or would have been on an investment lasing less than one year. T...

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In the finance world, the coupon rate is the annual interest paid on the face value of a bond. It is expressed as a percentage. The term "coupon rate" comes from the small detachable c...

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A covenant is a promise a company makes, usually in return for a loan or bond issue.Covenants are most common in lending agreements and bond indentures. They can be financial or operational in nature....

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A coverage ratio divides a company's income or cash flow by a certain expense in order to determine financial solvency.Some of the most common coverage ratios include the fixed-charge coverage rat...

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A covered call is a call option that is sold against stock an investor already owns.For example, assume that on January 1, Charlie owns 100 shares of IBM stock. IBM currently trades at $100, but Charl...

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Credit is an agreement whereby a financial institution agrees to lend a borrower a maximum amount of money over a given time period. Interest is typically charged on the outstanding balance. In the...

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A credit bureau is an agency that collects, organizes, and disseminates credit information to creditors and potential creditors. Credit bureaus generally collect information on individuals and small b...

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A credit card is issued by a financial institution that lets you borrow money to make a purchase. According to a recent Experian report, the average American holds 4 credit cards. Not only are credit ...

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The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act is better known as the Credit CARD Act. The law's main purpose is to prevent certain business practices in the credit card industry t...

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A credit card balance is the total amount of money owed on a credit card account. Whenever a purchase is made, the balance increases. Conversely, whenever a payment is made, the balance decreases....

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A credit crunch occurs when loans are very expensive and difficult to obtain.During a credit crunch, lending institutions are limited as to the amount of funds they can use to make loans. Lenders are ...

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A credit default swap (CDS) protects lenders in the event of default on the part of the borrower by transferring the associated risk in return for periodic income payments.In a credit default swa...

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A credit derivative is a financial instrument thats value is determined by the default risk of an underlying asset.Credit derivatives allow a lender or borrower to transfer the default risk of a loan ...

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A credit limit is the maximum amount that a person may charge on a credit card or borrow from a financial institution. After a financial institution has approved an applicant's request for a credit c...

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Credit quality is a measure of an individual's or company's creditworthiness, which is ability to repay debt. A FICO score, which is created and calculated by the Fair Isaac Corporation, is a...

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In personal finance, the term credit rating commonly refers to a score issued by the Fair Isaac Corporation (a "FICO score"). A person's credit rating indicates how creditworthy he or she is. In co...

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A credit report is a report detailing a person's financial history specifically related to their ability to repay borrowed money. There are three major credit bureaus in the United States: TransUnion...

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Credit risk is the chance that a bond issuer will not make the coupon payments or principal repayment to its bondholders. In other words, it is the chance the issuer will default. While the definitio...

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Credit score refers to the FICO score, which is created and calculated by the Fair Isaac Corporation and is a measure of an individual's creditworthiness. It is a mathematical summary of the informati...

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A credit spread is the difference between the yields of two bonds that offer the same coupon and have the same maturity. Since yield reflects the risk of a bond, the credit spread reflects the differe...

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A credit union is a financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members rather than shareholders. The members of the credit union pool their deposits and provide loans and other financia...

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The credit utilization rate is a calculation comparing an individual's total debt balances to total available credit. The credit utilization rate is also referred to as the credit utilization ratio. ...

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Credit utilization, commonly referred to as the credit utilization ratio or credit utilization rate, is a calculation comparing an individual's total debt balances to total available credit. The...

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A creditor is an individual or institution that lends money or services to another entity under a repayment agreement. There are generally two types of creditors: personal and real. Personal creditor...

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Critical mass refers to the size a company needs to reach in order to efficiently and competitively participate in the market. This is also the size a company must attain in order to sustain growth an...

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Cross-listing (also known as interlisting or dual listing) is the listing of any security on two or more different exchanges. Let's assume Company XYZ is a Canadian public company that lists...

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The crowding out effect describes the idea that large volumes of government borrowing push up the real interest rate, making it difficult or close to impossible for individuals and small companies to ...

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A cumulative dividend is a dividend, usually on preferred shares, that must be paid before any other dividends on any of the issuer's other securities. Preferred stock that does not carry a cumula...

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Currency is a medium of exchange for goods or services within an economy.Currency can be either fiat or tied to an underlying asset. Fiat money has no intrinsic value and is backed by the full faith a...

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Currency risk, also called foreign-exchange risk or exchange-rate risk, is the risk that changes in the relative value of certain currencies will reduce the value of investments denominated in a forei...

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Current assets (sometimes called current accounts) are any company assets that can be converted into cash within one fiscal year. There are multiple ways these assets can be converted, including sale,...

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A current liability is a liability due in less than one year. A liability is a claim on a company's assets. Technically, a liability is a required transfer of assets or services that must occur o...

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The current portion of long-term debt (CPLTD) is the portion of a company's long-term debt payments that are due in less than one year.   For example, let’s assume that XYZ Company ...

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The current ratio is the ratio of current assets to current liabilities. The current ratio is a commonly used liquidity ratio that measures a company's ability to pay its current liabilities with its...

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Current yield represents the prevailing interest rate that a bond or fixed income security is delivering to its owners. The formula for current yield is defined as follows: CY = Annual interest pa...

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CUSIP stands for "Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures" and refers to a 9-digit alphanumeric code assigned to all security issues approved for trading in the United States...

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A custodian is an institution or individual that can act as an agent and exercise legal authority over the financial assets of another individual or company. A custodian typically handles a variety o...

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A cyclical industry is an industry whose performance (revenues, profits, etc.) is tied to the business cycle. Thus, when the economy is grows quickly, the industry does well and vice versa.Cyclical in...

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Cyclical stocks are those that tend to move strongly higher and lower along with the overall business cycle. These stocks represent ownership in companies that are very sensitive to economic fluctuati...

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Cyclical unemployment is the fluctuating rate of unemployment resulting from swings in the business cycle.This type of unemployment increases during a recession and decreases during an expansion. Busi...

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