What it is:
How it works/Example:
Warrants are securities that give the holder the right, but not the common stock) at a certain price before a certain time. Warrants are not the same as options or purchase rights.
Occasionally, companies warrants for direct sale or give them to employees as incentive, but the vast majority of warrants are "attached" to newly issued or . Naked warrants, however, are not attached to bonds or preferred stock, and they are usually issued by banks or other financial institutions.
The price at which a warrant holder can purchase the underlying securities is called the exercise price or strike price. The exercise price is usually higher than the of the stock at the time of the warrant's issuance.
Warrants are traded on the major exchanges. They tend to trade above their minimum value. For example, consider the warrant to purchase 100 of Company XYZ for $20 per share any time in the next five years. If Company XYZ shares rose to $100 during that time, the warrant holder could purchase the shares for $20 each, and immediately sell them for $100 on the open , pocketing a of ($100 - $20) x 100 shares = $8,000. Thus, the minimum value of each warrant is $80.
It is important to , however, that if the warrants still had a long time before they expired, investors might speculate that the price of Company XYZ stock could go even higher than $100 per share. This speculation, accompanied by the extra time for the stock to rise further, is why a warrant with a minimum value of $80 could easily trade above $80. But as the warrant gets closer to expiring (and the chances of the stock price rising in time to further increase profits get smaller), that premium would shrink until it equaled the minimum value of the warrant (which could be $0 if the stock price falls to below $20 rather than rising above $100).
Why it matters:
Naked warrants are not the same as year, versus five or more for warrants). Warrants are also not the same as purchase rights. The exercise price of a stock purchase right is usually below the underlying security's at the time of issuance, whereas exercise prices are typically 15% above market price when at the time of issuance. Also, companies often stock purchase rights only to existing shareholders, and they have very short lives -- generally two to four weeks.
This opportunity to participate in the of another security gives investors a little diversification and thus is a way to mitigate risk. As a result, companies often issue and with warrants attached as a way to enhance the demand and marketability of the . This in turn lowers the cost of capital for the .