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  • Animal Spirits

    What Are Animal Spirits? "Animal spirits" is a term coined by the British economist John Maynard Keynes to describe emotional or "gut" instincts by investors and businesspeople to take risks rather than based on any empirical evidence. Writing in his 1936 classic, "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money," during the Great Depression, Keynes described animal spirits as "a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as…

  • Junk Bonds

    What Is A Junk Bond? Junk bonds are debt securities issued by corporations with poor credit ratings, which means they yield more than investment-grade bonds because of their greater risk of default. Junk bonds are also known as high-yield or non-investment-grade bonds. Junk bonds are generally classified as having credit ratings below Baa by Moody's Investors Services and BBB by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, the three main credit…

  • Yield Spread

    What Is Yield Spread? The yield spread is the difference in yield between two different bonds. Investors use the yield spread to measure the relative value of two different securities, particularly as it pertains to credit quality but also to liquidity and supply, which can influence bond prices and yields. Yield spread is measured in basis points. Most commonly, yield spread is measured against a benchmark, usually the yield on…

  • Annuities

    What Are Annuities? An annuity is a contract in which an insurance company agrees to pay out a guaranteed sum of money to an investor, called the annuitant, for a specified period. The investor hands over a sum of money, either in a lump sum or over a period of time, to the insurance company, which agrees to make payments, usually monthly or quarterly, to the investor. Payout periods can…

  • Haircut

    What Is A Haircut? A haircut in finance has several meanings. It most commonly refers to the reduced value of a financial asset for purposes of calculating capital requirements, a lending margin or collateral level. It also refers to a loss an investor may have to take or accept on an asset. It means the difference between the bid and asked price of an asset as well, with that difference…

  • Bank Stress Tests

    What Is A Bank Stress Test? Bank stress tests are administered by some of the world's major central banks to assess the ability of the largest commercial banks they oversee to withstand a major crisis in the economy and financial markets. Stress tests were largely instituted following the 2008 global financial crisis and have become a regular annual exercise in developed economies. In the U.S., for example, annual stress tests…

  • Discount Window

    What Is A Discount Window? The discount window is the mechanism through which central banks lend short-term money to the commercial banks under their authority, both to provide liquidity to the financial system and to manage their monetary policies. In the U.S., commercial banks—both based in the country and foreign-based—can borrow from the discount window at the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks located around the country. Each of the 12…

  • What Is An Economic Depression?

    Market observers have repeatedly thrown around the word "depression" to describe a severe economic downturn. However, when it comes to pinning down a specific definition of this term, there is no consensus. This article will explore the aforementioned concerns, reviewing varying definitions and the different ways to measure the severity of a downturn. What Is The Difference Between A Depression And A Recession? One good way to explain a depression…

  • What Is Scalping?

    In the financial marketplaces of the world, there are numerous different styles and trading methodologies employed with the goal of achieving profitability. One of the most prominent forms of trading used by both retail and institutional traders alike is known as "scalping." Scalping is a trade management strategy in which the trader elects to take small profits quickly as they become available within the marketplace. Often referred to as "picking…

  • Liquidity

    Liquidity is the ability of an asset or security to be readily converted into cash. In active trading and finance, high degrees of liquidity are desirable. Liquid markets promote efficient trade, while corporate and personal solvency boost creditworthiness and value.

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an institution providing guidance and financing to member nations in an attempt to promote global currency and financial stability. It has been a constant staple of global finance since its 1944 inception at Bretton Woods.


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Spreads Widget: When static spreads are displayed, the figures reflect a time-stamped snapshot as of when the market closes. Spreads are variable and are subject to delay. Single Share prices are subject to a 15 minute delay. The spread figures are for informational purposes only. FXCM is not liable for errors, omissions or delays, or for actions relying on this information.

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