Investing Terms

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  • Cost Accounting

    What Is Cost Accounting? Cost accounting is a process companies go through to determine how much it costs to manufacture a product or provide a service in order to decide: how much they should make, the price they should charge and how profitable the product or service is. The main goal of cost accounting is to determine the breakeven point, above which sales revenue exceeds costs and the company makes…

  • Income Statement

    What Is An Income Statement? The income statement is one of the main financial statements that companies prepare regularly to measure their financial health. The income statement—also known as a profit and loss statement (P&L)—shows the company's profitability over a given period of time. Most public companies prepare income statements quarterly, and private companies may do it more frequently, such as monthly. Investors use income statements to discern the basic…

  • Commodity Stocks

    What Is A Commodity Stock? A commodity stock is a debt offering from a corporation involved in the consumption, extraction, refinement or delivery of raw materials. Accordingly, both company performance and share price are correlated to the relative value of an underlying commodity(s). Valuing Commodity Stocks Acting as the basis for a broad spectrum of securities, commodities are a premier asset class in the global marketplace. Essentially, any item with…

  • Commodity Dollars

    What Are Commodity Dollars? The term "commodity dollar" is used to define a currency closely correlated with raw materials integral to a nation's export sector. Also referred to as a "commodity currency" or "comdoll," commodity dollars derive a great deal of their value from specific underlying assets. The markets of oil, gold and agricultural products often play key roles in the exchange rate valuations of these currencies. Generally speaking, the…

  • Derivatives

    What Is A Derivative? Derivatives are financial instruments that derive their value from an underlying asset such as a currency, a commodity like oil, gold or wheat, stocks and bonds, or interest rates. The most common types of derivatives are options and futures, credit default swaps, interest rate swaps and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Pros of Derivatives Derivatives were originally developed to enable companies and producers to protect themselves against…

  • Seasonality

    What Is Seasonality? In finance, the term seasonality is used to describe periodic trends in supply/demand, business performance and asset pricing. This phenomenon occurs consistently on an annual basis, in concert with regional weather patterns, economic data releases or the celebration of assorted holidays. Seasonality is an important factor to consider when crafting investment decisions. If left unchecked, the enhanced volatility and market turbulence attributable to these trends can increase…

  • Futures Industry Association (FIA)

    The Futures Industry Association (FIA) is a leading authority on the global derivatives industry. Headquartered in Singapore, Brussels, London and Washington D.C., the FIA is an advisory body to the world's futures and options market participants. Operating as a network of clearinghouses, exchanges and trading firms, the FIA aims to satisfy its self-stated, multifaceted mission: Support market transparency, competition and open accessibility Preserve the integrity of the financial system Promote…

  • Contribution Margin

    What Is Contribution Margin? Contribution margin is a business accounting term that measures the difference between sales revenue and the variable costs to produce or sell a product. It shows the amount of profitability a company would achieve once it covers its fixed costs, i.e., its breakeven point. A company's fixed costs remain basically the same whether it makes or sells one unit or thousands. The most common fixed costs…

  • Non-Deliverable Forward

    What Is A Non-Deliverable Forward? A non-deliverable forward (NDF) is a contract to buy or sell a specific currency at a specified price in which the settlement of the contract at expiration doesn't involve the physical delivery of the currency, hence the name. In general, NDFs are used to hedge or speculate in local currencies in emerging markets where the currency has low liquidity, is not freely convertible, or where…

  • Market Capitalisation

    In finance, the term market capitalisation is used to reference the aggregate value of a specific security, sector, exchange, or trading venue. Frequently shortened to "market cap," it may be calculated in a variety of ways and is especially useful when comparing the relative size of tradable securities or marketplaces. Stocks One of the most common applications of market capitalisation is to corporate stock offerings. According to the U.S. Securities…

  • Credit Default Swap

    What Is A Credit Default Swap? A credit default swap (CDS) is a financial derivatives contract that acts as an insurance policy that an investor takes out in order to protect against a bond issuer defaulting on its obligations to pay interest and repay principal. The investor "swaps" their risk with an insurance company, a bank, or a hedge fund. The institution accepts the risk against the bond, defaulting in…

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