## What is the Unemployment Rate?

There are a few ways to measure unemployment, but it is normally interpreted as a percentage of the working-age population that does not have a job. The statistics that are used to determine unemployment rate typically use the number of unemployed people who are actively searching for a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts a monthly poll called the Current Population Survey which goes out to about 50,000 households, and this is a significant source of unemployment data. Continue reading...

## How is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Calculated?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is calculated using prices of sample goods from predetermined urban areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the CPI is a product of a series of interrelated samples. First, using data from the 1990 Census of Population, BLS selected the urban areas from which data on prices were collected and chose the housing units within each area that were eligible for use in the shelter component of the CPI. The Census of Population also provided data on the number of consumers represented by each area selected as a CPI price collection area. Continue reading...

## What is a Variable Cost?

When budgeting for companies, some expenses are fixed overhead and some are variable, which depend on the amount of work being done. The direct cost of materials and labor are a good example of variable costs that will fluctuate with production levels. There may be an equation that the company can use to reliably predict these variable costs, but they are not fixed costs. From an accounting perspective, of course, these costs would be in separate sections. Fixed costs include warehousing, depreciation, insurances, rent, taxes, salaries, and so forth. These can be put into the budget before anything else happens or any orders have been taken for the year. The variable costs must be taken into account on the fly. Continue reading...

## What is the LIBOR?

The LIBOR is the benchmark interest rate that the world’s leading banks pay each other for short-term loans (interbank rate). It stands for ‘London Interbank Offered Rate’ and essentially serves as the benchmark that global banks use to determine the interest cost of short-term loans. The rate then becomes useful in determining - and as a reference point - for government bonds, mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and derivatives. Continue reading...

## What is Euro LIBOR?

The primary benchmark for short-term interbank loans around the world is the LIBOR, and the Euro Libor is the LIBOR denominated in Euros. There are 16 banks in London that set the LIBOR at the start of each day, and it signifies the average lending rate that the banks would charge each other for short-term loans. The EURO LIBOR is the same, denominated in euros. LIBOR stands for the London Interbank Offered Rate. Continue reading...

## What is the Interbank Rate?

The interbank rate is the average lending rate used between banks of comparable size and creditworthiness when they borrow money from each other. The Federal Funds Rate is the benchmark in America, while LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate) is more prevalent elsewhere. These are indexes which are used to determine rates and terms for other financial instruments and swaps. The Prime Rate, or the rate banks will used for their most credit-worthy customers, is tied to the interbank rate but is slightly higher of course. In America the Federal Funds Rate is so called because the Central bank participates in the lending. This is sometimes called the overnight rate when it refers to money that is lent between banks overnight. Continue reading...

## Who Establishes a 401(k)?

Employers make the decision to establish a 40(k), but it has to be good enough for employees to want to participate. An employer is responsible for establishing a 401(k) and for overseeing it as the sponsor and fiduciary. A self-employed individual can also establish an Individual 401(k), which has the same contribution limits and requires none of the testing or auditing of a regular plan. Other options for work-site retirement plans are SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, and various kinds of profit-sharing and deferred compensation arrangements. Continue reading...

## What is SIBOR?

SIBOR is the primary interbank loan rate quoted in the Asian markets. SIBOR stands for the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate, and is a regional equivalent of the LIBOR, or London Interbank Offered Rate. It serves as a reference rate and is a composite of the reported rates offered by member banks of the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) for the lending of unsecured funds over several time frames. Continue reading...

Keywords: Asia,

## What is absolute frequency?

In statistics, the number of times that a specific value shows up in a data set is the absolute frequency of that value. The absolute frequency can then be used to find the relative frequency, which is the probability that the specific value is observed in a given number of trials. The relative frequency (empirical probability) takes the absolute frequency and divides it by the total number of trials (cumulative frequency), and can be expressed as a ratio or percentage. Continue reading...

## What is R-Squared?

R-squared is a statistical tool called a correlation coefficient. It is a percentage measurement that represents how closely correlated a security’s movement is with the movements of a benchmark index. Values range between 0 and 1 and are often expressed as percentages between 0% and 100%. A higher R-squared (between 85% and 100%) tells investors that a security moves more or less in correlation with the benchmark index. A lower R-squared (70% or less) means that the security in question moves independently from the index. Continue reading...

Keywords: Beta,

## Is there any merit to some other portfolio theories?

Plenty of theories are known because they are useful, and it is up to you to discern which ones may be worth your time and fit your situation and investment or analysis style. There’s always merit to any theory which has been put through rigorous statistical tests. However, keep in mind that as with any other statistical inferences, an event with probability zero sometimes happens (Black Swans), and an event with probability one sometimes doesn’t. Continue reading...

## What is the Best Performing Stock Ever?

Based purely&nbsp;on statistics, the “best” performing stock ever between 1957 and 2007 was Phillip Morris (cigarette maker). If you had invested \$1,000 into the company in 1957, your investment would be worth a little under \$6 million today. Of course, during those 50 years, you would have had to survive the sudden dips and jumps involved without making any rash decisions, something very few investors have the stomach for. Continue reading...

## How large are market fluctuations?

Fluctuations are represented in terms of volatility, and different types of investments experience different levels of volatility. The answer here depends on which market you’re talking about. Generally speaking, the capital markets in fixed instruments, such as government bonds, are the least volatile. Market fluctuations of the price of commodities, small-cap stocks, and emerging markets are the largest, and can be as high as 30-40% per year. Continue reading...

## What is backtesting?

Analytical financial theories and trading strategies can be “backtested” by applying them to historical data. Backtesting is to simulate what it would have been like to use a certain strategy or indicator in the past. Because markets are more complicated than a simple algorithm, such as an assumed future rate of return, it is preferable and somewhat more dramatic to use actual historical data for testing. There is an abundance of historical market data available to those who would like to use it for backtesting a theory, strategy, or indicator. Continue reading...

## Who is the Most Widely Known Villain of Wall Street?

Throughout the history of the U.S. Stock Market, there have been countless crooks, swindlers, and villains. Money can drive people to cheat, and there have been no shortage of cheaters over the years. Undoubtedly, the biggest hoax in the history of the market is credited to Bernard Madoff, who made off (no pun intended) with over \$10 billion of his investors’ money through a massive Ponzi scheme. However, there have been countless other criminal activities, such as the Enron scandal of the early 2000’s. Continue reading...

Keywords:

## What is the Income of the Average American?

This is a simple question, but one that varies almost exclusively based on geographical location (cost of living). According to the US Census Bureau, in 2008, the Median Household Income for the state of Mississippi was \$37,818, while the figure for Maryland was \$70,482. In California, the average was at \$61,017, and in Arkansas it was \$38,820. Since the cost of living is drastically different in various states, counties, and even cities, the figure changes drastically. In San Francisco, California, for example, the median income for 2008 was \$71,957, while in Billings, Montana, the figure was \$35,147 (less than half as much). Continue reading...

Keywords:

## How Do I Measure My Risk Tolerance?

Your risk tolerance should be a measure of how willing you are to absorb losses in your portfolio. Studies in behavioral science show that investors loathe losses about two and a half times more then they enjoy gains. Everyone can likely relate to this stat. But, to be a successful investor that achieves long-term equity like returns,&nbsp;one has accept some level of risk inherent in the stock market. Continue reading...

## What Is a Layoff?

A layoff occurs when an employer suspends or terminates a worker, either temporarily or permanently, for business rather than performance reasons. This practice is distinct from firing, which typically arises from performance issues or workplace misconduct. In this article, we delve into the concept of layoffs, exploring their implications, statistics, and providing a real-world example. Continue reading...

## What are Some of the Biggest Bankruptcies in Recent History?

Before Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns, probably the most well-known and publicized bankruptcy was the infamous Enron scandal. To summarize, Enron executives, fully aware that the company was insolvent, started to sell their stock, while convincing the general public that the stock would continue to rise and the company was prospering (despite&nbsp;actual horrendous losses). As the stock dropped lower and lower, the executives continued to lie to the public, and most people fell into the trap, convinced that the low stock prices were a great opportunity (the stock was going to rebound any day – or so they thought). Continue reading...

## Who are Some of the More Well-Known Investment Managers?

There have been many notable investors who have withstood the test of time. Of those that are still living, Warren Buffett definitely stands out of the crowd. If you had invested \$1,000 with him in 1965, the investment would be worth over \$6 million today. Some of those who could be considered in the realm of "founding fathers" of sound investment strategy would include J.P. Morgan, Benjamin Graham (author of the famous "The Intelligent Investor"), and John Templeton. Continue reading...