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 pivot point?

A pivot point is a technical indicator used by traders to determine overall market trends over various windows. This indicator used to be solely the average of the high, low, and closing prices of the previous day, but modern trading utilizes different versions of this concept for&nbsp;day trading&nbsp;and short term analysis. In many cases, pivot points are now quick-reference tools used in&nbsp;intra-day trading&nbsp;that give the trader benchmarks and perspective as&nbsp;short-term price movements&nbsp;happen. How the trader calculates the pivot point depends on whether the point is going to be part of a chart with a scope of several minutes or the present day or present week. Continue reading...

What is a Basis Point?

When percentages being used to describe a security are very small, basis points are often used to describe the numbers. A Basis Point (bp) is 1/100th of a percent, so 1% = 100 bps. This metric is used when discussing financial instruments for which very small changes in percentages can make a difference. For example, rates on single premium immediate annuities change weekly, and generally only by a few basis points. These small changes can make a difference competitively week-to-week, because a few basis points can translate to thousands of dollars of income over time. Other places where basis points are used include: advisory and management fees, moves in indexes and securities, bonds, and so on. Continue reading...

Keywords:

What are Pivot Points?

Pivot points are quick-reference tools used in intra-day trading that give the trader benchmarks and perspective while short-term price movements happen. Pivot points are set by taking the high, low, and close price levels of a stock market index or individual security for the previous day or week and basing support and resistance levels from there by multiplying those numbers by simple factors. These multiple might be very simple, such as 2x or 3x, or using Fibonacci numbers, which is still a simple calculation if you have the Fibonacci numbers. These are meant to be very quickly generated on a piece of scratch paper, and because of their simplicity, they were a favorite among floor traders. Continue reading...

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...

Lifetime cost is the total amount of money that a good will cost a consumer over the entire course of ownership. This included related, add-on costs such as maintenance, fuel, insurance and so on. These costs can dwarf the actual purchase price of the item. Lifetime cost is also known as total cost of ownership (TCO), and it is a budgetary way to look at the expenses that go along with the purchase of an item. Continue reading...

What is Acquisition Accounting?

Also known as Business Combination Accounting, there are specific guidelines and bits of information that must be documented on the books during an acquisition. Acquisition Accounting is a standardized way to account for the assets and liabilities of companies who are part of a merger or acquisition. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) stipulate that even in a merger where a new company is formed, one company must play the role of acquirer and the other of acquiree, but that rule really only applies outside of the US. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Par Rate?

Lenders have a different par rate for different types of borrowers, which is the base around which they have the ability to negotiate deals. The par rate will be based on the prevailing interest rate environment, with factors changing it slightly for different potential borrowers and the risk associated with them based on creditworthiness. Par rate is the fair market value of a loan for a person with certain risk characteristics, from a lending institution of certain size and qualities. The par rate is the reference point around which a borrower and a lender will strike a deal, even though this is often unknown to the borrower. If the lender, which might be a bank loan officer or a mortgage broker, gives the borrower a break on the front-end cost of the loan, the borrower might have some interest tacked on to the par rate to make up for it. Continue reading...

What is a Lifetime Payout Annuity?

Lifetime income annuities provide a guaranteed payout over the life of the annuitant. “Payout” is not a term used officially, but it denotes that the principal amount invested in the annuity is designed to be paid out and depleted over the life expectancy of the annuitant. The payout rate is competitive with other sources of retirement income. Life insurance companies created annuity products as a way to guarantee a client never runs completely out of money. Statistically, according to some surveys, elderly people are more afraid of outliving their money than of nearly anything else. Today medicine can keep people alive longer and longer but not functioning at full capacity, and certainly not able to generate more income in most cases. Continue reading...

What does PIP mean?

A PIP is the standard smallest increment of change or precision at which a currency is quoted and tracked in Forex markets. One ‘PIP’ equals .0001 of the size of a lot of currency being exchanged, in terms of the counter currency. A PIP stands for Percentage in Point and is the integer which appears in the 10,000th place when quoting currency exchange rates. It is actually the same as a Basis Point, used in bond and equity markets, which is 1/100th of 1%. If we were exchanging GBP (British Pounds) for USD (US Dollars), in a Mini-lot of 10,000, one PIP would equal \$1. Continue reading...

Keywords:

Do I Need Life Insurance if I have an Annuity?

If an annuity or pension will pay your spouse a survivor’s benefit that is adequate to support his or her lifestyle, then you may not need to a life insurance policy to cover this need. Annuities are seen as longevity insurance which protect against outliving money, while life insurance protects beneficiaries if the insured person dies younger than expected. If something happens to you and you have an annuity, your surviving spouse would either continue to receive periodic benefits or take a lump-sum distribution, depending on what kind of payout option you chose when you signed the contract. In the case of the lump sum it may only be for the amount of principal that had not been paid out yet in annuity payments. Continue reading...

What is a credit rating?

A credit rating is given to a company or debt issue after a disinterested third party evaluates the strength of the business or cash flow and rates its ability to pay all of its liabilities. Third-party institutions such as Standard &amp; Poor’s (S&amp;P), Moody’s, and Fitch will conduct research in order to give investors an idea of how likely a business, bond issue, or insurance company can pay all of its obligations. Continue reading...

What is Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP)?

The Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) helps traders consider the influence of volume on prices. VWAP is calculated by taking the average of prices from a time period and dividing it by the trading volume for the current day. Traders use VWAP to confirm trends and decide whether to take long or short positions, while large institutions are likely to use VWAP to avoid disrupting market prices, finding the&nbsp;liquid&nbsp;and illiquid price points and trading so as not to move prices away from the averages. Continue reading...

What is Off-Balance-Sheet-Financing?

A company might use this maneuver in order to keep their debt to equity levels in check. The most frequently used types of off-balance-sheet-financing are joint ventures, research and development partnerships, and operating leases. Continue reading...

What is a Bank Guarantee?

When a lending institution offers a Bank Guarantee, they are reducing the risk involved in a transaction by guaranteeing payment to the seller. Bank Guarantees often come into play with deals made internationally, where the participants in the deal prefer to have some assurances before they do business. The guarantee acts as insurance to protect the parties involved in transactions where they are not fully able to assess the strength and reliability of the other, such as when small companies bid for projects or when bids for a job come-in from around the world. Continue reading...

What is an Accelerated Share Repurchase?

An Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) is a method by which companies can buy back a significant amount of their outstanding shares with the help of an investment bank. By enlisting the help of an investment bank to accelerate a buy-back, a company can cleanly retire a large bulk of shares at once. These agreements have come into use in the last 10 years, and there is of course some variation in their composition. They fall under a category of buybacks known as structured buybacks. Continue reading...

What Kinds of Overlays are Used in Chart Patterns?

Overlays are technical supplements which help to interpret the data of a normal price chart. Often a chart program will allow the user to pick a few different overlays at a time, to help him or her get a better idea of what is going on with the price. Some common overlays include moving average lines, Bollinger Bands, Ichimoku clouds, and channel lines. An overlay or series of overlays will appear as additional lines, shading, or other graphics on a price chart. An overlay helps a trader or analyst interpret the price data in the context of other data, by putting the other data right on top of it. Continue reading...

What is a Life Annuity?

Annuities are primarily designed to pay a substantially similar sum at regular intervals until the annuitant dies. Life insurance companies write these contracts since they are designed as a kind of longevity insurance. A lifetime income annuity, sometimes called a life annuity, is a stream of guaranteed payments for the duration of the annuitant’s life, based on the sum used to purchase the lifetime income and the age of the annuitant at the time of purchase. Life annuities can also be joint-life, meaning the contract will pay an amount to either of two people as long as one is alive. Continue reading...

What is Securitization?

Securitization is to turn an asset which would otherwise not be a liquid, tradable security, into one. Simply put, securitization turns assets into securities. The most common example when discussing securitization is mortgage-backed securities, in which the cash flow of interest and principal payments on mortgage loans has been pooled, cut up, and distributed for sale in the form of marketable securities which can be held by an everyday investor. The bank or institution who sold the mortgage-backed securities receives cash which they can loan out to more home-buyers. Continue reading...

What is a REPO?

REPO is shorthand for Repurchase Agreement. It is a money-market practice where two entities agree to buy/sell government securities overnight and reverse the transaction the next day for the sake of providing the selling entity with short-term cash. Repurchase Agreements provide the selling party with short term liquidity, and are considered a money-market instrument. A third party usually acts as a clearing agent. Continue reading...