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What is the Bid-Ask Spread?

The Bid-Ask Spread is the difference between an offer made on a security and the price a seller is willing to accept. The Bid-Ask Spread is the amount by which the ask price exceeds the bid. For example, if the bid price is $50 and the ask price is $51 then the "bid-ask spread" is $1. The larger the bid-ask spread, the less liquid the market for that particular security - buyers and sellers are too far apart for trades to occur easily. When trading, investors have to pay attention to the bid-ask spread, because it is ultimately an additional cost to investing in or trading stocks. Continue reading...

What is Assessed Value?

Assessed value is used to determine the property taxes due on real estate. Assessed value is normally lower than the appraised value of a residential property, because it is not looking as much at the value of the home, but rather the value of the property, for property tax assessment. While the assessed value does have to do with the market value of real estate, most calculations only use average home prices the area, found in local real estate listings, as part of the valuation. The “ask” prices are going to be higher than the prices at which they’ll sell. Continue reading...

What does Bid Mean?

When you make a ‘buy offer’ on a stock or other security in the financial markets, you are making a Bid. A Bid offer in terms of financial markets is the price offered by an investor or trader for a security. A market maker will try to reconcile Bid offers (the highest prices that buyers are willing to pay) with Ask offers (the lowest price that a seller is willing to accept). Match the Bid and the Ask offers, and you’ve got a trade. Continue reading...

What is a "spread"?

Spread has several meanings in finance, but the most general usage is to describe the difference between the bid and the ask prices for a security, where a narrower spread would indicate high trading volume and liquidity. It also might refer to a type of options strategy in which an investor purchases two calls or two puts on the same underlying security but with different expiration dates or strike prices. Continue reading...

What does Ask Mean?

In the financial markets, “Ask” is the price that a seller is willing to accept for a security. It is also known as the offer price. Given the market is constantly changing, Ask prices are rarely set in stone for long. What’s more, the Ask price on a security may not necessarily be the best going price available for it. It merely represents what that particular seller is willing to accept for it. What is a “Spread”? What is a Market-Maker Spread? Continue reading...

What is a market-maker spread?

The difference between the Bid and Ask prices on a stock or other security are known as the Spread. Designated market makers are traders whose job it is to make a market for securities, by offering to buy or sell shares, and thus creating liquidity, often at the same time. Their money is made on the spread. In highly liquid markets, the spread will shrink. So if everyone is buying and selling the same stock one day, there may be virtually no spread between the Bid and the Ask price, and this is seen as efficient. Continue reading...

What is market efficiency?

Market efficiency describes the degree to which relevant information is integrated into the price of a security. With the prevalence of information technology today, markets are considered highly efficient; most investors have access to the same information with prices and industry news, updated instantaneously. The Efficient Market Hypothesis stems from this idea. Efficient markets are said to have all relevant information priced-in to the securities almost immediately. High trading volume also makes a market more efficient, as there is a high degree of liquidity for buyers and sellers, and the spread between bid and ask prices narrows. Continue reading...

What is a Reverse Stock Split?

A reverse stock split consolidates stocks at a certain ratio and reduces the number of shares outstanding while increasing the value of each share, as opposed to a regular stock split, which divides existing stocks into more shares which are worth less apiece. A normal stock split, which increases the number of shares an investor owns without increasing the total value of his or her interest in the company, has the benefit of increasing liquidity with the shares and possibly narrowing the bid/ask spread. A reverse stock split reduces the number of shares in circulation by effectively combining the existing shares at a certain ratio (such as, 2 shares now equals 1 share). Continue reading...

What is a strike price?

A strike price names the price of the underlying security in options or derivative contract at which the underlying security will trade at settlement if it is exercised. In a call option, for example, the option would name a strike price, and if the current market price of the underlying security was more than the strike price, an investor who held the call contract would invoke his right to purchase the stock from the issuer/seller of the option at the strike price, which, remember is lower than the prevailing market price in this example, and the investor can turn around and sell it in the market at or near its most recent, and higher, price, for a profit. Continue reading...

What is a Breakeven Price?

There will be a premium paid by investors for the right to establish positions using options. The price of the underlying security must move to a certain point for the options position to become profitable. The strike price of an options contract names the price that an investor can use to buy or sell the underlying security, but the breakeven price will be the strike price plus the amount of the investor’s premium or net debit. Breakeven price can apply to a multi-option strategy such as a spread, or to a single option position. Continue reading...

How are option prices computed?

Option prices are decided by the buyers and sellers in the marketplace, but are tied closely to the amount of risk inherent in the agreed upon expiration date and strike price. Option prices change as the market factors in the relevant information. The main factor is the strike price. The closer an option’s strike price is to the actual market price of a security, the higher it’s price will be. Once it’s in-the-money, it has inherent value that makes it essentially the same price as the market security that underlies it. The expiration date of the contract is also a factor because if the expiration date is closing in, and the strike price is not quite close enough to the market price of the underlying asset, there is little chance that the option will be useful. Continue reading...

What is adaptive price zone?

Adaptive Price Zone is a volatility-based trading indicator. Similar to traditional Bollinger Bands, Adaptive Price Zone is a recent development by Lee Leibfarth that overlays two indicator bands around a moving average line. It is more adaptive than many previous band indicators, using several short-term exponential moving averages which are double-smoothed and closely hug changes in volatility and price data. Exponential moving averages give more weight to recent data, which helps the lines hug current data. Continue reading...

What is a price-weighted index?

When creating an index, it must be decided what criteria will affect the value of the index, and in the case of a price-weighted index, the only consideration is the price of shares. A price-weighted index is created by adding up the individual price per share of the companies included in the index and dividing by the number of companies. Essentially what you've done is arrived at the average price per share of the companies included in the index. Continue reading...

What Happens to the Price of a Bond After I Buy It?

Bonds can be traded on exchanges before their maturity date, but the price might fluctuate based on the current interest rate environment. As the buyer of, say, a $1,000 bond, you should be aware that as long as the company does not go bankrupt, you will receive $1,000 back at the date of maturity. During the life of the bond, however, the price at which you can sell that bond might oscillate depending on the interest rate environment and the perceived financial health of the company. Continue reading...

What is the Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E Ratio)?

The Price to Earnings ratio is a company’s stock price relative to its net income per share. A low P/E indicates that a stock is trading at a low premium to earnings, which may indicate that the market thinks low relative growth rates are ahead for the company. A company with a high P/E means investors are willing to pay a premium for growth, perhaps anticipating high future growth rates for the company. The P/E ratio is calculated by dividing the market value per share of a company by its earnings per share. Continue reading...

What is the Price to Cash Flow Ratio (PCFR)?

The Price to Cash Flow Ratio (PCFR) is a valuation measure that looks at a company’s stock price relative to its cash flow per share. Generally speaking, the lower the ratio, the better chance the company is undervalued - it basically means the company produces a lot of cash flow relative to how much it costs to acquire a share on the open market. A very high PCFR indicates that a company is trading at a high price relative to the amount of cash flow it produces. Start-up technology companies, for instance, would generally have high PCFRs because they may not produce high levels of cash flow in early stages, but investors may bid up the price in anticipation of future growth. Continue reading...

How Do You Read Bitcoin Price Charts?

Bitcoin price charts may appear different on different sites, but they are generally not much different from technical charts used in other markets. Charts are tools used to reduce vast amounts of data into characteristic parts, in an attempt to illustrate the trajectory, velocity, or potential future of an asset’s price. A single chart may show you 20 different kinds of descriptive data in one picture, by overlaying certain measurements, rates of change, or comparative data directly on top of a chart or in a windowed fashion around it.  Many online charts will give you the ability to pick and choose what kinds of data you see and how it is displayed. Once you have played around with it for a few minutes and looked up some information about the different tools available for analysis, you may be able to understand some things about bitcoin that may help you get closer to making trading decisions. That’s the beauty of charts, really, in that, they are intended to be somewhat intuitive. Continue reading...

Can You Sell a Bond for Less Than the Price You Paid For It?

Yes, if you sell the bond before its maturity, it’s possible that you would have to sell it at a discount. If you bought a $1,000  bond with a 5% coupon, and a year later, the  company issued new $1,000 bonds with a 6% coupon, you would not be able to sell your bond to someone else for $1,000 (obviously, because they would rather purchase the new bonds for $1,000 which pay more annual interest than your old one). Continue reading...

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change, over time, in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. The CPI is an important economic indicator, as it’s changes influence the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions and it gives an indication if an economy is experiencing adequate inflation. The most common reading on the CPI is % change from a previous period, with most developed economies generally striving for 2% annualized inflation. Continue reading...

What is the Prime Rate

The prime rate is the lowest interest rate that banks will charge on loans at a given time, based on the Federal Funds Rate. Individual banks set their own prime rate, which they may also call their "Reference Rate" or "Base Lending Rate." It is the least they will charge for a loan at a given time, based on the creditworthiness of the customer, and the only clients whose risk of default is low enough to approach the prime rate are very large commercial clients. Continue reading...