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What does “Buy to Close” Mean?

When an investor takes a short position on an option contract by selling (“writing”) a call or put option, he or she is opening a position, which creates more open interest in an underlying security which will be handled by the brokerage house, and this is called “selling to open.” If the price changes in the underlying security in an unfavorable way, the investor will seek to get out of the short position he holds on the options contract before the option’s expiration date. To do so, the investor must buy back the option (or, really, cancel out the position by buying the same kind of contract that he or she previously sold short). Continue reading...

What is a Closed-End Fund?

A closed-end fund is a collective investment model where a company raises a fixed amount of capital through a share offering. It’s also known as a closed-end investment, and it trades on a stock exchange just like a stock. Closed-end funds that are managed generally tend to focus on a specific sector or segment of the market. What is an Open-End Fund? What Should I Know About IPOs? Should I Buy IPOs For My Portfolio? Continue reading...

What is a Long Position?

A long position - or to be “long a stock” - means that an investor has share ownership and will receive an economic benefit if the share price rises, and vice versa. Creating and maintaining a long position is simple: an investor just buys and owns the investment. A “long-only” strategy refers to an asset manager that only buys and sells securities in the portfolio as a management strategy - they will not use options or shorting strategies as a result. Continue reading...

What is a short position?

A short position is a sale made by an investor for a security which he or she will deliver to the buyer in the near future, but which he or she is hoping will go down in price in the near future so that a profit can be retained from the price collected in the short sale. A short position is a bearish play on a security which an investor believes will decrease in price in the near future. The investor offers shares for sale, and collects the current market price for the shares from the buyer. Continue reading...

What does “Buy to Open” Mean?

When trading options, the language is slightly different than other transactions. You might be “opening” or “closing” a position with each trade. If you buy a put or call option, your ticket with say “buy to open” since you are opening a position and increasing the open interest on the underlying. Open interest is similar to trade volume in the stock markets, but it only increases with the number of outstanding positions interested in the outcome of the movements of the underlying security, and does not increase with each trade like trading volume. Continue reading...

What Does Having a Long Position Mean?

A long position in a security means owning shares and having a positive investment balance in a stock, bond, commodity, etc. This is done by simply buying and owning the investment. An investor with a long position in a stock will benefit financially when the price of the stock rises. What is a Short Position? What is Short Selling? Continue reading...

What is the Positive Volume Index?

The Positive Volume Index (PVI) is a technical indicator that tracks increases in trade volume for an index or security, as well as the changes in price on those days. Paul Dysart developed the original version of this indicator for market indexes using advance-decline numbers instead of prices. The Positive Volume Index was then redesigned by Norman Fosback for individual securities – the version commonly used today. Continue reading...

What is a long position in options trading?

To be “long” means to own a security, and to essentially be bullish on it. A long position is to own a security and to expect it to appreciate. When people buy stocks, they are “long” those stocks. Listening to fund managers giving market commentary, you may hear them say they are “long” on China or Industrials or Apple Inc., and this means that even though they may have hedged their position with some “short” sales, their outlook for those markets is optimistic and their bullish bets outweigh their bearish ones. Continue reading...

What is a short position in options trading?

Taking a short position is selling a security that you don’t own because you anticipate that its value is set to fall. In simple terms, an investor that takes a short position is betting against it. “Shorting” is the opposite of being “long” in a security, where being “long” means to actually own it and to wait for it to appreciate. When you contact your broker or custodian to take a short position on a security, you essentially sell shares you don’t own, and then after a period, you have to return those shares to the custodian. Continue reading...

What is a commodities futures contract?

Commodities Futures are one of the most highly traded securities in the world, and it is partially because nothing has to be delivered by the participants as in a spot-trading market. Futures can be purchased on margin, opening up large positions, long or short, and if a trader finds a place to exit before the settlement date of the contract, the trader will buy/sell to close his or her position, and the exchange will regard the trader’s position as flat, and nonexistent for all intents and purposes. Continue reading...

What is a naked call?

A naked call is a type of option contract where the seller of a call does not own the underlying security, thereby exposing them to unlimited risk. Investors have the ability to “write” or sell options contracts as well as to buy them. The seller of a call option has opened a position in which the buyer is given the right to buy 100 shares of a stock at the strike price named in the contract. The seller – along with all other sellers of calls for that security – are the ones who must cover and close the open positions if the call owners exercise their options. Continue reading...

What is a Pension?

Pensions are income streams guaranteed to employees upon their retirement. A Pension is a type of Defined Benefit Plan in which your employer promises to pay you a certain amount every month for the rest of your life. Employers who are part of the pension plans are sometimes called pensioners. An employer retains the funds in a trust, usually, and everyone’s pension assets are pooled together in what’s called a Pension Fund. Continue reading...

What is a currency certificate?

A currency certificate is also called a foreign exchange (Forex) certificate (FEC), and it validates that the bearer is entitled to a certain amount of foreign currency upon the redemption of the certificate, or that a certain amount of foreign currency was exchanged for it. This is not to be confused with a certificate of currency, which is proof that some types of insurance are currently in effect. Currency certificates have been historically used in countries with closed or controlled economies, such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China. Continue reading...

What are the basics of options?

Options are contracts used by investors to take a speculative position – or a hedge – based on expected future price movements of the underlying securities. Many investors are scared when they heard the word "option" and perceive it as a risky, speculative investment. Options certainly can be risky, but they don’t have to be. In fact, certain options strategies are far more conservative than many available investments in the marketplace. Continue reading...

What is a put time spread?

A put time spread is an options strategy that has the investor implementing a short put and a long put at the same strike price, but with different expirations. Time spreads can also be called calendar spreads or horizontal spreads. A put time spread will use two put contracts on the same underlying security but with different expiration dates. One of the puts will be sold short, and one will be held long (this is the nature of spreads). Continue reading...

What is a short squeeze?

A short squeeze occurs when many short-sellers attempt to cover their positions at the same time, and it drives prices up rapidly. A short squeeze is a bottleneck situation where many investors who have sold a security short, suddenly become very interested in covering their positions - usually, because the stock starts on a strong uptrend. The squeeze will actually cause the price of the security to rapidly increase, more than it would otherwise, because so much demand has hit the security at once. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Rate Lock?

Mortgages take a while to process, but a broker or bank can lock in a rate for themselves or their clients. Locking-in rates costs money somewhere along the line, and the longer the rate is locked in, the more it costs. 60 days is generally the longest time frame you will see a rate locked in, due to the cost associated with that risk. Mortgage rates can be locked in for a period of time long enough to underwrite the loan. This might be for a period as short as 20 days or as long as 60 days. Continue reading...

What is a No-Cost Mortgage?

No-Cost Mortgages waive the initial closing costs by making a repayment structure for those costs into the interest payments on a mortgage loan. Closing costs can range from 2%-5% of the total cost of the home, and include attorney fees, underwriting fees, application fees, and so on. These costs are deferred and are paid in the form of additional interest on the loan. Closing costs are separate from down-payments of equity, and are a miscellaneous hodgepodge of a wide range of fees associated with closing a mortgage deal. These costs are sometimes covered by the seller, but most often they are paid by the buyer. Continue reading...

What is Appraisal?

Appraisal is a valuation conducted by a certified professional to assess the value of property, especially real estate. Appraisals are an important service in the real estate industry in particular. Where mortgage loans are being taken out from banks, including original mortgages, refinancing, home equity loans and lines of credit, as well as in business and estate valuations, the property appraisal will play an important role. Continue reading...

What is a bull put spread?

A bull put spread is used when an investor thinks the price of a security is set to rise modestly. The strategy involves buying one put option on the security while simultaneously selling another put option at a higher strike price. A Bull Put Spread is usually a vertical spread, meaning the two options used have the same expiration date (and different prices). The lower-strike put option is bought and held long, while the higher-strike option is sold short. The short position sold will be at or just below the current market price for the security, and the long position will be at a lower strike price than the short position. Continue reading...