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IntroductionMarket AbbreviationsStock Market StatisticsThinking about Your Financial FutureSearch for AdvisorsFinancial CalculatorsFinancial MediaFederal Agencies and Programs

Investment PortfoliosModern Portfolio TheoriesInvestment StrategyPractical Portfolio Management InfoDiversificationRatingsActivities AbroadTrading Markets

Investment Terminology and InstrumentsBasicsInvestment TerminologyTradingBondsMutual FundsExchange Traded Funds (ETF)StocksAnnuities

Technical Analysis and TradingAnalysis BasicsTechnical IndicatorsTrading ModelsPatternsTrading OptionsTrading ForexTrading CommoditiesSpeculative Investments

RetirementSocial Security BenefitsLong-Term Care InsuranceGeneral Retirement InfoHealth InsuranceMedicare and MedicaidLife InsuranceWills and Trusts

Retirement Accounts401(k) and 403(b) PlansIndividual Retirement Accounts (IRA)SEP and SIMPLE IRAsKeogh PlansMoney Purchase/Profit Sharing PlansSelf-Employed 401(k)s and 457sPension Plan RulesCash-Balance PlansThrift Savings Plans and 529 Plans and ESA

The current ratio is a measure of a company’s immediate liquidity, calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities. The value of this ratio lies in determining whether a company's short-term assets (cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities, receivables and inventory) are sufficient enough to pay-off its short-term liabilities (notes payable, current portion of term debt, payables, accrued expenses and taxes). Generally speaking, the higher the current ratio, the better. Continue reading...

A liquidity ratio is also known as a current ratio, and it generally measures the amount of cash or readily available cash relative to current liabilities. Liquidity ratios are important measures to test a company’s solvency, in addition to its potential ability to handle economic shocks. Continue reading...

The non-current assets to net worth ratio will give the analyst an idea of how much of a company’s value is tied-up in non-current assets. As a quick refresher, ‘non-current assets’ are those that most likely will not convert to cash within a year’s time, also known as a long-term asset. Where a company’s non-current asset to net worth ratio lies depends on the industry, but generally speaking a company wants to avoid having that ratio rise above 1 to 1.5. That means the company is highly illiquid, and could be vulnerable in the event of an economic shock. Continue reading...

Solvency ratios come in several flavors, but they all seek to shed light on a company’s ability to pay its long-term debt obligations. There are several types of what is known as solvency ratios. Some examples of solvency ratios include debt-to-equity, debt-to-assets, interest-coverage ratio, the quick ratio, the current ratio, and so forth. These are meant to be metrics for a company’s ability to meet its debt obligations through various market conditions. The quick ratio, for instance, can reveal whether the current-year liabilities (payables) of a company are covered by the current year cash and receivables, or whether the company will depend on other sources such as inventory liquidation to meet this need. Continue reading...

The operating cash flow ratio, or OCF ratio, is used to measure whether a company’s cash flows are sufficient to cover current liabilities. It essentially measures how many times a company can use cash flow from operations to cover debt expenses. It can be measured by dividing a company’s cash flow from operations by its current liabilities. Companies with high (relative to their peers or other companies in the sector OCF ratios are generally in good financial health, meaning they can adequately cover ongoing liabilities with cash flow from operations. Continue reading...

Profitability ratios are useful analytical tools to evaluate a company’s ability to generate profits relative to all costs and expenses. A company that has high profitability ratios relative to competitors/peers, or a company that has demonstrated to improve their profitability ratios over time, is generally viewed as a healthy and attractive company from an ownership perspective. Some examples of profitability ratios are profit margin, return on assets, and return on equity. Continue reading...

Current Assets are items on a balance sheet that are either cash or are going to be cash in the near future. The current assets section of a balance sheet is an indication of cash flows and liquidity. The assets are usually listed in order of liquidity, or the amount of time that it will take for them to become cash. This section includes cash, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, inventory, supplies, and temporary investments. (The order given here is not necessarily the order of liquidity found on a balance sheet.) Continue reading...

The current yield on a bond takes into account its annual interest payment but also the price at which it can be sold. The yield on a bond held to maturity is fairly straightforward. However, if the bond you are holding is trading at a price higher or lower than where you purchased it, the current yield would be different than the yield to maturity. For example, if you purchased a 5% bond at a price of $100, but the current market price was $90, your current yield would be significantly lower than 5%. To calculate, simply divide annual cash inflows by market price. Continue reading...

In Fibonacci line analysis, chartists attempt to predict how far a trend will go in a single direction, despite some minor pullbacks that do not break the overall, stronger trend (behavior known as retracements). Trends can be upward or downward and still experience this phenomenon. Fibonacci extensions are estimations of the next high after an initial push and retracement, using Fibonacci sequences as guidelines. Some investors believe that, like many naturally occurring systems in nature, mark... Continue reading...

Working capital is computed by subtracting a business’s current liabilities from its current assets. Current means that the assets and liabilities exist within the current year. The appropriate amount of working capital will vary from business to business. Some businesses have a need for a large amount of working capital, and some can maintain a healthy balance sheet with relatively little working capital. Whatever the situation is for a particular business, the approximate calculation for the amount of working capital that they have to use is arrived at by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Continue reading...

The Sharpe Ratio is a risk-weighted metric for returns on investment. It measures whether an investment offers a good return for the amount of risk assumed by the investor. The risk/return trade-off is a positive linear relationship in most theoretical depictions – if an investor seeks greater returns, they will have to take on greater risk. For more stability and less risk, an investor will have to sacrifice some potential returns. Continue reading...

The quick ratio (also known as an “acid test”) is a financial ratio used to measure how well equipped a company is to meet its short-term liquidity needs. It basically measures how much cash (or assets easily and quickly converted to cash) a company has available to meet its short-term liquidity obligations. Since inventories are assets but are not necessarily liquid, they are excluded from the calculation. Continue reading...

The capitalization ratio measures a company’s leverage, or the amount of long-term debt it holds relative to long-term debt + shareholder equity. Essentially, it is a measure of how capitalized a company is to support operations and growth. Continue reading...

The debt ratio measures a company’s total debt to total assets. It is the simplest calculation available for determining how indebted a company is on a relative basis. The debt ratio is crucial for determining a company’s financial standing, and should be considered by potential investors. To calculate the debt ratio, one only needs to divide total liabilities (i.e. long-term and short-term liabilities) by total assets. Continue reading...

The price to book ratio compares a company’s current stock market price to its book value (which is generally speaking a company’s net assets). To calculate, an analyst need only divide a company’s latest market price by it book value, which is calculated by taking ‘Total Assets minus Intangible Assets and Liabilities.’ The P/B ratio gives some idea of what premium an investor is paying if the company went bankrupt immediately. Continue reading...

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...

Currency baskets are composed of weighted amounts of certain currencies. The most common use of a currency basket is as a benchmark for certain economic analysis, but it can also be used as a unit of account where an international organization has constituents that use various currencies. A basket of currencies is a weighted index of various currencies which serves a specific purpose as a benchmark or as a unit of account. Continue reading...

Currency symbols are characters written or typed in a specific arrangement alongside the numerical values of a currency amount, to denote the kind of currency in which the amount of money is held. An example would be the dollar sign ($), which is placed at the beginning of the numbers which describe the amount of currency in question, despite the fact that in most languages the word “dollars” follows the numbers when spoken. Many currencies have their own symbol but not necessarily all do. Continue reading...

Currency futures are derivative contracts that trade on regulated exchanges around the world. Like forward contracts, they name a specific amount of one currency which is to be exchanged for a specific amount of another currency at a future date. Futures name a specific amount of one currency which will be exchanged for a specific amount of another currency at a future date. Like other derivative contracts that trade on exchanges (e.g., options), futures are transferable and are traded as the market calls for up until their expiration. Investors can short them (sell to open) and hold them long (buy to open), and can close their positions as they see fit without riding out the contract to the expiration date. Continue reading...

The Price/Earnings to Growth Ratio (PEG Ratio) is used to determine a company’s value relative to its expected growth. The PEG ratio can be calculated by dividing a company’s P/E by its annual earnings per share growth. A lower PEG ratio may indicate that a company is undervalued relative to its expected growth, and a general rule of thumb is that a PEG ratio below 1 is favorable. Continue reading...

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