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What is a Profit?

In its simplest form, a profit is the revenue or income gained from an entity after all expenses/overhead is accounted for. In business, a company deals with a number of expenses - operating expenses (the cost of doing business), fixed costs (overhead), salaries and benefits, legal fees, and so on. If a company’s revenues exceed all of these costs combined, the company is considered profitable. A profit is also known as a company’s bottom line, net earnings, or net profit. Continue reading...

What are Profitability Ratios?

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...

What is an Operating Profit?

Operating profit is a company’s profit from its business operations, and can be calculated by taking gross profits minus operating expenses. Operating profit is synonymous to operating income, and represents a company’s profitability from its core operations, which excludes earnings from other investments or interests and also does not factor the impact of taxes or interest. Continue reading...

What is Profit Margin?

Profit margin is a profitability ratio that measures, as a percentage, how much a company keeps per sale. Profit margin can be calculated by dividing net income by sales. A higher profit margin means a company keeps high percentage of each dollar sold as profit. For example, a 50% profit margin means that for every dollar earned, a company retains $0.50. It is often helpful for an analyst to look at how a company’s profit margins have changed over time, to measure whether it is becoming more efficient in the sales of goods. Continue reading...

What is Accounting Profit?

Profit is a term that is synonymous with earnings and net income, and it is basically what is left of revenues after expenses. All of these are basically computed the same way: gross revenue minus the cost of goods sold, business expenses, and taxes. Some variations on each of these will choose to look at the numbers before certain expenses, such as taxes. For example, “gross” accounting profit could be defined as revenue minus cost of goods sold, while “operating” profits would also subtract the costs of business expenses and operations, and “net” profits would also subtract taxes. Continue reading...

What is a Limit Order?

A Limit Order is a type of order to buy or sell a security, where the trader wants to set a specific price for the trade, or any price that’s better than the price set. From a buy and sell standpoint, a buy limit order would be designed to have the trade executed at the designated price, or any price lower than that. A sell order is just the opposite, where the trader hopes to execute the trade at a minimum set price. Limit orders typically have a period of time before they are canceled, if the designated price is not reached by a certain period. Continue reading...

What are the IRA Contribution Limits?

The IRS adjusts the contribution limits year to year to accommodate cost-of-living adjustments. There are limits to how much money you can deposit annually into your IRA, and these limits are adjusted for cost-of-living by the IRS. These limits change at least every few years, so you will want to check the current IRS tables on their website. There are full deduction limits, and there are also limitations that may make some or all of these contributions non-deductible. Continue reading...

What is a Stop Limit Order?

A Stop-Limit Order basically automates the preferences of an investor or trader, to reduce exposure to price uncertainty even after a trade ticket is entered, by stipulating a price at which the search for a bid/ask price is to begin, but limiting the range of prices at which an order can actually be entered or executed. A Stop-Limit Order has two parts: the Stop Price and the Limit Price. The stop price is like an amendment or contract rider on a security that is held which stipulates that if the price of the security crosses the Stop price, the search for an agreeable price begins. Continue reading...

What are the 401(k) Contribution Limits?

The contribution limits of 401(k)s are generally increased year-to-year and published by the IRS. As of 2016, an individual can contribute up to $18,000, or 100% of compensation, into their 401(k) account on a pre-tax basis. This is the employee’s contribution only, and does not include employer contributions. There is a $35,000 window that can hold employer contributions, which may contain matching contributions as well as a profit-sharing component for a total of $53,000 in employee/employer contributions per year. Continue reading...

What is Net Operating Profit After Tax?

Net Operating Profit After Tax (NOPAT) is a way to measure profits that excludes the impact of debt financing (via tax benefits and costs). The easiest way to think about Net Operating Profit After Tax is as a company’s profit if it were unleveraged, i.e., if it had no debt. There are costs associated with debt but also tax benefits, so there’s some give and take. The reason an analyst might use NOPAT is to gain a more accurate look at the operating efficiency of a leveraged companies, since it excludes the tax savings many companies get because of existing debt. Continue reading...

What is the commodity futures trading commission?

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an independent government agency that regulates the futures market. Futures are not considered securities, so the CFTC has jurisdiction over such exchanges while the SEC does not. The CFTC is the regulatory authority for the futures trade. This includes futures on currency, indexes, and stocks. Futures are not technically considered securities, because a security is defined as a contract that depends on the performance of a third party, while futures contracts only depend on two people. Any options that stem from futures are considered securities, however. Continue reading...

What is a Money Purchase/Profit Sharing Plan?

Money Purchase plans and Profit Sharing plans are two types of Defined Contribution plans that can be used at a business, together if desired. Both of these are Defined Contribution plans, which means that only the terms of the contributions to the plan are defined in the plan document. This is different than Defined Benefit plans, which specifically define the benefit due to an employee at retirement, which is generally a monthly pension payment. If an employer wants to use both a Money Purchase plan and a Profit Sharing plan, it is possible, but since both of them are Defined Contribution plans, they will be limited in aggregate to the allowable defined contribution limits for employer contributions. Continue reading...

What is Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement?

A Profit and Loss Statement, also referred to as an “income statement,” is a corporate statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and expenses incurred by a company during a specific time period, such as a quarter or a fiscal year. The main difference between a P&L statement and a balance sheet is that the P&L is designed to show changes in line items over the period analyzed, versus a balance sheet which simply shows a comprehensive snapshot of a company’s asset and liabilities on a set date. Continue reading...

What are the contribution limits for my Roth 401(k)?

Roth 401(k) contributions have the same limits as regular 401(k) contributions. The contribution limits for your Roth 401(k) are the same as the contribution limits for a traditional 401(k), which, in 2016, is $18,000, but these limits are adjusted upwards to account for inflation. If you’re over 50, you can add a catch-up contribution of $6,000 on top of the $18,000 for a total contribution of $24,000. Continue reading...

What is a bear call spread?

A bear call spread seeks to make money on the sale of call options but does not believe the underlying security will increase. A Bear Call Spread strategy is utilized when one believes that the price of the underlying stock will go down (but not significantly) in the near future. It entails selling a call short at a lower price than you buy a long call, which is done to realize a net credit at the outset. Continue reading...

What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

A limited liability company (LLC) establishes a separate entity from the sole proprietor or partners in a business which shields them from some of the liability associated with the business. An LLC is a business entity that creates a distinction between the business’s assets and liabilities and the assets and liabilities of the owner or partners. Sole proprietors and partnerships who do not file for this distinction leave themselves and all of their personal assets at risk, in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy. Continue reading...

What is the Profit Rate for the Head-and-Shoulders Bottom (Bullish) Pattern?

The bullish head and shoulders is the opposite image of a bearish head and shoulders. It has all the same parts—two shoulders, a neckline, and the head. Only instead of the shoulders and head being formed at high points for the stock, they are formed at low points. The investor psychology is the opposite of the bearish pattern. The stock is falling and hits a temporary low to form the left shoulder before a bounce occurs and forms the left side of the neck. The upward momentum is temporary and the next down leg takes the stock lower than the left shoulder and forms the head. Continue reading...

What is the Profit Rate for the Ascending Triangle (Bullish) Pattern?

The Ascending Triangle pattern forms when the price of a security tests a resistance level and creates a horizontal top line (1, 3, 5), with an upward­-sloping bottom line (2, 4) formed by a rising support level. The breakout can either be up or down, and it will determine whether the target price is higher or lower. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets, since the contraction (narrowing) of the market range signals that neither bulls nor bears are in control. When the price of a security consolidates around a certain level, it may indicate growing investor confidence for a significant uptrend. Continue reading...

What is Net Income?

Net income is the amount of earnings left over once expenses have been deducted from sales. In short, it is the net amount of profit or loss. It is calculated by taking total earnings in a period (such as a quarter), and deducting all elements of the cost of doing business (labor, depreciation, fixed expenses, overhead, etc…) Net income is ultimately a measure of a company’s profitability, and its calculation should be scrutinized closely to ensure all expenses are being accounted for accurately. Continue reading...

What is Contribution Margin?

Contribution margin measures how efficiently a company can produce a good relative to its variable cost. Goods with high contribution margins are the most profitable. The contribution margin can be helpful in deciding what goods can go on sale and for how much, and it allows management to decipher how to improve efficiency in production while keeping variable costs low. Additionally, if there is a bottleneck in the supply chain for an input that is used to produce two different products, management could use contribution margin to decide which product takes takes priority. Continue reading...