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What is an Earnings Surprise?

Earnings surprises occur when the reported quarterly or annual earnings of a company are different than they were projected to be. This could be a good surprise or a bad surprise. The price of a stock will change quickly with this new information. Positive or negative earnings surprises occur when the earnings estimates for a company in a given quarter or year turn out to be better or worse than expected. Positive surprises will naturally cause the stock price to jump up, while negative surprises will cause the price to fall. Continue reading...

What are Earnings Estimates?

Earnings estimates are generally consolidated estimates which are averages of the estimates given by a number of market analysts. Companies give their own guidance on earnings estimations, and they will have their feet held to the fire, so to speak, if they are consistently off with their guidance, but most people will, rightly, give more weight to the consolidated estimates of outside experts. Earnings estimates on a publicly traded company will come from an array of industry analysts, and are normally consolidated into a single average estimate or range. The range might or average will certainly affect the trading prices of the stock, but not as much as adjustments to estimates will. Continue reading...

What is Earnings Season?

Earnings season describes not one, but four times in a year, when corporations release their quarterly earnings reports. Investors look forward to this time because they are able to get an update about how the year is going, compared to projections. After each fiscal quarter ends, there are a few weeks in which companies file their quarterly reports with the SEC and announce their current earnings and sales numbers. Each of these periods is known as earnings season. 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 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 does Earnings mean?

Earnings is another word for the net income of a company. It is one of the most important numbers in corporate finance. If a company cannot show earnings, and growth in earnings, investors aren’t going to stick around. Earnings are normally computed as revenue minus taxes and expenses. It is synonymous with net income. Earnings is a positive cash outlay for the year, which means the company is not operating at a deficit. Continue reading...

What are Subprime Loans?

Subprime loans are loans made by institutions to individuals who do not meet the industry standards for a desirable loan client. Lenders such as banks and mortgage companies are able to shift much of the risk of loans they make by selling the debt off to investors and investment banks in the form of collateralized mortgage obligations and other forms of securitized debt. This paves the way for lenders to adopt more liberal guidelines around who can receive a loan for their home purchase and so forth. A thorough banker who is preserving the financial stability of his employing institution will perform due diligence to prove that a client can meet the repayment schedule for the loan by showing adequate cash flow and credit history. Continue reading...

What was the Subprime Meltdown?

A high volume of loans issued to those who were unable to repay them, and a high volume of derivative securities traded on top of these loans, contributed to the subprime meltdown of 2007-2009. A large amount of collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and other collateralized debt were owned by large institutions and investors as alternative high yield investments prior to the crash of 2007-2009. 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 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 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 the Negative Volume Index?

The Negative Volume Index (NVI) is a technical indicator that tracks decreases in trade volume for an index or security, as well as price changes on those days. Paul Dysart developed the original version of this indicator for market indexes, and it garnered renewed attention when it was reworked in the 1970s via Norman Fosback in his book Stock Market Logic. The price changes in a security or the percentage change in an index are only added to or subtracted from the Negative Volume Index on days when the trading volume is lower than the day before. By watching market movement on days with lower trading volume, investors can identify where institutions and fund managers are moving their money. If trading volume is down and the market continues to do well, it means that there is a strong bullish primary trend, and that trading volume is not artificially pushing prices around. Continue reading...

What is an Earnings Recast?

An earnings recast is a revision of previous earnings reports, in which a company has made different choices with their accounting methodology that they feel are a better representation of their accounts. A common time to do this is after a company has divested itself of a subsidiary, when it will publish recast financial statements from the preceding years that show the company’s performance without the subsidiary being included. Continue reading...

What is Earnings Momentum?

Earnings momentum is an indicator that is computed by not just looking at the earnings performance and estimations of a company, but looking at the positive or negative direction of earnings and the acceleration in that direction. Momentum in securities is much like momentum in physics. Where there is momentum, it is hard to slow things down and charge direction. Instead of looking only at the growth of earnings, which could be the slope of the inclining line, momentum also looks for increases in change to the growth rate, making earnings growth more parabolic or exponential. Continue reading...

What is Retained Earnings?

A company may reinvest earnings instead of paying out dividends. These earnings do not necessarily sit in a retained earnings account, but are used to improve the business and make it more profitable. This could even include paying off debt. Retained earnings is found in the Shareholder’s Equity portion of a company’s balance sheet. Despite the fact that earnings have not been dispensed to them in the form of dividends or share buybacks, shareholders will see the value of their stock appreciate when earnings are retained and used to grow the business. Continue reading...

What is an Earnings Call?

An earnings call is when a company opens up a teleconference line or webcast that the public can join to hear the company management talk about how the company performed recently, their plans for the future, and the market forces that exist in the current environment. Most publicly traded companies today have adopted this practice. Earnings calls may take place once a year or during earnings seasons after the quarterly earnings have been announced in a press release. Companies often have one executive whose job is to interface with the shareholders in such settings, but various executives are often given a chance to present some thoughts. Continue reading...

What is the Price/Earnings to Growth Ratio (PEG Ratio)?

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...

What is a Capital Account?

The Capital Account in a company is where paid-in capital, retained earnings, and treasury stock is accounted for. In macroeconomics, the Capital Account shows the national net change in ownership of assets. In accounting and bookkeeping, the Capital Account tracks the amount of Capital on hand at a company, which is the sum of the paid-in capital, the retained earnings, and the value of the treasury stock. Paid-in capital is the money collected from investors during an IPO or other stock issue. 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 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...

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