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Corporate BasicsBasicsCorporate StructureCorporate FundamentalsCorporate DebtRisksEconomicsCorporate AccountingDividendsEarnings

What is Ex-Date?

The Ex-Date is for a stock indicates the last date of the month where a dividend is payable. It is two days before the record date. If an investor buys a stock before the ex-date, they are entitled to the dividend that the stock is scheduled to pay that month. If the investor buys on or after the ex-date, then they will not receive the dividend payment for that month - the seller does. When checking Google Finance or a newspaper for a stock quote, the ex-date is typically marked with a lowercase “x.” Continue reading...

What is Dividend Capture?

Dividend capture is a strategy similar to dividend arbitrage that seeks to reap incremental gains somewhat reliably around the ex-dividend date of a stock. The investor seeks to benefit from the fact that stock prices don’t always go down as much as they should on the ex-dividend date, so by selling quickly at that point, the investor may still get a small gain from the dividend that will still be paid to him or her. Dividend capture is a strategy that plays on slight inefficiencies in prices around the ex-dividend date. Continue reading...

What is Dividend Selling?

If a person buys a stock that pays a dividend on or after the ex-dividend date, where we understand “ex” to mean “after,” it means that the buyer would be buying the shares for the amount that still has a dividend (or some of it) priced-in, but the seller, not the buyer, will get to have the dividend, and the share price will go down immediately after the dividend is paid. Stock prices will tend to go up in anticipation of a dividend, and more so after the declaration date, which might be anywhere from two months to two weeks before the actual dividend is paid, when the company announces when a dividend is to be paid and how much it will be. Continue reading...

What is Accounts Receivable for Accounting?

Also simply called Receivables, the Accounts Receivable line on a General Ledger will contain the amounts owed to the company which are due to be received in the near future. If a company offers financing for the items it sells, or it has regular payments coming in for things such as rent, leases, monthly subscription or membership fees, and so on, they will have substantial numbers in their accounts receivable. Continue reading...

What is the High-Low Index?

Often referred to in the media as “New Highs and New Lows,” the High-Low Index is an observation of the number of stocks which hit 52-week highs or lows in the current day. The High-Low Index is usually expressed as a simple moving average (10-day or longer) of the Record High Percent. A Simple Moving Average (SMA) is a technical indicator that can help traders determine whether a bull or bear trend will continue or reverse course. It typically adds up closing prices for a given time period, then divides that figure by the number of time periods used for the average. Simple moving averages are effective in their simplicity, but their efficacy is most closely tied to how they are used. By giving equal weight to each data point, SMAs can limit bias towards any specific point in a specific time period. Continue reading...

What is a Settlement Date?

The length of time after a trade is executed that the securities are due delivered and the payment is due paid varies for different types of transactions, but the date on which this occurs is the settlement date. Most exchange-traded corporate securities in the United States are required to be settled three days after the trade order is entered, which is called T+3. That date is the settlement date, and is the final date on which the transaction must be finalized by both parties involved. Continue reading...

What is an 'expiration date' in reference to option trading?

An ‘expiration date’ refers to the time when an option contract must either be acted upon by the owner (buying or selling the security in question) or left to expire. With derivatives such as options and futures, there will be an expiry, or expiration date in the contract, after which they expire worthlessly. Most options contracts will expire in 3, 6 or 9 months from when they are generated, and they all share the same expiration day of the month on their contracts in the United States, which is the 3rd Friday of the month at 4 PM. Continue reading...

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Bitcoins?

The IRS currently requires that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies be reported as personal property and capital assets. The IRS has published guidance that, yes, you do have to report gains/losses/income in the form of bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies.” Generally, the IRS treats bitcoin as property, instructing taxpayers to follow the existing IRS guidelines for personal property taxation. You can claim them as a capital asset, allowing you to treat them as stocks, essentially, with the ability to only pay long-term capital gains taxes on them if you hold them for a while. You can get paid in bitcoin by your employer, but employers must still withhold the usual amount of taxes, and you must report your bitcoin income the same way you would your regular income. Continue reading...

What is a Currency Transaction Report (CTR)?

CTRs (Currency Transaction Reports) are required filings to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to report all transactions and deposits in cash (in any currency) worth over $10,000. This includes multiple transactions that add up to over $10,000. This rule is closely tied to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules and reporting requirements which have become more stringent since the turn of the century. Continue reading...

How Does Ethereum Mining Work?

Ethereum mining is the process of solving blocks of encrypted blockchain data using a proof-of-work algorithm and occasionally being rewarded with Ether. Blockchain data is validated and added to the distributed ledger by computers on the network performing the task of “mining,” which is continually attempting to solve puzzles, basically, which each unlock a block of encrypted data containing information about transactions, and, on the Ethereum platform, information about distributed application functions and smart contracts. Once a block is unlocked, the data within is shared with the network and added to the distributed ledger. Continue reading...

What is an Interest Rate?

An interest rate is a simple financial principle that’s been around for centuries, whereby a borrower has to pay for money borrowed. The interest rate is agreed to between the lender and the borrower, and there may be provisions under which the rate could change over the course of  a loan. In simple terms, an interest rate is the cost of money. Continue reading...

What is a Rate Swap?

A rate swap is the exchange of cash flows on underlying principals which are not exchanged. It is an over-the-counter contract between two institutions to trade the cash flows on two comparable principal amounts, but not to exchange the actual principal amounts. Institutions might prefer this arrangement because they only have access to floating interest rates or are overweight in them and would prefer to have some fixed rate interest cash flow, or vice versa. These swaps might occur between banks on opposite sides of the world to take advantage of rates elsewhere or to simply diversify their risks. Continue reading...

What is Accrual Rate?

This term might apply to bonds or pensions and other financial instruments which build up interest value which is paid out at a later time. Accrual Rate is the rate at which a nominal interest rate is credited to an account that will be paid out at a later time. A bond sold in the secondary market, for instance, will take the accrual rate into account if the sale takes place in between coupon payments. Continue reading...

What is a Run Rate?

Run rate is a term that can be applied to a certain type of accounting and management estimation or to the depletion of equity options. The first kind is when a current metric (such as sales revenue for a quarter) is assumed to extend out to the end of the year or accounting period for estimation or valuation purposes. The second kind uses the average dilution from the past three years, generally, to show the effect that convertible securities are having on the share price of a company. Continue reading...

What are Bond Ratings?

The possibility of a company or municipal government defaulting on their bond obligations, usually by going bankrupt, is a real one. For this reason, all bonds are rated according to the financial stability of the issuer. A look at the history of corporate and municipal debt will illuminate the fact that the possibility of the issuer being unable to pay its obligations to bondholders is a very real one. There is an established system of bond ratings that gives a rough estimate of the bond's reliability. Continue reading...

What are Risk-Weighted Assets?

International banking regulations set forth in the Basel Accords require that institutions maintain a certain amount of capital relative to the amount of risk-weighted assets (RWA) they have. Conservative investments such a treasury notes have a risk weighting of zero, while corporate bonds have a weighting of .20, and so forth. The exact weighting system is laid out in Basel agreements. The system is designed to reveal a bank’s level of exposure to potential losses, and the capital requirements are there to balance out the risks and to protect the global economy from a meltdown in the financial system. Continue reading...

What is a market-on-close order?

A market-on-close order is used to execute a trade at the last possible moment before the market closes for the day. This may be an order to sell or buy. Market-on-close orders are instructions to execute a trade just before the market closes for the day, at the best price available at the time. The exchange will actually settle all of the market-on-close orders at the same price. Why would an investor enter this kind of trade order? Continue reading...

What is the Discount Rate?

The Discount Rate can actually have multiple meanings, but the most prevalent one is in regards to the minimum interest rate the Federal Reserve will charge for lending to commercial banks. The Federal Reserve sets the discount rate in an effort to discourage or encourage commercial banks to borrow, depending on the economic conditions. The discount rate also refers to the rate used to calculate the present value of future cash flows, as part of Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis. Continue reading...

What is the Interbank Rate?

The interbank rate is the average lending rate used between banks of comparable size and creditworthiness when they borrow money from each other. The Federal Funds Rate is the benchmark in America, while LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate) is more prevalent elsewhere. These are indexes which are used to determine rates and terms for other financial instruments and swaps. The Prime Rate, or the rate banks will used for their most credit-worthy customers, is tied to the interbank rate but is slightly higher of course. In America the Federal Funds Rate is so called because the Central bank participates in the lending. This is sometimes called the overnight rate when it refers to money that is lent between banks overnight. Continue reading...

What is Bad Credit?

Bad credit implies that an individual or business has a low credit score or rating. Credit histories are reported and kept in publicly accessible databases. FICO (Fair Isaac & Company) is a credit rating institution that gives individuals a credit rating score based on reported credit histories. Scores range from 300-850, generally, but they also issue ratings based on auto loans and credit cards, which are on a scale from 250-900. Continue reading...