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What is Earnings Power?

Earnings power is mostly a concept that investors talk about rather than a quantifiable amount, but there is a Basic Earnings Power (BEP) ratio that some analysts use. BEP is the EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of a company divided by its total assets (net assets), which is also called Return on Total Assets (ROTA). Earnings power is similar to the concept of staying power when most investors use it; a company that has had strong earnings and growth, and that seems to have the skill and resources to keep earnings up well into the future, is said to have earnings power. 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 Return on Investment?

Return on Investment (ROI) is a ratio used to compare the net income of a project or investment to the amount invested. Return on Investment is a ratio that can be applied in many contexts, and this makes it a very popular way to compare the cost and benefits of many types of investments, for individuals or businesses. It is often interpreted as a percentage, to express the total gain over and above the amount invested as a percentage of the original amount. Continue reading...

What is Return on Assets?

Return on Assets, or ROA, is an efficiency ratio which quantifies how much profit a company can generate with the assets it has. Return on Assets is a ratio of the net income of a company divided by the amount of assets it has on the books. It can also be synonymous with Return on Investment (ROI), at least at a corporate level. Theoretically this gives analysts an idea of how much profit a company could generate by buying more equipment or other assets, or how efficiently they use the assets in which they have invested. Comparing companies in a specific industry to their peers with ratios such as this one can be illuminating. Continue reading...

What is Return on Net Assets?

Return on Net Assets is a calculation used to determine how well a company performs, relative to its resources. Return on Net Assets gives investors an idea of how well a company uses its resources to generate profits. Net assets includes not only fixed, tangible assets, but also the net working capital of a business. Working capital is defined as Current Assets minus the Current Liabilities of the business. The net profits for a period are divided by the net assets to arrive at the Return on Net Assets. Continue reading...

What are Net Tangible Assets?

Net Tangible Assets represent a company’s total amount of physical assets less its intangible assets, like intellectual property and equipment, and also less the fair market value of its liabilities. Tangible assets can include things such as cash, inventory, and accounts receivable, versus liabilities like accounts payable, long-term debt and loans. This measurement of a company's tangible assets is important because it allows a firm's management team to analyze its asset position without including obsolete or difficult to value intangible assets. A company's return on assets (ROA) can be more accurate when net tangible assets are used in the calculation. Continue reading...

What is an Investment Center?

An investment center is an almost autonomous division of a company whose purpose is to generate returns on invested money. Cost center and profit center are terms used for various kinds of business divisions when observed from a solely financial, instead of operational, standpoint. These categories help a business to identify and group its similar assets for evaluation. A cost center can be turned into a profit center if it manages to reduce costs enough to generate a profit. Continue reading...

What does Leverage Mean?

Leverage is the use of borrowed capital or debt to try and increase the potential return of an investment. An individual might leverage an investment account by going on margin to purchase additional securities, whereas the amount of debt used to finance a company’s assets is considered to be that company’s level of leverage. A firm with significantly more debt than equity is considered to be highly leveraged. Continue reading...

What is an Accelerative Endowment?

Cash-value life policies can be structured for certain endowment ages, and dividends from the company can accelerate the endowment age. Traditional life insurance policies, especially older ones always had an “endowment age,” which meant that if the insured reached that age, their death benefit would be paid out in one lump sum, to be used however the insured wanted. The endowment age used to be about 95 or 100 years old, but in the last few years most companies have moved the age of endowment back to about age 120, since people are living longer and longer, and it looked like they were going to be paying out too many contracts at endowment age instead of at time of death in the future. Continue reading...

What is the Risk/Return Trade-Off

There are investments which have the potential for very high returns, but they will always be that much riskier than the lower-yielding alternatives, and this is part of the risk/return trade-off. The relationship between risk and return is a positive linear relationship in most theoretical depictions, and if an investor seeks greater returns, he or she will have to take on greater risk. This is called the risk/return trade-off. For more stability and less risk, an investor will have to sacrifice some potential returns. Continue reading...

What is Asset Turnover?

Asset Turnover is a metric that investors and companies can use to determine how efficiently a business uses its assets to create revenue. Asset Turnover is a ratio of the value of a company’s sales or revenues relative to the value of its assets. It can be calculated simply by dividing sales or revenue by total assets. The higher an asset turnover ratio for a company, the better that company is performing - since it implies that the company is generating a high level of sales and revenue per unit of assets. Continue reading...

Do ROA and ROE Truly Reflect the True State of Corporate Health?

Both return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) measure performance, but sometimes they tell a very different story. This is why they’re best used together. Continue reading...

What Does Asset Mean?

Any item of economic value that a person or entity owns, benefits from, or has use of in generating income. Assets can generally be converted to cash, but economic circumstances often determine whether the asset can be sold at fair value. Some common examples of assets are cash, stocks, paid-for real estate, inventory, office equipment, jewelry, artwork, or other property of value that can be counted towards a person’s estate or a corporation’s balance sheet. Continue reading...

How Do I Allocate My Assets in Retirement?

How you allocate your assets in retirement depends on your goals and objectives for the assets, and the amount of growth you need to reach them. Your asset allocation also depends on your age and risk tolerance, all of which need to be factored-in each year when allocating your portfolio. The very first step in deciding an asset allocation is to determine your total level of liquid assets, what your desired level of growth and/or income is over long stretches of time, and your tolerance for risk/volatility. Most investors need more growth over time than they think, and often times it results in investors under-allocating to stocks or other risk assets. Continue reading...

What is asset allocation?

Asset allocation is theoretically the best way to control the return you experience, through diversification and rebalancing. Asset allocation theories provide you with mechanisms to diversify your money among various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, precious metals, etc. The benefit of asset allocation is twofold: first, nobody knows which asset class will perform better at any given time, and second, various asset classes are not entirely correlated or have a negative correlation, which provides a hedge. If one asset class appreciates significantly, the other might not, but, if the allocation is done correctly, this may be exactly what the investor was looking for. Continue reading...

What are Current Assets?

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...

What are Tangible Assets?

Tangible assets are the property of a company that are tangible and can be quickly liquidated. This includes current-period accounts receivable and money in checking, savings, and money-market accounts. Buildings, land, equipment and inventory are all tangible assets as well. Tangible assets are an important part of a company’s book value. For most valuations, intangible assets such as patents, other intellectual property, and goodwill are not included. Continue reading...

What is an asset mix?

An asset mix is the blend of major asset classes in a portfolio, which should be constructed based on the risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals of the investor. A common example of an asset mix is the 70/30 stock-bond mix, where 70% of the assets are invested in stocks and 30% in bonds. “Mix” is one way of describing the asset allocation of a portfolio, but it also describes the practice of diversifying among asset classes. The core asset classes that most people consider are stocks, bonds, cash equivalents, real estate, and commodities. Continue reading...

What is Total Return?

Total Return is the measure of all appreciation and interest as well as dividends and other distributions from an investment. Often computations of return will only consider appreciation, and it can be an easy mistake to make when looking at performance data at times. When a stock pays significant and consistent dividends, it needs to be factored in to the computation of total return. This adds a significant compounding effect to the investment’s overall performance, but if you just looked at the sheets that said it had a 4% return and a 2% dividend yield, you would be missing the most important part. Total return can be calculated for different kinds of investments or an entire portfolio, and is often done on an annual basis once all distributions have been made. Continue reading...

What is Return on Sales?

Also called net operating margin, return on sales can indicate how well a company makes use of its sales revenue. By dividing Operating Profit by Net Sales, we can arrive at the Return on Sales. Essentially what we’ve done is broken down profits on a per sales basis. We can see what percentage of sales ends up as profit, or, on the other side of the coin, how much profit is generated per unit of sales. This can be useful for a comparison of companies of different sizes, because it excludes their assets, capital structures, taxes, and interest. Continue reading...