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What is a Buyback?

When a company decides to use excess cash to purchase its own shares from the market, it is called a buyback or “share repurchase program.” There are only so many things a company can do with earnings in excess of their projections; among these are issuing a dividend, paying off debts, expanding, acquiring another company, or buying back shares of its own stock. Buybacks are also known as Stock Repurchase Agreements. There may be guidelines in state law or the company’s contracts or buy laws that determine what options they have and how many shares can be repurchased. Continue reading...

What does 'Outstanding Shares' mean?

Outstanding shares refers to all of the shares of company held in total, which includes all ownership - retail investors, institutional, the company’s officers, insiders, and so on. Outstanding shares are listed on the balance sheet under “Capital Stock,” and are used in calculating market capitalization, earnings per share, and other critical per share calculations. The amount of outstanding shares can fluctuate over time on the basis of corporate actions, such as share buybacks (reduces overall count) or new share issuance (increases overall count). Continue reading...

What is an Accelerated Share Repurchase?

An Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) is a method by which companies can buy back a significant amount of their outstanding shares with the help of an investment bank. By enlisting the help of an investment bank to accelerate a buy-back, a company can cleanly retire a large bulk of shares at once. These agreements have come into use in the last 10 years, and there is of course some variation in their composition. They fall under a category of buybacks known as structured buybacks. Continue reading...

What is a Reverse Stock Split?

A reverse stock split consolidates stocks at a certain ratio and reduces the number of shares outstanding while increasing the value of each share, as opposed to a regular stock split, which divides existing stocks into more shares which are worth less apiece. A normal stock split, which increases the number of shares an investor owns without increasing the total value of his or her interest in the company, has the benefit of increasing liquidity with the shares and possibly narrowing the bid/ask spread. A reverse stock split reduces the number of shares in circulation by effectively combining the existing shares at a certain ratio (such as, 2 shares now equals 1 share). Continue reading...

What is Dividend Per Share?

Dividend payments are allocated on a per-share basis. The company issuing them may announce the dividend in terms of the dollar value, but investors and analytical services will translate that into a percentage yield. When calculating the dividend from a company perspective, the total dividend amount that they are comfortable declaring is divided by the number of outstanding shares. The dividend per share is an important number, and the growth of this number is the dividend growth rate. Continue reading...

What Rights Does Owning Shares of Corporation Give You?

Shareholders of a company are part-owners of the company, and they are entitled to two things: voting for board members, and participation in earnings. Owning shares (even one single share!) of a publicly-traded corporation entitles you to the right to vote in elections for the Board of Directors, as well as the right to receive a proportional amount of all the profits of the company. These rights apply to common stock, which is generally the kind of stock traded on exchanges. Of course, you also have the right to sell your shares on the stock exchange at any time, in what is known academically as the Secondary Market. Continue reading...

What are Fully Diluted Shares?

What are Fully Diluted Shares?

Fully Diluted Shares are a calculation used to show how much the existing shares of common stock could potentially be diluted if all the convertible securities and employee stock options, were exercised. Fully Diluted Shares is a calculation used to show the potential number of shares that could hypothetically be called into existence instantaneously by the holders of convertible securities, warrants, employee stock options and so forth. Continue reading...

What is Diluted Earnings Per Share?

If all the convertible securities a company had issued were converted at once to common stock, the stock would be diluted; Diluted EPS reveals by how much. Companies will sometimes entice investors to buy bonds or preferred stock by giving them an option to convert them into shares of common stock. If a bond is converted, shareholders equity increases on the balance sheet and liabilities go down, since a debt liability is being retired. Continue reading...

What is Sharpe Ratio?

What is Sharpe Ratio?

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...

What is secondary market?

What is secondary market?

The secondary markets are where most trading goes on today, where the trades are made investor-to-investor using shares that were issued sometime before, and profits are made by investors and not the underlying company who issued the shares originally. The secondary market is a term used to describe the market created by those who are selling and buying shares which were issued some time ago in what's called the primary market. Continue reading...

Who is an activist investor?

Who is an activist investor?

Activist investors buy enough voting shares to influence the decisions of a company, sometimes for political or moral reasons, sometimes for purely financial reasons. Activist investors can act alone or in groups, but their goal is to acquire enough shares of a company’s equity to influence the company’s decisions. Activist shareholders may need as little as 10% of shares to sway corporate governance. Continue reading...

What Is Market Capitalization?

Market capitalization is a measure of a company’s size, in terms of the value of its total outstanding shares. Most readers have probably heard of large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks. These classifications are based on the market capitalization of a company, which is defined as the number of a company's outstanding shares multiplied by the price of one share. For example, if company ABC issued 1,000 shares and it is trading at $10/share, then the market capitalization of company ABC is 1,000 x 10 = $10,000. The largest company by market capitalization as of the time of this writing is Apple Inc. Its market capitalization exceeds $750 billion. Continue reading...

What Are the Basics of Mutual Funds?

What Are the Basics of Mutual Funds?

Mutual funds come in many varieties, but here are some basics to keep in mind to help you find your way. While most people have definitely heard the term mutual fund, many people do not understand how they work and how to use them. With over 10,000 mutual funds available in the marketplace today, the average person may have a hard time selecting appropriate mutual funds for his or her portfolio, determining a good asset mix, and understanding all of the charges associated with buying, owning, and selling mutual funds. Continue reading...

What is a Stock?

Buying a stock means taking an ownership position in a publicly traded company. Once you purchase a stock, you become a shareholder. A company has two ways of acquiring capital needed for growth: borrowing it (often in the form of issuing bonds), or selling shares of their company's equity, which is known as stock. In other words, when you buy shares of a company’s stock, you are buying a claim to the company's profit margin, because you are technically a part-owner in the company. Those who hold shares of Common Stock, the most typical form of stock, have voting rights in the election of the company’s board members. Continue reading...

What are the Expenses Associated with Buying and Owning Mutual Funds?

Several forms of fees and expenses may be charged to those who own, buy, or even sell mutual funds. With mutual funds, there two types of charges that might be paid by the investor: expenses and fees. Different types of share classes may have different types structures to their fees and expenses. Expenses are the operating costs of the fund company, essentially, and these show up in all mutual funds, usually labeled as expense ratios. The returns reported by the fund will be after expenses. Continue reading...

What is a Corporation?

What is a Corporation?

A corporation is a business entity which has filed articles of incorporation. Unlike a Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership, a corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owners. They are often referred to as C-corporations or C-corps, to distinguish them from S-corps, which are named after the subchapter which describes them in the law (though technically speaking, S-corps are corporations, too). Continue reading...

What is a price-weighted index?

What is a price-weighted index?

When creating an index, it must be decided what criteria will affect the value of the index, and in the case of a price-weighted index, the only consideration is the price of shares. A price-weighted index is created by adding up the individual price per share of the companies included in the index and dividing by the number of companies. Essentially what you've done is arrived at the average price per share of the companies included in the index. Continue reading...

What does 'Poison Pill' Mean?

A ‘poison pill’ is a maneuver by a company to make itself less attractive to a hostile takeover. It can be used in an effort to avoid the takeover altogether, or at least to make the takeover more painful for the bidder. One type of poison pill is a “flip-in,” which allows shareholders to buy shares of the company being targeted at a discount, which makes the takeover more expensive and more difficult. Continue reading...

What is Minority Interest?

Minority interest is a portion of a company’s stock that is not owned by the parent company, and refers to a type of ownership that generally cannot exert influence over a company’s business decisions. If an outside investor or another company has a less than 50% stake in a company via shares, then they are said to have a minority interest. From an accounting standpoint, only the dividends of a minority interest are counted on a company’s books. If they exert influence over the decision-making, then a percentage of the income may also need to be included. Continue reading...

What is Common Stock?

A common stock is the one you’re most familiar with - having a share of ownership in a company. Owning common stock in a company is a vote of confidence that an investor thinks the company will perform well, and grow. Owning common stock also entitles an investor to equity ownership in a corporation, voting rights, and shared participation in a company’s success through dividends and/or capital appreciation. Continue reading...