Accretive: The growth by gradual addition or increase.

Source: Investopedia

The Affordable Care Act (ACA): An informal term for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010—legislation promoted by President Barack Obama that changed how health insurance functions in the U.S. The ACA expanded eligibility of Medicaid and required most Americans to purchase health insurance. It also set up exchanges in several states so insurers could compete to provide the most cost-effective options for consumers.

Source: The Free Dictionary

Alpha: Alpha is a measurement of investment performance on a risk-adjusted basis. Alpha takes the volatility or price risk of an investment and compares its risk-adjusted performance to a benchmark index. The excess return of the fund relative to the return of the benchmark index is a fund’s alpha.

Source: Investopedia, Wikipedia

Annuity: An annuity is a contract between a consumer and an insurance company that requires the insurer to make payments to the consumer, either immediately or in the future. The consumer buys an annuity by making either a single payment or a series of payments. Similarly, the payout may come either as one lump-sum payment or as a series of payments over time.

Source: and Investopedia

Asset-Backed Securities (ABS): financial securities that are backed by a specific pool of underlying assets. Typically these pools are a group of assets, such as mortgage loans, car loans or bank loans, that are unable to be securitized individually. Asset-backed securities are an alternative to investing in corporate debt.

(Sources: Investopedia, Wikipedia)

Athens Stock Exchange: The Athens Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in Athens, Greece. It began trading in 1876 and is a subsidiary of Hellenic Exchanges, S.A., with shares listed in ATHEX.

Source: Wikipedia



Beggar-Thy-Neighbor Policy: In economic terms, this refers to the trading policy that employs currency devaluations and other protective barriers in an effort to mitigate a country’s economic hardship at the expense of other countries.

Source: Investopedia

Beige Book: The informal, commonly used name for the ongoing Fed reports titled, The Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, by Federal Reserve District. Published eight times a year just before each Federal Open Market Committee meeting on interest rates, this report is used to inform members of the committee on changes in the economy since the last meeting.

How the Beige Book is compiled: Each of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district. Anecdotal information comes in such forms as reports from bank and branch directors, interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts and other sources. The information summarized in the Beige Book is organized by district and sector.

Significance of the Beige Book for the Federal Open Market Committee: The primary goal of FOMC meetings is to establish a target Federal Funds rate. FOMC members also receive economic forecasts (the Green Book) and an analysis of monetary policy alternatives (the Blue Book), but the Beige Book is the only of these reports made available to the public. Often eagerly awaited by investors and economists, the Beige Book has a considerable impact on the potential actions the FOMC may take at its next meeting. The Beige Book is made public approximately two weeks before the FOMC meets.

Sources: Investopedia, Federal Reserve Board, Investing Answers

Bellwether: An event or indicator that shows the possible presence of a trend in overall market or sector direction. The performance of certain companies/stocks and bonds are considered by analysts to indicate the condition of the economy and financial markets because their performance is well-correlated with a trend. Bellwether companies are usually the market leaders in their respective sectors. The term is a combination of “bell” and “wether.” Shepherds would often hang bells around the necks of the wether (male sheep) that led the flock, in order to find them.

Source: Investor Glossary, Investopedia

Benchmark: the standard to which the performance of a stock, bond or other investment can be referenced.

Source: Investopedia, Business Dictionary

Black Monday: The day the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22 percent, marking the start of a global stock market decline. Occurring on October 19, 1987, Black Monday was one of the most dramatic days in financial history. By the end of that month, most of the major exchanges had declined by 20 percent.

The cause of the Black Monday has not been attributed to any single news event. While there are many theories offering various explanations, most agree that mass panic caused the crash to escalate. Since 1987, a number of protective mechanisms have been established to prevent panic selling.

Source: Investopedia

Blue-Chip Stocks: Refers to the stock of a well-established and financially sound company that has been in operation for many years. Having a market capitalization in the billions, a blue-chip stock is typically a market leader or top company in its sector. Most blue-chip stocks have paid stable or rising dividends over the years. It is believed that blue-chip stock is a reference to poker, where blue chips are the most expensive.

Source: Investopedia

Brexit: Brexit is an abbreviation of “British exit” that mirrors the term “Grexit.” It refers to the possibility that Britain will withdraw from the European Union. The country will hold an in-out referendum on its EU membership on June 23, 2016.

Sources: Investopedia, Wikipedia

BRICS: An acronym first used in 2003 to describe the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. According to Forbes Magazine, the general consensus is that the term was first used in a Goldman Sachs report which speculated that by 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers.

In March 2012, South Africa was added to the acronym, thus becoming “BRICS.” At that time, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met in India to discuss the formation of a development bank to pool resources. At that point, the BRIC countries were responsible for about 18 percent of the world’s GDP and 40 percent of the world’s population.


Briefcase Indicator: During Alan Greenspan’s tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman, CNBC started to analyze the thickness of Greenspan’s briefcase he carried into the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. If the briefcase was thin, the media guessed that there would not be a change in policy. If the briefcase was thick, the conjecture was that a change in monetary policy was going to be announced. While this theory did not always prove to be accurate, it does demonstrate the intense interest in any Fed action.

Source: Investopedia, CNBC

Bullish: Bull markets are characterized by rising market prices. To be bullish on growth is to be optimistic of continued growth and considering a particular investment as potentially profitable.

Source: Investopedia,

Bund: a bond issued by the German government, or the German word for “bond.”

Source: Investopedia

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):  A division of the U.S. Department of Commerce responsible for economic data analysis and reporting used in determining economic trends and cycles (e.g.; the gross domestic product of the U.S.). BEA reports are used to make policy decisions by government and investment decisions in the private sector.

Source: Investopedia, Wikipedia

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): A government agency within the U.S. Department of Labor that researches and releases data regarding consumer spending, employment, inflation, productivity, wages and other economic indicators. These reports often considerably impact market sentiment.

Source: Investopedia



The Continent: An abbreviated description often used by the United Kingdom, Icelanders and other European island nations, such as Cyprus and Malta, to describe the “mainland” continent of Europe. It is often disputed among Europeans what is considered the eastern boundary of the Continent.

Source: Wikipedia

Cap Ex: Capital Expenditures are funds used by a company to purchase or upgrade physical assets such as property or equipment necessary for the company to run.

Sources: Investopedia, Wikipedia

Cash Flow: The amount of dollars received from an investment during a specified period of time. 

Sources: Ferguson Wellman Glossary of Investment Terms, Business Dictionary

CFA: Acronym for Chartered Financial Analyst. An individual who has passed tests in economics, accounting, security analysis and money management, administered by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of the Association for Investment Management and Research. CFAs are also expected to have at least three years of investments-related experience and meet certain standards of professional conduct. CFAs have an extensive economic and investing background and are competent at a high level of analysis. Individuals or corporations utilize their services as security analysts, portfolio managers or investment advisors.

Source:, CFA Institute

Chinese A-Share: Mainland China’s two stock exchanges, in Shenzhen and Shanghai, both have A- and B-share markets. The major difference is that the A-shares are denominated in the renminbi currency and the B-shares are denominated in foreign currency (Hong Kong dollars in Shenzhen and U.S. dollars in Shanghai).

Source: Investopedia, Wikipedia

The Cloud: A model for delivering information technology services in which resources are retrieved from the internet through web-based tools and applications, rather than a direct connection to a server. These services are offered from data centers all over the world, which are collectively referred to as the “cloud.”

Sources: Investopedia, Tech,

Commerce Department: The department was originally created as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903 and was renamed the Department of Commerce in 1913 when its bureaus and agencies specializing in labor were transferred to the new Department of Labor. Its mission today is to “promote job creation and improved living standards for all Americans by creating an infrastructure that promotes economic growth, technological competitiveness and sustainable development.” The department is tasked with gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision-making, issuing patents and trademarks and helping set industrial standards.

Sources: Investopedia, Wikipedia

Consumer Comfort: Also known as consumer confidence, it is an economic indicator that measures the optimism felt by consumers regarding the overall state of the economy and their personal financial state.

Source: Wikipedia, Business Dictionary

Consumer Discretionary Sector: One of 10 economic sectors that comprises the S&P 500 Index and serves as a gauge for the general health and performance of the underlying industries. The consumer discretionary sector includes the following industries: advertising, autos and auto parts, broadcasting and cable, general merchandise, hotels, movies and entertainment, publishing and printers, restaurants and retail.

Sources: Ferguson Wellman Glossary of Investment Terms, Investopedia

Consumer Staples: Products that are essential to consumers. Examples include household goods, food, beverages and tobacco. Because consumers view these products as essential, they purchase them regardless of the state of the economy.  As a result, they are considered a consistent investment platform for investors.

Sources: Investopedia and Investing Answer

Consumer Price Index (CPI): measures prices of a fixed basket of goods bought by a typical consumer. It is widely used as a cost-of-living benchmark to adjust Social Security payments and other payment schedules, and to measure and gauge inflation. Economists also look at the CPI excluding volatile food and energy components that they call the “core” CPI.

Source: Ferguson Wellman Glossary of Investment Terms

Corporate Bond: a debt instrument issued by a corporation to raise money effectively in order to expand its business. The term “corporate bonds” tend to refer to longer-term debt with a maturity date falling at least one year after the issue date. “Commercial paper” typically refers to debt with a short maturity.

Source: Wikipedia

Correlation: Correlation is the statistical measure of how two securities move in relation to one another.

Source: Investopedia

Cyclical Sector: A sector that is sensitive to economic fluctuations and tends to exhibit more radical swings, correlated with the overall business cycle, such that revenues are generally higher in periods of economic prosperity and expansion, lower in periods of economic downturn and contraction. There are nine sectors considered cyclical: basic materials, capital goods, communications, consumer cyclical, energy, financial, health care, technology and transportation.

Sources: Investopedia,, Mindxpansion



Dark Pools: Large trades by financial institutions that are offered away from public exchanges so that trades are anonymous. Benefits of a dark pool include: anonymous trading with minimal market impact, price improvement and opacity, lower transaction costs, less information “leakage” and access to as much liquidity as possible through technology. Some traders that use an investment strategy based on liquidity feel that dark pools should be publicized in order to ensure trading is “fair” for all parties involved.

Source: Wikipedia, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Investopedia

Decouple: A situation in financial markets where the return on two asset classes deviate from their expected or normal patterns of correlation. Decoupling occurs when two different asset classes that usually rise and fall in unison begin to move in opposite directions, such as one increasing in value and the other decreasing in value.

Source: Investopedia, Wikipedia

Deposit Facility: Within the Eurosystem, a system for overnight deposits at a national central bank. Deposits of this type are repaid at a pre-specified interest rate. With the new rates announced by the ECB, banks will pay the ECB 10 basis points to hold their money.

Source: European Central Bank Online Glossary

Display Advertising: Any print advertisement other than a classified advertisement. Specifically, in the context of this article, advertisements appearing on web pages in many forms, including web banners. 


Dovish: A term used to describe an economic outlook that views inflation and its negative effects as having a minimal impact on the economy.

Sources: Investopedia, Business Dictionary

Durable Goods Orders: Durable goods are products consumers purchase that last longer than a one-time use. Durable goods orders are economic indicators released by the Bureau of Census that reflects new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for delivery of factory hard goods in the future. Orders placed in current months may provide work in factories for many months to come as they work to fill the orders.

Source: Investopedia



European Stability Mechanism (ESM): A proposed international organization which, if established, will provide financial assistance to members of the Eurozone that are facing financial difficulties. The ESM is intended to replace existing temporary funding programs that are currently in place.

Source: Wikipedia

Earnings Season: Four times in a year when a majority of public companies release financial information. Earnings season typically lasts about a month and starts the second week of January, April, July and October. Often communicated by press releases, conference calls and filings with the SEC—companies share earnings-per-share, financial statements and commentary from management.

Earnings season can be a time when markets experience of more volatility and trading volume. Much of this reaction is based centers on the difference between what companies were expected to report and what they actually reported.

Source: InvestingAnswers

ETF: An ETF is an abbreviation for exchange-traded fund, which is an investment fund traded on stock exchanges such as the NASDAQ-100, S&P 500, Dow Jones, etc. ETFs hold assets such as stocks, commodities or bonds and they trade close to its net asset value over the course of the trading day. As one investor put it, ETFs don’t try to outperform their corresponding index. Rather, they want to replicate its performance. ETFs have been in existence since the 1980s but have risen in popularity in the last 10 years or so.

Source: and Investopedia

European Central Bank (ECB): Formed in Germany in 1998, the central bank responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency. The ECB works with the national banks of the 27 EU members to formulate monetary policy that helps maintain price stability in the EU.

Source: Investopedia, Wikipedia

European Debt Crisis: A period of time in which several countries in Europe faced the collapse of financial institutions, high government debt and rising bond yield spreads in government securities. It first began with the collapse of Iceland’s banking system in 2008 and ultimately spread to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, among other countries. The crisis made it difficult for many countries to repay their government debt without the assistance of a third party organization such as the European Central Bank. The crisis eventually led European nations to create and implement several financial support measures such as the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism.

Sources: Wikipedia, Investopedia, Business Dictionary

Eurozone Purchasing Managers Index: The Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) assesses business conditions in the manufacturing sector. This index is an indicator that is followed closely because the manufacturing sector represents nearly a quarter of total Eurozone GDP. It is believed to be a good reflection of business conditions and the well-being of the economy. Values above 50 signal an expected increase of business activity and values below 50 indicate an expected deterioration.

Source: FX Words



Full Employment: Full employment is when all available labor resources are in use in the most economically efficient way. It combines the highest numbers of skilled and unskilled labor that can be employed at any time. Any remaining unemployment would be comprised of workers and companies in transition.

Source: Investopedia

Federal Funds Rate: The interest rate at which a depository institution lends immediately available funds (balances at the Federal Reserve) to another depository institution overnight. Note: The federal funds rate is often confused with the discount rate, which is the interest rate the Federal Reserve charges on loans directly from the Federal Reserve Bank. But they are not the same.

Source: Investopedia, Investing Answers

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC): The branch under the Federal Reserve system that determines interest rates as well as growth or expansion of the money supply in the U.S. Members include seven board of governors and five reserve bank presidents. They typically meet eight times a year.

Source: Investopedia, Wikipedia

Federal Reserve Board: The governing body of the Federal Reserve is made up of seven individuals. The governing board members are appointed by the President of the United States and must be confirmed by the Senate. A full term length is 14 years, and one term begins every two years. A member who serves a full term may not be reappointed but a member who completes an unexpired portion of a term may be reappointed.

Sources: Investopedia, Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve Chairman: The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is appointed by the president and approved by the U.S. Senate. The board is the governing body of the Federal Reserve System, which sets policy for discount rates, reserve requirements and other key economic decisions.

Source: Investopedia

Fiat Currency: legal tender that is not backed by a physical commodity such as gold or silver. The relationship between supply and demand determines the value of fiat currency. Since fiat currency is not linked to a physical commodity, it can become worthless due to inflation. If faith is lost in a nation’s paper currency, then the money ceases to hold value.


Financial Contagion: A term that refers to the spread of market disturbances from one country to another. This can be observed by following movements in stock prices, bond spreads, currency exchange rates and capital flows.

(Source: Wikipedia, Investopedia)

Fiscal Cliff: A term used by economists regarding the implications of the expiration of income-tax cuts first enacted under President George W. Bush, the end of payroll-tax reductions and automatic decreases in government expenditures. There is concern that the combined effect of spending cuts and tax increases will be a clip of 3 percentage points from growth if allowed by Congress and the President to occur in 2013.

Source: Wikipedia

Fitch Ratings: a credit ratings agency located in New York and London. One of the top agencies along with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

Source: Investopedia

Flash Crash: Quick drop-and-recover in securities prices that occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m. EST on May 6, 2010. Initial reports indicating that the crash was caused by a mistyped order proved to be erroneous. The causes of the flash crash remain unknown. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have investigated the incident and released a report that provided several working hypotheses, but failed to identify a single cause for the incident.

Source: Investopedia

Forward Earnings: The forecasted earnings projected for a company that is made by analysts or by the company itself.

Source: Investopedia, Business Dictionary



Grand Bargain: A term used to describe a possible deal between the administration and Congress to forestall or mitigate the impending fiscal cliff and legislate permanent changes to the tax code while also addressing entitlement spending.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

“Great Recession”:  A catch phrase describing the recession that began on December 2007, giving reference to the Great Depression of the 1930s. This “Great Recession” lasted longer and was more severe than prior ones; however, the severity of economic decline has not eclipsed the levels reached by the Great Depression.  Prior recessions lasted for about 16 months, whereas the “Great Recession” was over 20 months. This is still much shorter than the length of the Great Depression. Also, less than 1 percent of banks failed during the “Great Recession” whereas during the Great Depression, close to 50 percent of all U.S. banks collapsed.

Source: Investopedia

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): The monetary value of all finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. It includes private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports that occur in the country

Source: Investopedia



Hawkish: A term used to describe an economic outlook that views inflation as a significant concern that warrants decisive action of the Fed or other central banking authority, such as raising interest rates. See also dovish.

Sources: Investopedia, Business Dictionary

Hedge Fund: An aggressively managed portfolio of investments that uses advanced investment strategies such as leveraged, long, short and derivative positions in both domestic and international markets with the goal of generating high returns (either in an absolute sense or over a specified market benchmark). Legally, hedge funds are most often set up as private investment partnerships that are open to a limited number of investors and require a very large initial minimum investment. Investments in hedge funds are illiquid as they often require investors keep their money in the fund for at least one year.

Source: Investopedia, finbox

High-Frequency Trading (HFT): Also known as algo or algorithmic trading, HFT is computerized trading at high volumes and speed using powerful computers and complex algorithms, often of a proprietary nature. HFT can be split into two types: execution and opportunistic. Execution trading is used to find the best possible price for an order and may involve splitting the order into smaller pieces and executing at different times. Opportunistic trading uses algorithms to find small trading opportunities in the market based on conditions rather than completing a specific trade.

Sources: Investopedia,

High-Yield Bond: A bond that has a rating of BB or lower and that typically pays a higher yield to compensate for its higher risk. Also known as a "junk bond".

Source: Ferguson Wellman Glossary of Investment Terms

High-yield Bond Fund: A mutual fund that invests in low rated corporate bonds, also called junk bonds. High-yield bonds have lower credit ratings than investment grade bonds but have higher yields due to the increased risk. High-yield bonds are also referred to as junk bonds.

Source:, Investopedia

Household Employment Survey (HES): An indicator of how the economy was able to create jobs, often used by analysts in conjunction with the payroll survey. HES estimates the nation's employment based on responses from interviews with about 60,000 households. The Bureau of Labor Statistics then inflates the data by the most recent estimates of the population. Unlike the payroll survey, the raw household survey data is not revised, but the population estimates used to inflate them are occasionally updated to incorporate new information from censuses and estimates on immigration.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco



Investment-Grade Bond: Investment-grade refers to bonds with a Moody’s rating of Baa or higher, Standard & Poor's rating of BBB or higher … or both. Bonds with lower ratings are considered speculative grade. Many investors have policies that require them to limit their bond investments to investment-grade issues

Source: The Street

Inflation: The overall upward price movement of goods and services in the economy, usually measured by the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index.

Source: Investopedia

Inversion Merger: A strategy used by companies with overseas income to reduce their tax burden. A company may be re-incorporated overseas in a country with lower tax rates so as to bypass paying higher taxes on foreign generated income. As long as corporate inversion does not involve misrepresenting tax information or illegal activities to hide profits, it is not considered tax evasion.

Source: Investopedia

Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM): The first and largest supply management association in the world. Founded in 1915, its mission is to lead the supply management profession through its standards of excellence, research, promotional activities and education. The Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® is published monthly by the association.


Investment-Grade Bond: Investment-grade refers to bonds with a Moody’s rating of Baa or higher, Standard & Poor’s rating of BBB or higher … or both. Bonds with lower ratings are considered speculative grade. Many investors have policies that require them to limit their bond investments to investment-grade issues.

Source: The Street

iCloud: a cloud storage service offered by Apple, Inc. It launched in 2011 and allows users to store their data on remote computer servers that they can access from multiple locations and devices. 

Sources: Apple, Wikipedia

iPhone 5: As of September 2012, iPhone 5 is the latest model and major upgrade to the iPhone line. The screen is half an inch larger and the device is longer, slimmer and lighter. It supports LTE 4G cellular networks and employs a faster processor and graphics. Other improvements were made to the camera, earbuds and dock connector.

Source: PC Magazine



Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium: The Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium is an annual summit sponsored by The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The symposium draws prominent central bankers, finance ministers, academics and leading financial market players from around the world and focuses on important economic issues facing the U.S. and the world. The event started in 1978 and has been held in Jackson Hole since 1981. The symposium events are closely monitored by market participants as comments made by the attendees have the potential to affect global stock and currency markets around the world. Media partners are present at the symposium, but press presence is limited so as to provide transparency, but not enough to influence discussion or proceedings. 

Source: Investopedia, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Joint Economic Committee (JEC): The Joint Economic Committee is one of four joint standing congressional committees and consists of 10 members each from both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The committee is split evenly among partisan lines, with 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The committee was created by The Employment Act of 1946 and the main purpose of the committee is to study matters pertaining to the economy. The JEC then provides their findings to the Senate and House and advises members of Congress.

Source: Joint Economic Committee website, Wikipedia

Junk Bonds: Nickname for high-yield bonds with a Standard & Poor’s rating of ‘BB’ or lower, or a Moody’s rating of ‘Ba’ or lower. Junk bonds have a higher default risk when compared to investment-grade bonds.

Source: Investopedia





LTE Technology: Acronym for Long-Term Evolution telecommunications, which is the standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for data terminals and mobile devices. It was first made publically available in Stockholm in 2009, LTE is typically marketed as 4G technology though this description is not completely accurate.

Source: Wikipedia

Labor Participation Rate: This is a measure of the active segment of the economy’s labor force. This number takes in account the amount of people working or those actively looking for employment. The labor participation rate decreases when discouraged unemployed people stop looking for work, which often happens during a recession.

Source: Investopedia, Ferguson Wellman, Wikipedia

Large Cap: Large Cap is an abbreviation for the term "large market capitalization" and refers to the companies with a market capitalization value of more than $10 billion. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying the number of a company's shares outstanding by its stock price per share. Large cap companies tend to be more established with less risk than small or mid-cap stocks.

Sources: Investopedia, Ferguson Wellman



Market Correction: Usually a negative movement of 10% or more in a stock, bond, commodity or index to amend an overvaluation, interrupting an uptrend in the market or an asset. Generally a temporary price decline of a shorter duration than a bear market or recession, although it can herald both.

Source: Investopedia

Main Street: A common term that refers to the interests of the average American and oftentimes refers to small business owners. “Main Street” is used in contrast of “Wall Street” which often symbolizes the interests of large national corporations.

Source: Wikipedia

Margin: Borrowed money that is used to purchase securities. This practice is referred to as "buying on margin."

Sources: Business Dictionary, Investopedia

Marginal Lending Facility: Within the Eurosytem, a national central bank credit facility that is available to any party transacting with the central bank to receive overnight credit at a pre-specified interest rate using eligible collateral. With the new rates announced by the ECB, banks will pay a lower rate when they borrow money from the ECB.

Source: European Central Bank Online Glossary

Mature Market: A market that has reached a state of equilibrium marked by the absence of significant growth or innovation.


Mcf: An abbreviation denoting a thousand cubic feet of natural gas. It’s a unit of measurement for natural gas wells; for example, one that produces 600 Mcf of gas per day operates with a daily production rate of 600,000. A single Mcf is equal to approximately 1,000,000 British thermal units (Btu) of energy. The "M" in Mcf refers to one thousand, as in the ancient Roman letter M. One million cubic feet is instead denoted as MMcf.

Source: Investopedia

Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS): A security backed by a mortgage or group of mortgages that represents a claim to the cash flow from the mortgage or group of mortgages, essentially a loan to a home buyer or business from a shareholder. Typically, the mortgage payments are passed through the shareholders on the way to repayment, meaning shareholders will get regular payments of interest and principal.

Source: Investopedia,,



Net Interest Margin: Net interest margin is the metric used to measure interest received for income paid out on liabilities.

Source: Business Dictionary, Investopedia

New York Stock Exchange: The world’s largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at around $14.2 trillion, with average trading volume at more than $150 billion. Founded in 1792 by 24 stockbrokers under a buttonwood tree, it is now operated by NYSE EuroNext, a fully electronic stock exchange.

Source: Wikipedia



ObamaCare: An informal term for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010—legislation promoted by President Barack Obama that changed how health insurance functions in the U.S. ObamaCare expanded eligibility of Medicaid and required most Americans to purchase health insurance. It also set up exchanges in several states so insurers could compete to provide the most cost-effective options for consumers. Proponents believe ObamaCare makes health insurance more affordable. Critics feel it is too expensive and requires too much government involvement in the U.S. economy.

Source: The Free Dictionary

Operation Twist: the name given to a Federal Reserve tactic to flatten the yield curve of the government debt by using the Open Market Operation to buy long term debt and sell short term debt. This monetary policy operation has been used twice inU.S. history. The first time was in 1961 and the second was in 2011. In September 2011, the Fed performed Operation Twist in an effort to lower long-term interest rates. In this case, the Fed sold short-term Treasury bonds and bought long-term Treasury bonds, which pressured the long-term bond yields downward.

Sources: Investopedia, wikinvest

Overweight: The upgrading of a stock; a recommendation for investors to increase their investment position in a particular security, sector, asset class or market.

Source: Investor



Price-to-Earnings Ratio (P/E): A company’s current price compared to per-share earnings. A high P/E means investors anticipate future higher growth. If a company is losing money, it will not have a P/E ratio.

Source: Investopedia

Polar Vortex: An area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere near both of the Earth’s geographical poles. In the winter of 2014, the regular polar vortex experienced a breakdown and a large part of the vortex was forced southward. Eventually the cold air in Canada and the mild temperatures in the United States merged which led to extreme wind chills and record cold temperatures in the central, southern and eastern parts of the United States.

Source: Wikipedia, Weather Underground

Pound Sterling: The pound sterling is the official term for the currency of the United Kingdom. It is commonly known as the pound. It is thought to be the world’s oldest currency still in circulation. It originated sometime during the 760s when King Offa of present-day Staffordshire introduced the silver penny into the coin currency of the time. The surrounding Anglo-Saxon kingdoms also adopted it after time and it eventually became the standard monetary unit of the region.

Sources: Wikipedia, Pounds to Pocket, BBC

Property and Casualty Insurers: Companies that issue insurance that protects against property losses to homes, businesses and cars. They also can protect customers from legal liability that may result from injury or damage to the property of others.

Source: Investopedia

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI): comprises five economic indicators. They include new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and employment. It’s a good indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. A PMI of more than 50 represents expansion of the manufacturing sector, compared to the previous month, and under 50 represents a contraction, while a reading at 50 indicates no change.

Source: Investopedia



Quantitative Easing: Monetary policy used to increase the money supply through purchases of open-market securities. It is employed by central banks once targeted interest rates are already near 0 percent, in an effort to encourage more lending.

Source: Investopedia

QE3: An acronym for the third round ofquantitative easing developed by the Federal Reserve. It is an unconventional monetary policy designed to increase the supply of excess lendable reserves and support bank lending. In this case, the Fed will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by government-supported housing agencies.

Source: MarketWatch



Retail Fund: Open to anyone who wants to join, offering a range of investment and insurance options; registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and sold to individual investors through investment dealers and in open market transactions. Often categorized as mutual funds, retail funds carry lower initial investments and management expense ratios than non-retail funds. Because retail funds are registered with the SEC, they are restricted in the amount of overall risk they can expose themselves to.

Source: Investopedia



Same-store Sales: Also referred to as “comps,” a statistic used in retail industry analysis. Same-store sales measure percentage changes in revenue for retailers’ stores that have been open for more than a year. This statistic allows investors to determine what portion of new sales has come from sales growth and what portion from the opening of new stores. This analysis is import because, although new stores are good, a saturation point – where future sales growth is determined by same store sales growth – eventually occurs.

Source: Investopedia,

Sell in May and Go Away: A well-known adage amongst stock traders, this idiom warns investors to sell their stock holdings in May to avoid the seasonal decline in equity markets. The commonly held belief that contributes to this adage is that the investor who sells their holdings in May and returns to the equity market in November will benefit by avoiding the often volatile months of June-October.

Source: Wikipedia, Investopedia

Sell-off: A sell-off is the rapid selling of stocks, bonds or commodities, such as oil. The increase in supply leads to a decline in the value of the security.

Source: Investopedia

Shoulder Season: The time between highs and lows in growth for an industry or sector. Plotted on a graph, the high resembles a head and the lows resemble shoulders. In the natural gas industry, a shoulder season occurs before consumers use their air conditioning in the spring and then again before they turn on their heat in the fall.

Source: Wikitionary

Small Cap: Small-capitalization stocks typically have a market capitalization (number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price) of $1.5 billion or less. Since they are less established, small-cap stocks are usually more volatile than larger, S&P 500 companies.

Source: Ferguson Wellman

Smart Money: Cash invested by those considered to be experienced, well-informed, “in the know” or all three. Because insiders and better-informed speculators typically invest more, smart money can sometimes be spotted by greater than usual volume, especially when little or no public data exists to justify it.

Source: Investopedia

Smartphone: A cellular telephone with access to the Internet and built-in applications. Text messaging, email, web browsing and still/video cameras are examples of other features. Smartphones can run multiple applications, transforming a “single-minded” cell phone into a computer.


Super Bowl Indicator: an indicator based on the superstition that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (now AFC division) foretells a bear market (down market) for the coming year, and a win for a team from the old NFL (NFC division) means it will be a bull market (up market). It was “discovered” by sportswriter Leonard Koppett in the 1970s

Sources: Investopedia, Wikipedia, Business Dictionary

Sword of Damocles: A metaphor based on Greek legend of the constant fear present in the lives of those with great responsibility. Damocles was a courtier for King Dionysis. After constantly praising Dionysis’ great fortune, Damocles was offered the chance to switch roles with Dionysis. When Damocles became king a sword appeared over his head suspended by only a single horse hair. The fear that the sword would fall proved too much for Damocles. He begged Dionysis to let him return to his role as a courtier.

Source: Wikipedia

Syriza Party: also known as the Coalition of the Radical left, a left-wing political party in Greece, made up of left-wing and radical left parties. Originally comprised of 13 groups and independent politicians including democratic socialists, left-wing populist, green populist, Maoist, Trotskyist and eurocommunists. Syriza is considered an anti-establishment party. It is the second largest political party in Greece and recently became its most popular as well.

Source: Wikipedia



Tapering: Prior to May of 2013, “tapering” was a term most commonly heard in athletics training. On May 22, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated in testimony before Congress that that Fed may “taper” the bond-buying program, called quantitative easing (QE), in the coming months. The expectation in 2013 is that the Fed will gradually bring its current pace of $85 billion per month in bond purchases to zero by the middle half of 2014.


Tightening Cycle: All credit cycles go through periods of time in which funds are relatively easy to borrow. A tightening cycle is a period characterized by lower interest rates, lower lending requirements and an increase in the amount of available credit. These periods are followed by a contraction in the availability of credit. During the tightening cycle, interest rates climb and lending requirements become stricter. The contraction period continues until risks are reduced for lending institutions, at which point the cycle begins again.

Sources: Investopedia, Business Dictionary

Trade Deficit: Occurs when a country’s imports are greater than its exports. It also represents an outflow of domestic currency to foreign markets. A trade deficit is an economic measure of a negative balance of trade which isn’t necessarily problematic because it often corrects itself over time. However, the U.S. trade deficit has been growing in the U. S. in recent decades, raising concern among some economists.

Source: Investopedia

Trading Range: The trading value of a stock within a specific time period.

Source: Investopedia



U-3: U-3 is a rate of unemployment calculated by dividing the unemployed who are actively seeking jobs by the total labor force. This rate, used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, does not take into account those who have become discouraged by a tough labor market and are no longer seeking work.

Source: Investopedia

U-6: U-6 is the most comprehensive unemployment rate and includes both discouraged workers who are no longer seeking work and part-time workers who are underemployed.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Underemployment: Underemployment is defined as labor that is being underutilized in terms of skills, experience and availability. It includes highly skilled workers in low paying jobs, highly skilled workers in low skill jobs and part-time workers who would prefer to be full-time.

Source: Investopedia

Unemployment: Unemployment occurs when someone actively searching for a job is unable to find employment. Often used as a measure of the health of an economy, the unemployment rate is the number of unemployed divided by the total labor force. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ uses the “U-3” unemployment rate as the unofficial unemployment rate but this rate does not include discouraged unemployed workers who are no longer actively looking for work.

Source: Investopedia

Unit Labor Costs: A productivity measure calculated by dividing total labor compensation and benefits by real output. Profitability decreases with each increase in unit labor costs. Companies can pass along higher labor costs to its customers. When economists see unit labor costs increase, it’s an indicator of potential inflation. 

Source: American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms

U.S. Census Bureau: Founded under Article I, Section II of the U.S. Constitution 1787 and formally declared a permanent office in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for conducting a count of the U.S. population every 10 years. The data collected is used to determine the number of House representatives for each state as well as allocation of federal funding.

Source: Wikipedia,



Volatility: A measure of the change in investment value. Volatility is generally expressed by the standard deviation.

Source: Ferguson Wellman







Yield: The yield refers to the interest on a bond or the dividends paid on a stock or mutual fund. Yield also includes expected capital gain or loss.

Source: Ferguson Wellman



Zero Interest Rate Policy: a method of stimulating growth while keeping interest rates close to zero. Historically used in places such as Japan and the United States during the Great Recession.

Source: Investopedia