Learn & be a stock guru...

The financial world has developed a special investment-oriented language to help describe the stock market, investments, securities for the stock market, stock market analysis, and its conditions. At times you may be confronted with a term which is totally alien or has a completely different meaning from what you thought. Misunderstanding these terms can sometimes lead to the wrong conclusion, and that can cost you money!

What you don't know can hurt you.

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Family of Funds

A group of mutual funds run by a single company.

Fibonacci Studies

A series of technical analysis studies where charts and numeric relationships are used to pinpoint high and low price levels for a security. There are four popular Fibonacci studies: arcs, fans, retracements, and time zones. The interpretation of these studies involves anticipating changes in trends as prices near the lines created by the Fibonacci studies.


A person holding a position of confidence, such as a trustee, guardian or executor.

Financial Adviser

Financial advisers focus primarily on your investment portfolio whereas financial planners become involved with all of your assets. Financial advisers recommend stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other investments that fit your goals and risk level. And if you agree to open a ""discretionary"" account, the adviser can invest your money without first getting your permission.

Financial Planner

Unlike financial advisers, financial planners become involved with all of your assets -- not just stocks and bonds, but real estate, insurance, even collectibles and college-savings accounts. They often formulate trusts and provide tax advice. Most planners work independently or in a group practice. However, some are full-time employees of banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and the like.

Financials Sector

A category that includes banks, brokerage firms, thrifts, insurance, and real estate companies

Financing Activities

The sale or purchase of a company's own stock or bonds, payment of dividends and any other finance charges incurred in the company's operations

Fiscal Year (FY)

The 12-month accounting period of a business. For various reasons, the fiscal year is often different from the calendar year. This is especially the case in some seasonal businesses, such as retailing.

Fixed Asset

An asset that can't be instantly liquidated. Buildings, factories, etc. are fixed assets. Cash is the quintessential liquid asset.

Fixed Cost

A cost that doesn't vary. The cost of owning a warehouse, for instance, might be the same whether it is full or empty. It's important in assessing a company to differentiate between fixed costs, variable costs and marginal cost.


The process of satisfying claims against someone who has defaulted on a loan, such as a mortgage. It usually involves the forced sale of the property to satisfy payment of the loan.

Foreign Exchange Rate

The price at which one currency trades for another.

Foreign Exchange Risk

The risk that a long or short position in a foreign security may be adversely affected by a change in the value of the foreign currency.

Forward Year P/E

A price/earnings (P/E) ratio calculated on the basis of expected earnings for the coming year

Free Cash Flow

This is cash flow from operations minus capital expenditures minus cash dividends paid -- at least in the view of some analysts. The truth is that opinions differ about what constitutes ""free"" cash flow and how -- or whether -- it differs from conventional cash flow. The premise behind backing out capital expenditures and dividends is that these are optional and therefore should be set aside to see how much income a company is really generating. The dividend could always be suspended, after all, and even capital intensive firms can usually limp along for awhile on reduced capital outlays. The goal is the same as with cash flow: to look behind the smoke and mirrors sometimes associated with net income

Front Load

A fee levied by a mutual fund company on new investments. A front-end load is charged up front, as opposed to a back-end load, which is levied when you sell. There is no evidence that mutual funds charging hefty loads outperform no-load funds, and the latter have been gaining popularity in recent years.

Fully Diluted Earnings Per Share

Earnings per share that takes account of all the common stock that would exist if convertible securities were traded in for common shares.

Fully Diluted EPS from Continuing Operations

Earnings from continuing operations divided by the fully diluted shares outstanding (given the dilution effects of any convertible debentures, warrants, and so on). This excludes income from discontinued operations and extraordinary gains and losses.

Fully Diluted EPS from Discontinued Operations

Earnings from discontinued operations (during the reporting period) divided by the fully diluted shares outstanding (given the dilution effects of any convertible debentures, warrants, and so on). This excludes income from extraordinary gains/losses.

Fully Diluted EPS from Total Operations

Earnings for the most recent fiscal year from total operations (continuing operations plus discontinued operations) divided by the fully diluted shares outstanding (given the dilution effects of any convertible debentures, warrants, and so on). This excludes income from extraordinary gains and losses.

Fund Inception Date

The date a mutual fund initially became available.

Fund Manager

The person responsible for investing the monies of a mutual fund. Some funds are run by one person, others by committee.

Fundamental Analysis

An investing approach where an investor tries to choose winning stocks by studying a company's earnings history, balance sheet, management, product line and other factors that will affect its profitability and growth. This approach sets fundamental analysts apart from technical analysts, who study previous trading patterns to forecast which direction (up or down) a stock or the market itself will head in the future.

Futures Options

Options on futures are contracts giving the holder the right to buy or sell a specified futures contract at an agreed-upon price before a specific expiration date. If things go your way, you can exercise the option, buy the futures and turn a handsome profit. If you guess wrong, you can let the option expire. In that case, all you would lose would be the price you paid for the option: You wouldn't be responsible for the much bigger losses on the futures

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