Choose a letter above or browse financial terms for the currently selected letter below. Click on the term name to see any articles that are related to the term.

Balance Sheet

A condensed summary of a company’s assets, liabilities, and capital as of a specific date.

Basis Point

The smallest measure used for quoting yields in the bond market. One hundred basis points equals one point of bond yield. Interest rates also employ basis points, e.g., an interest rate of 5% is 50 basis points greater than 4.5%.


Someone who believes a market will decline.

Bear Market

A bear market is one in which prices are declining.

Bearer Bond

An older type of bond sometimes called a coupon bond. Bearer bonds are unregistered and negotiable, and are payable via coupons to the person who has physical possession of the bond document. The owner’s name is not registered on the issuer’s books.


Person or legal entity named to receive benefits in a will, trust, insurance policy, or other contract.

Bid (bid price)

This is the quoted bid at which a Market Maker is willing to buy a stock.

Bid-ask Spread

The difference between the price at which a Market Maker is willing to buy a security (bid), and the price at which the firm is willing to sell it (ask). The spread narrows or widens according to the supply and demand for the security being traded.

Block Trade

A purchase or sale of a large quantity of stock, generally 10,000 shares or more.

Blue Chip

Popular name for any large, national, well-known company with solid, high-quality management and a history of profitability.


A long term promissory note in which the issuer agrees to pay the owner the amount of the face value on a future date and to pay interest at a specified rate at regular intervals.

Book Value

Companies determine their stock book value by adding all assets, and subtracting all debts and liabilities. They then divide that total by the number of outstanding common shares to calculate the book value per common share. Book value and market value are not always equivalent.


An individual or firm who acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller, usually charging a commission.

Brokers’ Loans

Capital borrowed by brokers. Brokers use this money to help finance inventories of stock, underwrite new corporate and municipal securities issues, help finance a brokerage’s own investments, and finance customer margin accounts.


Someone who believes a market will rise.

Bull Market

A bull market is one in which prices are high or rising.


To purchase a security; take a long position.

Buy in

To cover, offset, or close out a short position.

Buy Limit Order

A conditional trading order that tell a broker to purchase a security only at a designated price or lower. Limit orders become market orders when they reach the specified limit.

Buy On Close

To buy at the end of a trading session at a price within the closing range.

Buy On Margin

Purchasing securities either partly or entirely on credit, using the shares themselves as collateral.

Buy On Opening

To buy at the beginning of a trading session at a price within the opening range.

Buy-and-Hold Strategy

An investor purchases securities and holds them (without selling) for a long period of time (five or more years), regardless of trends or fluctuations in the share price.

Buy-Side Trader

An individual, such as a pension or mutual fund portfolio manager, who affects trades for an institutional investor.