When one company decides to take over another one, it is referred to as an acquisition. The acquiring company will do this by purchasing either the majority or entirety of the ownership stake of the company being taken over.
IG alerts – also known as trading alerts – allow you to set specific criteria and be notified immediately once that criteria has been met. There are three main types: economic announcements, price alerts and indicator alerts.
Alpha is the measurement of an investment portfolio’s performance against a certain benchmark –usually a stock market index. In other words, it’s the degree to which a trader has managed to ‘beat’ the market over a period of time. The alpha can be positive or negative, depending on its proximity to the market.
Annual general meeting (AGM) definition
An annual general meeting (AGM) is a yearly gathering between the shareholders of a company and its board of directors. Generally, this is the only time that the directors and shareholders will meet throughout the year, so it is a chance for the directors to present the company’s annual report.
Asset classes definition
An asset class is a category of financial instrument - these can be physical assets or financial assets. The instruments are grouped into asset classes based on whether they show similar characteristics, behave in the same way on the market, or are governed by the same laws and regulations.
An asset is an economic resource which can be owned or controlled to return a profit, or a future benefit. In financial trading, the term asset relates to what is being exchanged on markets, such as stocks, bonds, currencies or commodities.
At the money definition
At the money (ATM) is a term used to describe an options contract with a strike price that is identical to the underlying market price. At the money options see a lot of trading activity, because they are so close to becoming profitable.
Auction market definition
An auction market is an environment that facilitates competition between buyers and sellers. In an auction market, buyers indicate the maximum price that they are willing to pay for an asset, while sellers express the lowest price that they would be comfortable accepting.
Automated trading definition
Averaging down definition
Bank of England definition
The Bank of England (BoE) is the central bank for the United Kingdom. Sometimes known as the ‘Old Lady of Threadneedle Street,’ the bank says its mission is to ‘promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability.’
Base currency definition
Base rate definition
Basis point definition
A basis point is a unit of measurement used to quantify the change between two percentages – it can also be referred to as ‘bp’, which is pronounced ‘bip’ or ‘beep’. A basis point is equal to one hundredth of one percent, or 0.01%.
Bears are traders who believe that a market, asset or financial instrument is going to head in a downward trajectory. In that regard, they hold an opposite view to bulls, who believe that a market is going to head upwards.
Bear market definition
Blue-chip stocks definition
Blue-chip stocks are the shares of companies that are reputable, financially stable and long-established within their sector. Over time, the companies that are considered blue chip tend to change, so the exact definition of what is required for blue-chip status can be vague. However, a company that is considered blue chip will tend to be at or near the very top of its sector, feature on a recognised index, and have a well-known brand.
Bollinger bands definition
Bond trading definition
Bond trading is one way of making profit from fluctuations in the value of corporate or government bonds. Many view it as an essential part of a diversified trading portfolio, alongside stocks and cash.
Bonds are a form of financial investment that involve lending money to an institution for a fixed period of time. They usually come in two varieties: corporate bonds and government bonds, depending on the type of institution you are lending to.
Book value definition
While book value reflects what a business is worth according to its financials (its books), market value is the worth of a company according to financial markets – also known as its market capitalisation. The calculation for market value is the current market price per share multiplied by the total number of outstanding shares.
Bottom line definition
Brent crude definition
Brent crude – also referred to as Brent blend – is one of three major oil benchmarks used by those trading oil contracts, futures and derivatives. The other two major benchmarks are West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Dubai/Oman, though there are many smaller oil varieties traded as well..
Bulls are speculators who believe that a market, instrument, or sector is going on an upward trajectory. This belief puts them at odds with bears, who take a pessimistic view on a market’s direction.
Bull market definition
Cable is one of a few slang terms for different currency pairs; in this case referring to British pound sterling against the US dollar. This may also be shown as GBP/USD or GBPUSD. Occasionally, people also refer to the price of the British pound as cable.
Call option definition
A call option is a contract that gives the buyer the right but not the obligation to buy a specific asset at a specific price, on a specific date of expiry. The value of a call option appreciates if the asset's market price increases.
Cash flow definition
A chartist is a trader who relies predominantly on charts to help them understand a financial instrument’s historical price movements, in order to better predict and to speculate on its future performance. They are also commonly known as technical analysts, or technical traders.
Closing price definition
Cost of carry definition
The cost of maintaining an investment position is often referred to as the cost of carry or carrying charge. It can come in many forms, including interest on margins or the loans used to make the trade, or the cost of storage and insurance associated with holding a commodity.
Covered call definition
Crystallisation means selling an asset in order to realise capital gains or losses. When an investor buys an asset, any increase or decrease in the market price will not automatically translate to profit or loss – this is only realised after the position has been closed.
Currency futures definition
Currency options definition
A currency option is a type of options contract that gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a currency pair at a given price before a set time of expiry. To get this right, the holder of the option pays a premium to the seller (known as the option’s writer).
Currency peg definition
A currency peg is a governmental policy of fixing the exchange rate of its currency to that of another currency, or occasionally to the gold price. It can sometimes also be referred to as a fixed exchange rate, or pegging.
Day order definition
Day trading definition
A derivative’s delta is defined as its price movement in relation to the change in price of its underlying asset. It can also sometimes be referred to as a hedge ratio, and is most often used when dealing in options.
Derivatives are financial products that derive their value from the price of an underlying asset. Derivatives are often used by traders as a device to speculate on the future price movements of an asset, whether that be up or down, without having to buy the asset itself.
DFB is the abbreviation of daily funded bet, a term used in spread betting to describe a position that remains open until you decide to close it. For each day that your bet remains open, an interest adjustment is made to your account to reflect the cost of funding your position – hence the term daily funded bet.
Digital options definition
When trading, DMA stands for direct market access. It’s a way of placing trades that offers more flexibility and transparency than traditional dealing (which is usually referred to as OTC, or over-the-counter). It’s suitable for advanced traders.
Earnings per share definition
Earnings per share, or EPS, is an important metric in a company’s earnings figures. It is derived from the total amount of profit generated in a period, divided by the number of shares in the company listed on the stock market.
EBITDA is a way of evaluating a company’s performance without factoring in financial decisions or the tax environment. The literal meaning of EBITDA is ‘earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation’.
An exchange is an open, organised marketplace for commodities, stocks, securities, derivatives and other financial instruments. The terms exchange and market are often used interchangeably, as they both describe an environment in which listed products can be traded.
Exchange delivery settlement price (EDSP) definition
EDSP stands for exchange delivery settlement price, and refers to the price at which exchange-traded derivative contracts are settled. Stock exchanges use EDSP to calculate the amount that each party to an options or futures contract owes at the time of that contract’s expiry.
Expiry date definition
Exposure in finance definition
In trading, exposure is a general term that can mean three things: the total market value of your trades at open, the total amount of possible risk at any given point, or the portion of a fund invested in a particular market or asset
Fair value definition
Fair value has two meanings to investors. Generally, it is used to mean the value attributed to a stock by an individual investor or broker but in futures trading, it can refer to the predicted price of a market which is reflected in the cost to open a position.
Federal Reserve definition
The Federal Reserve bank, or the ‘Fed’ for short, is the central bank in charge of monetary and financial stability in the United States. It is part of a wider system – known as the Federal Reserve system – with 12 regional central banks located in major cities across the US.
Fiat currency definition
A fiat currency is a national currency that is not pegged to the price of a commodity such as gold or silver. The value of fiat money is largely based on the public’s faith in the currency’s issuer, which is normally that country’s government or central bank.
Fibonacci retracement definition
A Fibonacci retracement is a key technical analysis tool that uses percentages and horizontal lines, drawn onto price charts, to identify possible areas of support and resistance. Identifying these areas is useful to traders since it can help them decide when to open and close a position, or when to apply stops and limits to their trades.
Fill is the term used to refer to the satisfying of an order to trade a financial asset. It is the basic act of any market transaction – when an order has been completed, it is often referred to as ‘filled’ or as the order having been executed. However, it is worth noting that there is no guarantee that every trade will become filled.
Financial instrument definition
A financial instrument is a monetary contract between two parties, which can be traded and settled. The contract represents an asset to one party (the buyer) and a financial liability to the other party (the seller).
Financial market definition
Fixed costs definition
Fixed costs are the costs incurred by a company that do not vary with the scale of production. They are one of two main types of cost associated with companies’ balance sheets: the others are variable costs.
Force open definition
Forex broker definition
A forex broker is a firm that buys and sells currencies on behalf of retail traders, usually via a forex trading platform. Like stockbrokers, they charge a fee – though usually in the form of a spread instead of commission – in order to execute orders placed by their clients.
Forward contract definition
A forward contract is a contract that has a defined date of expiry. The contract can vary between different instances, making it a non-standardised entity that can be customised according to the asset being traded, expiry date and amount being traded.
French PEA definition
A French PEA refers to a Plan d’Epargne en Actions, which is a tax-efficient investment wrapper for residents of France. It allows French investors to buy and sell European securities with preferential conditions. In English, a PEA would be defined as a stock savings plan, similar to a stocks and shares ISA.
Fundamental analysis definition
Fundamental analysis is a method of evaluating the intrinsic value of an asset and analysing the factors that could influence its price in the future. This form of analysis is based on external events and influences, as well as financial statements and industry trends.
Funding charges definition
Futures contract definition
Gamma is a derivative of delta: the relationship between a derivative’s price and the price of its underlying asset. Specifically, gamma is the movement of delta in regard to the price of the underlying asset.
GDP stands for gross domestic product, or the total value of the goods and services produced in a country over a specified period. It is used as an indicator of the size and health of a country’s economy.
Gearing ratio definition
A gearing ratio is a measure used by investors to establish a company’s financial leverage. In this context, leverage is the amount of funds acquired through creditor loans – or debt – compared to the funds acquired through equity capital.
Grey market definition
By taking a position on a grey market, you’re taking a position on a company’s potential market cap ahead of its initial public offering (IPO). The price of a grey market is a prediction of what the company’s total market capitalisation will be at the end of its first trading day.
Gross margin definition
Guaranteed stop definition
In trading, the handle has two meanings. In most markets, it means the whole numbers involved in a price quote, without the decimals included. In forex, the handle refers to that part of the quote that appears in both numbers of the spread.
Hawks and doves definition
Helicopter money definition
Helicopter money is the term used for a large sum of new money that is printed and distributed among the public, to stimulate the economy during a recession or when interest rates fall to zero. It is also referred to as a helicopter drop, in reference to a helicopter scattering supplies from the sky.
High frequency trading definition
High frequency trading (or HFT) is a form of advanced trading platform that processes a high numbers of trades very quickly using powerful computing technology. It can be used to either find the best price for a single large order, or to find opportunities for profit in the market in real time.
Ichimoku Cloud definition
The Ichimoku Cloud is a technical analysis indicator that defines support and resistance levels, gauges momentum and provides trading signals. In Japanese, it is called the ‘Ichimoku Kinko Hyo’ which roughly means ‘one look equilibrium chart’ – because with just one look, traders can receive a range of information.
In the money definition
In the money (ITM) is defined by an option’s state of ‘moneyness’ – the underlying asset’s status when compared to the price at which it can be bought or sold (its strike price). Specifically, in the money means that an option* on an underlying asset has gone beyond its strike price, giving it an intrinsic value of more than £0.
Indices trading definition
Inflation is the increase in the cost of goods and services in an economy. As that in turn means that each unit of the currency’s economy is worth less of any good or service, inflation can also be viewed as a devaluing of currency.
In finance, interest can have more than one definition. Firstly it refers to the charge levied against a party for borrowing money, which can be either a cost or a means of making profit for a trader. Secondly, it can mean the portion of a company’s stocks held by a particular shareholder.
Interest rates definition
The amount that a lender charges to a borrower for the loan of an asset, usually expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. That percentage usually refers to the amount being paid each year (known as annual percentage rate, or APR) but can be used to express payments on a more or less regular basis.
Intrinsic value definition
Intrinsic value is a way of describing the perceived or true value of an asset. This is not always identical to the current market price because assets can be over- or undervalued. Intrinsic value is a common part of fundamental analysis, which investors use to assess stocks, as well being used in options pricing.
Leveraged products definition
Limit order definition
Limit up / limit down definition
Liquidity is used in finance to describe how easily an asset can be bought or sold in the market without affecting its price – it can also be known as market liquidity. When there is a high demand for an asset, there is high liquidity, as it will be easier to find a buyer (or seller) for that asset.
Maintenance margin definition
Margin call definition
Margin deposit definition
Margin trading definition
Margin trading is a way of speculating on financial markets that involves amplifying your exposure using leverage. Leverage is a facility that enables you to open a position on a market without needing to put up the total value of your position.
Market capitalisation definition
Market capitalisation is the total market value of a company’s shares on the market. It is often abbreviated to market cap. Market capitalisation is an easy way for investors to determine a company’s size, which can help to assess the risk of investing in its shares.
Market data definition
Market data refers to the live streaming of trade-related data. It encompasses a range of information such as price, bid/ask quotes and market volume. Trading venues provide reports on various assets and financial instruments, which are then distributed to traders and firms. Market data is available across thousands of global markets, including stocks, indices, forex and commodities.
Market maker definition
Market order definition
Market value definition
While the market value reflects what a business is worth according to market participants, book value reflects what a business is worth according to its financials (its books). The calculation for the book value of a company is its total tangible assets minus its liabilities.
Moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) definition
The moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) is a technical analysis indicator that aims to identify changes in a share price's momentum. The MACD collects data from different moving averages to help traders identify possible opportunities around support and resistance levels.
Moving average definition
Multilateral trading facilities definition
Multilateral trading facilities (MTFs) offer traders and investment firms an alternative to traditional exchanges. They allow trading of a wider variety of markets than most exchanges, including assets that may not have an official market.
Multiplier effect definition
The multiplier effect is the term used to describe the impact that changes in monetary supply can have on economic activity. When an individual, government or company spends money it has a trickle-down effect to businesses and individuals. The resulting impact can be much wider than the initial action.
Negative balance protection definition
Net change definition
Net income definition
Non-farm payrolls definition
Non-farm payrolls are a monthly statistic representing how many people are employed in the US, in manufacturing, construction and goods companies. They can also be known as non-farms, or NFP.
Off book definition
An ‘off-book’ trade refers to the process of trading shares away from an exchange or regulated body. They are usually executed via the over-the-counter (OTC) market. Off-book transactions are made directly between two parties, outside or ‘off’ of the order books.
On exchange definition
OPEC is the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. It was founded in 1960 by Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran and Kuwait. The other countries that have joined OPEC since are Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of the Congo – bringing OPEC’s membership to 14, as of January 2019.
Open positions definition
Your open positions are the trades you have made that are still able to incur a profit or a loss. When a position is closed, all profits and losses are realised and the trade is no longer active.
Option spread definition
An option spread is a strategy used in options trading. It involves buying and selling multiple options on the same underlying asset that are almost identical to each other but with a different strike price or expiry.
Order book definition
OTC trading definition
Out of the money definition
Overexposure in trading is the term used to describe the mistake of taking on too much risk. Typically, it’s when a trader makes the technical blunder of investing too much capital in a single position or market.
P/E ratio definition
The price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E ratio for short, is a method of measuring a company’s value. The P/E ratio is calculated by dividing the company’s market value per share by the earnings per share (EPS).
Pip value definition
PMI is an economic indicator, used to measure the health of a particular sector within an economy. In the UK, for instance, Markit produce a PMI for the manufacturing, services and construction industries.
A position is the expression of a market commitment, or exposure, held by a trader. It is the financial term for a trade that is either currently able to incur a profit or a loss – known as an open position – or a trade that has recently been cancelled, known as a closed position. Profit or loss on a position can only be realised once it has been closed.
Power of attorney definition
Profit and loss statement definition
A profit and loss (P&L) statement is a financial report that provides a summary of a company’s revenue, expenses and profit. It gives investors and other interested parties an insight into how a company is operating and whether it has the ability to generate a profit.
Put option definition
A put option is a contract that gives the buyer the right but not the obligation to sell an asset at a specific price, at a specific date of expiry. The value of a put option increases if the asset's market price depreciates.
Quantitative easing definition
Quantitative easing (or QE, for short) is an economic monetary policy intended to lower interest rates and increase money supply. It saw an increase in profile and use after the 2008 financial crash and subsequent recession.
Quote currency definition
A rally is a period in which the price of an asset, market or index sees sustained upward momentum. Typically, a rally will arrive after a period in which prices have been flat or in a decline.
Range is the difference between a market’s highest and lowest price in a given period. It is mostly used as an indicator of volatility: if a market has a wide range, it's a sign that it was volatile over the period analysed.
Rate of return definition
Rate of return (RoR) is the loss or gain of an investment over a certain period, expressed as a percentage of the initial cost of the investment. A positive RoR means the position has made a profit, while a negative RoR means a loss. You will have a rate of return on any investment you make.
Ratio spread definition
Reserves are the liquid assets set aside for future use by an individual, central bank or business. Usually they are in the form of currency or a commodity, such as gold. For traders, reserves will usually be kept as cash that can be accessed quickly.
Resistance level definition
A resistance level is the point on a price chart at which an upward price trajectory is impeded by an overwhelming inclination to sell the asset. If a market price is nearing a resistance level, a trader may opt to close their position and take the profit, rather than risk the price falling back.
A reversal is a turnaround in the price movement of an asset: when an upward trend (or a rally) becomes a downward one (a correction), or vice versa. They can also often be referred to as trend reversals.
Rights issue definition
A rights issue is when a company offers its existing shareholders the chance to buy additional shares for a reduced price. Usually the discounted price will stand for a specified time frame, after which it is returned to normal.
Risk management definition
The Regulatory News Service, or RNS, is responsible for disseminating regulatory and non-regulatory information on behalf of UK businesses and publicly listed companies. Operating as part of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the RNS provides businesses with information that can help them to comply with their disclosure obligations.
The SEC stands for the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It is a government agency set up to regulate markets and protect investors in the United States, as well as overseeing any mergers and acquisitions.
Share buyback definition
Share buyback, or share repurchase, is when a company buys back its own shares from investors. It can be seen as an alternative, tax-efficient way to return money to shareholders. Once shares are repurchased they are considered cancelled, but they can be kept for redistribution in the future.
Shares trading definition
Short selling is the act of selling an asset that you do not currently own, in the hope that it will decrease in value and you can close the trade for a profit. It is also known as shorting.
Smart order router definition
A smart order router (SOR) is an automated process used in online trading that follows a set of rules when looking for trading liquidity. The goal of an SOR is to find the best way of executing a trade.
Socially responsible definition
In trading, spot refers to the price of an asset for immediate delivery, or the value of an asset at any exact given time. It differs from an asset’s futures price, which is the price for delivery at some date in the future, or its expected price.
Spread betting definition
Spread betting is a leveraged financial derivative. When spread betting, you are making a bet on the direction in which a market will move. The accuracy of your bet determines the profit or loss when the position is closed.
Stock analysis definition
Stock analysis is the method used by a trader or investor to examine and evaluate the stock market. It is then used to make informed decisions about buying and selling shares. Stock analysis can also be referred to as market analysis, or equity analysis.
Stock exchange definition
A stock exchange is a centralised location where the shares of publicly traded companies are bought and sold. Stock exchanges differ from other exchanges because the tradable assets are limited to stocks, bonds and exchange traded products (ETPs).
Stock index definition
A stock index is a group of shares that are used to give an indication of a sector, exchange or economy. Usually, a stock index is made up of a set number of the top shares from a given exchange.
Stock symbol definition
A stock symbol is an abbreviation used to identify publicly traded companies. When a company decides to go public, it will select the exchange to list on and then choose a unique stock symbol to differentiate itself from other companies on the exchange.
Stop order definition
Stop orders are types of order that instruct your broker to execute a trade when it reaches a particular level: one which is less favourable than the current market price. They can also be known as stop-loss orders.
A straddle is a type of options trading strategy that allows traders to speculate on whether a market is about to become volatile or not, without having to predict a specific price movement. Straddles involve either buying or selling simultaneous call and put options with matching strike prices and expiration dates.
In options trading, the strike is the price at which a contract can be exercised, and the price at which the underlying asset will be bought or sold. It is also known as the strike price.
Support level definition
Tangible assets definition
Tangible assets are the assets on a company's books and balance sheet that have a physical form. They comprise the machinery, office equipment and buildings used by a company (fixed assets) and of the materials that are used in producing products (current assets).
Technical analysis definition
Technical analysis is a means of examining and predicting price movements in the financial markets, by using historical price charts and market statistics. It is based on the idea that if a trader can identify previous market patterns, they can form a fairly accurate prediction of future price trajectories.
Tom-next is short for ‘tomorrow-next day’, which is a short-term forex transaction that enables traders to simultaneously buy and sell a currency over two separate business days: tomorrow, and the next day.
Trading floor definition
A trading floor is the area of a business or an exchange where assets are bought and sold, most commonly associated with stock exchanges and futures exchanges. It is also often referred to as a trading pit.
Trading plan definition
A trading plan is a strategy set by the individual trader in order to systemise evaluation of assets, risk management, types of trading, and objective setting. Most trading plans will comprise two parts: long-term trading objectives, and the route to achieving them.
Trailing step definition
Trailing stop orders definition
A trailing stop is a type of stop-loss that automatically follows positive market movements of an asset you are trading. If your position moves favourably but then reverses, a trailing stop can lock in your profits and close the position.
Treasury stock definition
Treasury stock is the portion of a company’s shares that it keeps in its own treasury. The shares do not count towards the total amount of outstanding shares listed, and neither pay dividends nor carry voting rights (because a company cannot pay itself, or own itself).
When a market is making a clear, sustained move upwards or downwards, it is called a trend. Identifying the beginning and end of trends is a key part of market analysis. Trends can apply to individual assets, sectors, or even interest rates and bond yields.
Trending shares definition
Unborrowable stock is the stock that no one is willing to lend out to short sellers. When shares in a company become unborrowable, the traditional means of short selling them is impossible.
Value at risk (VaR) definition
Variable costs definition
VIX is short for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index. It is a measure used to track volatility on the S&P 500 index, and is the most well-known volatility index on the markets.
In trading, volume is the amount of a particular asset that is being traded over a certain period of time. It is often presented alongside price information, as it offers an extra dimension when examining an asset’s price history.
VWAP is the abbreviation for volume-weighted average price, which is a technical analysis tool that shows the ratio of an asset's price to its total trade volume. It provides traders and investors with a measure of the average price at which a stock is traded over a given period of time.
Weekend trading with IG definition
Working order definition
WTI stands for West Texas Intermediate (occasionally called Texas Light Sweet), an oil benchmark that is central to commodities trading. It is one of the three major oil benchmarks used in trading, the others being Brent crude and Dubai/Oman.
Yield is the income earned from an investment, most often in the form of interest or dividend payments. Yield is one of the ways in which investments can earn a trader money, with the other being the eventual closing of a position for profit.