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Definition of Average

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An arithmetic mean of selected stocks intended to represent the behavior of the market or some
component of it. One good example is the widely quoted Dow Jones Industrial average, which adds the
current prices of the 30 DJIA's stocks, and divides the results by a predetermined number, the divisor.

Related Terms:

Arithmetic average (mean) rate of return

Arithmetic mean return.

Average accounting return

The average project earnings after taxes and depreciation divided by the average
book value of the investment during its life.

Average (across-day) measures

An estimation of price that uses the average or representative price of a
large number of trades.

Average age of accounts receivable

The weighted-average age of all of the firm's outstanding invoices.

Average Amortization Period

The average useful life of a company's collective amortizable asset base.

Average Collection Period

average number of days necessary to receive cash for the sale of
a company's products. It is calculated by dividing the value of the
accounts receivable by the average daily sales for the period.

Average collection period, or days' receivables

The ratio of accounts receivables to sales, or the total
amount of credit extended per dollar of daily sales (average AR/sales * 365).

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Average-Cost Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that assigns the average
cost of beginning inventory and inventory purchases during a period to cost of goods sold and
ending inventory.

Average cost of capital

A firm's required payout to the bondholders and to the stockholders expressed as a
percentage of capital contributed to the firm. average cost of capital is computed by dividing the total
required cost of capital by the total amount of contributed capital.

Average inventory

The beginning inventory for a period, plus the amount at the end of
the period, divided by two. It is most commonly used in situations in which just
using the period-end inventory yields highly variable results, due to constant and
large changes in the inventory level.

Average life

Also referred to as the weighted-average life (WAL). The average number of years that each
dollar of unpaid principal due on the mortgage remains outstanding. average life is computed as the weighted average time to the receipt of all future cash flows, using as the weights the dollar amounts of the principal

Average maturity

The average time to maturity of securities held by a mutual fund. Changes in interest rates
have greater impact on funds with longer average life.

Average Propensity to Consume

Ratio of consumption to disposable income. See also marginal propensity to consume.

Average Propensity to Save

Ratio of saving to disposable income. See also marginal propensity to save.

Average rate of return (ARR)

The ratio of the average cash inflow to the amount invested.

Average tax rate

Taxes as a fraction of income; total taxes divided by total taxable income.

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average tax rate

Total taxes owed divided by total income.

Dow Jones industrial average

This is the best known U.S.index of stocks. It contains 30 stocks that trade on
the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow, as it is called, is a barometer of how shares of the largest
U.S.companies are performing. There are thousands of investment indexes around the world for stocks,
bonds, currencies and commodities.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Index of the investment performance of a portfolio of 30 “blue-chip” stocks.

Moving average

Used in charts and technical analysis, the average of security or commodity prices
constructed in a period as short as a few days or as Long as several years and showing trends for the latest
interval. As each new variable is included in calculating the average, the last variable of the series is deleted.

Moving average

A price average that is adjusted by adding other
parametrically determined prices over some time period.

Moving average inventory method

An inventory costing methodology that calls for the re-calculation of the average cost of all parts in stock after every purchase.
Therefore, the moving average is the cost of all units subsequent to the latest purchase,
divided by their total cost.

Moving-averages chart

A financial chart that plots leading and lagging
moving averages for prices or values of an asset.

Simple moving average

The mean, calculated at any time over a past period of fixed length.


An inventory valuation method that calculates a weighted average cost per unit for all the goods available for sale.
Multiplying that figure by the total units in ending inventory gives you the inventory’s value.

Weighted average

A method of accounting for inventory.

Weighted average cost of capital

Expected return on a portfolio of all the firm's securities. Used as a hurdle
rate for capital investment.

Weighted average cost of capital

See cost of capital.

weighted-average cost of capital

Weighted means that the proportions of
debt capital and equity capital of a business are used to calculate its
average cost of capital. This key benchmark rate depends on the interest
rate(s) on its debt and the ROE goal established by a business. This is a
return-on-capital rate and can be applied either on a before-tax basis or
an after-tax basis. A business should earn at least its weighted-average
rate on the capital invested in its assets. The weighted-average cost-ofcapital
rate is used as the discount rate to calculate the present value
(PV) of specific investments.

weighted average cost of capital

a composite of the cost of the various sources of funds that comprise a firm’s capital structure; the minimum rate of return that must be earned on new investments so as not to dilute shareholder value

Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

The weighted average of the costs of the capital components
(debt, preferred stock, and common stock)

weighted-average cost of capital (WACC)

Expected rate of return on a portfolio of all the firm’s securities, adjusted for tax savings due to interest payments.

Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

A weighted average of the component costs of debt, preferred shares, and common equity. Also called the composite cost of capital.

Weighted average coupon

The weighted average of the gross interest rate of the mortgages underlying the
pool as of the pool issue date, with the balance of each mortgage used as the weighting factor.

Weighted average life

See:average life.

Weighted average maturity

The WAM of a MBS is the weighted average of the remaining terms to maturity
of the mortgages underlying the collateral pool at the date of issue, using as the weighting factor the balance
of each of the mortgages as of the issue date.

weighted average method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that computes an average cost per
equivalent unit of production for all units completed during
the current period; it combines beginning inventory units
and costs with current production and costs, respectively,
to compute the average

Weighted average portfolio yield

The weighted average of the yield of all the bonds in a portfolio.

Weighted average remaining maturity

The average remaining term of the mortgages underlying a MBS.

12b-1 funds

Mutual funds that do not charge an upfront or back-end commission, but instead take out up to
1.25% of average daily fund assets each year to cover the costs of selling and marketing shares, an
arrangement allowed by the SEC's Rule 12b-I (passed in 1980).

accounting rate of return (ARR)

the rate of earnings obtained on the average capital investment over the life of a capital project; computed as average annual profits divided by average investment; not based on cash flow

Accounts Payable Days (A/P Days)

The number of days it would take to pay the ending balance
in accounts payable at the average rate of cost of goods sold per day. Calculated by dividing
accounts payable by cost of goods sold per day, which is cost of goods sold divided by 365.

Accounts Receivable Days (A/R Days)

The number of days it would take to collect the ending
balance in accounts receivable at the year's average rate of revenue per day. Calculated as
accounts receivable divided by revenue per day (revenue divided by 365).

Accounts receivable turnover

The ratio of net credit sales to average accounts receivable, a measure of how
quickly customers pay their bills.

accounts receivable turnover ratio

A ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by the year-end balance of accounts receivable. Technically
speaking, to calculate this ratio the amount of annual credit sales should
be divided by the average accounts receivable balance, but this information
is not readily available from external financial statements. For
reporting internally to managers, this ratio should be refined and finetuned
to be as accurate as possible.

Arithmetic mean return

An average of the subperiod returns, calculated by summing the subperiod returns
and dividing by he number of subperiods.

Arms index

Also known as a trading index (TRIN)= (number of advancing issues)/ (number of declining
issues) (Total up volume )/ (total down volume). An advance/decline market indicator. Less than 1.0 indicates
bullish demand, while above 1.0 is bearish. The index often is smoothed with a simple moving average.

Asian option

Option based on the average price of the asset during the life of the option.

Bollinger band chart

A financial chart that plots actual asset data along
with three other bands of data: the upper band is two standard deviations
above a user-specified moving average; the lower band is two standard
deviations below that moving average; and the middle band is the moving
average itself.

Book value per share

The ratio of stockholder equity to the average number of common shares. Book value
per share should not be thought of as an indicator of economic worth, since it reflects accounting valuation
(and not necessarily market valuation).

Breakeven point

The sales level at which a company, division, or product line makes a
profit of exactly zero, and is computed by dividing all fixed costs by the average
gross margin percentage.

company cost of capital

Expected rate of return demanded by investors in a company, determined by the average risk of the company’s assets and operations.

cost of capital (COC)

the weighted average cost of the
various sources of funds (debt and stock) that comprise a
firm’s financial structure

Days in receivables

average collection period.

Days' sales in inventory ratio

The average number of days' worth of sales that is held in inventory.

Days' sales outstanding

average collection period.

discount rate

the rate of return used to discount future cash
flows to their present value amounts; it should equal or
exceed an organization’s weighted average cost of capital


When two or more averages or indices fail to show confirming trends.


Investing so that all your eggs are not in the same basket. By spreading your investments over different kinds of investments, you cushion your portfolio against sudden swings in any one area. Segregated equity funds have become a popular and secure way for average investors to get the benefits of greater diversification.

Dividends per share

Dividends paid for the past 12 months divided by the number of common shares
outstanding, as reported by a company. The number of shares often is determined by a weighted average of
shares outstanding over the reporting term.


The weighted average of the time until maturity of each of the
expected cash flows of a debt security

Earnings per share (EPS)

EPS, as it is called, is a company's profit divided by its number of outstanding
shares. If a company earned $2 million in one year had 2 million shares of stock outstanding, its EPS would
be $1 per share. The company often uses a weighted average of shares outstanding over the reporting term.

Effective Exchange Rate

The weighted average of several exchange rates, where the weights are determined by the extent of our trade done with each country.

Expected value

The weighted average of a probability distribution.

FIFO method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that computes an average cost per equivalent
unit of production for the current period; keeps beginning
inventory units and costs separate from current period production
and costs

Geometric mean return

Also called the time weighted rate of return, a measure of the compounded rate of
growth of the initial portfolio market value during the evaluation period, assuming that all cash distributions
are reinvested in the portfolio. It is computed by taking the geometric average of the portfolio subperiod

Group Life Insurance

This is a very common form of life insurance which is found in employee benefit plans and bank mortgage insurance. In employee benefit plans the form of this insurance is usually one year renewable term insurance. The cost of this coverage is based on the average age of everyone in the group. Therefore a group of young people would have inexpensive rates and an older group would have more expensive rates.
Some people rely on this kind of insurance as their primary coverage forgetting that group life insurance is a condition of employment with their employer. The coverage is not portable and cannot be taken with you if you change jobs. If you have a change in health, you may not qualify for new coverage at your new place of employment.
Bank mortgage insurance is also usually group insurance and you can tell this by virtue of the fact that you only receive a certificate of insurance, and not a complete policy. The only form in which bank mortgage insurance is sold is reducing term insurance, matching the declining mortgage balance. The only beneficiary that can be chosen for this kind of insurance is the bank. In both cases, employee benefit plan group insurance and bank mortgage insurance, the coverage is not guaranteed. This means that coverage can be cancelled by the insurance company underwriting that particular plan, if they are experiencing excessive claims.

Inspection Report

This is a telephone interview of the person applying for life insurance conducted by someone from the underwriting department of the insurance company. Some insurance companies only sporadically contact applicants and some contact every applicant. On average the interview lasts between 15 to 30 minutes. The questions asked relate to personal habits (like smoking and alcohol consumption) and finances, including income and net worth, confirmation of employment, duties and the nature of the applicant's business. In addition, there are questions about driving, sports, aviation and currently held insurance. All information obtained is strictly confidential and is submitted solely to the underwriter for review.

Insurance principle

The law of averages. The average outcome for many independent trials of an experiment
will approach the expected value of the experiment.

Internal rate of return

a. The average annual yield earned by an investment during the period held.
b. The effective rate of interest on a loan.
c. The discount rate in discounted cash flow analysis.
d. The rate that adjusts the value of future cash receipts earned by an investment so that interest earned equals the original cost.
See Yield to maturity.

Inventory Days

The number of days it would take to sell the ending balance in inventory at the
average rate of cost of goods sold per day. Calculated by dividing inventory by cost of goods sold
per day, which is cost of goods sold divided by 365.

Inventory turnover

The ratio of annual sales to average inventory which measures the speed that inventory
is produced and sold. Low turnover is an unhealthy sign, indicating excess stocks and/or poor sales.


The number of times a company sold out and replaced its average stock of goods in a year. The formula is:
(Cost of goods sold) / (average inventory (beginning inventory + ending)/2 )

inventory turnover ratio

The cost-of-goods-sold expense for a given
period (usually one year) divided by the cost of inventories. The ratio
depends on how long products are held in stock on average before they
are sold. Managers should closely monitor this ratio.

labor rate variance

the actual rate (or actual weighted average rate) paid to labor for the period minus the standard rate multiplied by all hours actually worked during the period;
it is actual labor cost minus (actual hours X standard rate)

Lag response of prepayments

There is typically a lag of about three months between the time the weighted
average coupon of an MBS pool has crossed the threshold for refinancing and an acceleration in prepayment
speed is observed.

Life Expectancy

The average number of years of life remaining for a group of people of a given age and gender according to a particular mortality table.

Macaulay duration

The weighted-average term to maturity of the cash flows from the bond, where the
weights are the present value of the cash flow divided by the price.

Macaulay duration

A widely used measure of price sensitivity to yield
changes developed by Frederick Macaulay in 1938. It is measured in years and
is a weighted average-time-to-maturity of an instrument. The Macaulay
duration of an income stream, such as a coupon bond, measures how long, on
average, the owner waits before receiving a payment. It is the weighted
average of the times payments are made, with the weights at time T equal to
the present value of the money received at time T.

management expense ratio (MER)

The total expenses expressed as an annualized percentage of daily average net assets. MER does not include brokerage fees and commissions, which are also payable by the Fund.

Management fee

An investment advisory fee charged by the financial advisor to a fund based on the fund's
average assets, but sometimes determined on a sliding scale that declines as the dollar amount of the fund increases.

Market value-weighted index

An index of a group of securities computed by calculating a weighted average
of the returns on each security in the index, with the weights proportional to outstanding market value.

maturity premium

Extra average return from investing in longversus short-term Treasury securities.


a. A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean
or an arithmetic mean.
b. The average value of a set of numbers.

Mean of the sample

The arithmetic average; that is, the sum of the observations divided by the number of

modified FIFO method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that uses FIFO to compute a cost per
equivalent unit but, in transferring units from a department,
the costs of the beginning inventory units and the
units started and completed are combined and averaged

Multirule system

A technical trading strategy that combines mechanical rules, such as the CRISMA
(cumulative volume, relative strength, moving average) Trading System of Pruitt and White.

Noncompetitive bid

In a Treasury auction, bidding for a specific amount of securities at the price, whatever it
may turn out to be, equal to the average price of the accepted competitive bids.

normal capacity

the long-run (5–10 years) average production
or service volume of a firm; it takes into consideration
cyclical and seasonal fluctuations


(also called average collection period). The number of days of net sales that are tied up in credit sales (accounts receivable) that haven’t been collected yet.

Operating cycle

The average time intervening between the acquisition of materials or services and the final
cash realization from those acquisitions.

optimal mix of capital

the combination of capital sources at which the lowest weighted average cost of capital is achieved

P/E effect

That portfolios with low P/E stocks have exhibited higher average risk-adjusted returns than high P/E stocks.

Permanent Income Hypothesis

Theory that individuals base current consumption spending on their perceived long-run average income rather than their current income.

Portfolio turnover rate

For an investment company, an annualized rate found by dividing the lesser of
purchases and sales by the average of portfolio assets.

price/earnings ratio (price to earnings ratio, P/E ratio, PE ratio)

This key ratio equals the current market price
of a capital stock share divided by the earnings per share (EPS) for the
stock. The EPS used in this ratio may be the basic EPS for the stock or its
diluted EPS—you have to check to be sure about this. A low P/E may signal
an undervalued stock or may reflect a pessimistic forecast by
investors for the future earnings prospects of the business. A high P/E
may reveal an overvalued stock or reflect an optimistic forecast by
investors. The average P/E ratio for the stock market as a whole varies
considerably over time—from a low of about 8 to a high of about 30.
This is quite a range of variation, to say the least.

Price Level

A weighted average of prices of all goods and services where the weights are given by total spending on each good or service. Measured by a price index.

Process costing

A costing methodology that arrives at an individual product cost through the calculation of average costs for large quantities of identical products.

Progressive tax system

A tax system wherein the average tax rate increases for some increases in income but
never decreases with an increase in income.







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