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Definition of Depression

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A prolonged period of very low economic activity with large-scale unemployment.

Related Terms:

Great Depression

The period of very high unemployment during the early 1930s.

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.


In the words of Warren Buffet, Bill Bane Sr., is, "a great American and one of the last real traders
around. I like to call him 'Salvo.'" His wife, Carol, is a huge NASCAR fan, and in her own words "delights in
pulling the legs off central bankers." Cooper Bane, son number two, is a thriving artiste who specializes in
making art that is much better than the stuff most folks are doing. Jackson, son number three, is a world
renowned master chef and plans on opening a restaurant. Bill Bane Jr., son number one, plans on giving Mr.
Monroe Trout a run for his money. [Bill Bane, Jr. helped Professor Harvey put the hypertextual glossary
together while an MBA student at Duke University.]

Basic IRR rule

Accept the project if IRR is greater than the discount rate; reject the project is lower than the
discount rate.

Basis point

In the bond market, the smallest measure used for quoting yields is a basis point. Each percentage
point of yield in bonds equals 100 basis points. Basis points also are used for interest rates. An interest rate of
5% is 50 basis points greater than an interest rate of 4.5%.


Recorded in asset accounts and then depreciated or amortized, as is appropriate for expenditures
for items with useful lives greater than one year.

Earnings surprises

Positive or negative differences from the consensus forecast of earnings by institutions
such as First Call or IBES. Negative earnings surprises generally have a greater adverse affect on stock prices
than the reciprocal positive earnings surprise on stock prices.

Depression Image 1

Efficient portfolio

A portfolio that provides the greatest expected return for a given level of risk (i.e. standard
deviation), or equivalently, the lowest risk for a given expected return.
Efficient set Graph representing a set of portfolios that maximize expected return at each level of portfolio

Equity cap

An agreement in which one party, for an upfront premium, agrees to compensate the other at
specific time periods if a designated stock market benchmark is greater than a predetermined level.


A firm that is unable to pay debts (liabilities are greater than assets).

Level pay

The characteristic of the scheduled principal and interest payments due under a mortgage such that
total monthly payment of P&I is the same while characteristically the principal payment component of the
monthly payment becomes gradually greater while the monthly interest payment becomes less.

Liquidity preference hypothesis

The argument that greater liquidity is valuable, all else equal. Also, the
theory that the forward rate exceeds expected future interest rates.

Long run

A period of time in which all costs are variable; greater than one year.
Long straddle A straddle in which a long position is taken in both a put and call option.


In accounting information, one year or greater.

Long run

A period of time in which all costs are variable; greater than one year.

Marketplace price efficiency

The degree to which the prices of assets reflect the available marketplace
information. Marketplace price efficiency is sometimes estimated as the difficulty faced by active
management of earning a greater return than passive management would, after adjusting for the risk
associated with a strategy and the transactions costs associated with implementing a strategy.

Depression Image 2

Net financing cost

Also called the cost of carry or, simply, carry, the difference between the cost of financing
the purchase of an asset and the asset's cash yield. Positive carry means that the yield earned is greater than
the financing cost; negative carry means that the financing cost exceeds the yield earned.


Debt instruments with initial maturities greater than one year and less than 10 years.

Out-of-the-money option

A call option is out-of-the-money if the strike price is greater than the market price
of the underlying security. A put option is out-of-the-money if the strike price is less than the market price of
the underlying security.

Oversubscribed issue

Investors are not able to buy all of the shares or bonds they want, so underwriters must
allocate the shares or bonds among investors. This occurs when a new issue is underpriced or in great demand
because of growth prospects.

Positive convexity

property of option-free bonds whereby the price appreciation for a large upward change
in interest rates will be greater (in absolute terms) than the price depreciation for the same downward change
in interest rates.

Synergistic effect

A violation of value-additivity whereby the value of the combination is greater than the
sum of the individual values.

Theoretical spot rate curve

A curve derived from theoretical considerations as applied to the yields of
actually traded Treasury debt securities because there are no zero-coupon Treasury debt issues with a maturity
greater than one year. Like the yield curve, this is a graphical depiction of the term structure of interest rates.

Tobin's Q

Market value of assets divided by replacement value of assets. A Tobin's Q ratio greater than 1
indicates the firm has done well with its investment decisions.


Mutual Funds: A measure of trading activity during the previous year, expressed as a percentage of
the average total assets of the fund. A turnover ratio of 25% means that the value of trades represented onefourth
of the assets of the fund. Finance: The number of times a given asset, such as inventory, is replaced
during the accounting period, usually a year. Corporate: The ratio of annual sales to net worth, representing
the extent to which a company can growth without outside capital. Markets: The volume of shares traded as a
percent of total shares listed during a specified period, usually a day or a year. great Britain: total revenue.

Yield curve

The graphical depiction of the relationship between the yield on bonds of the same credit quality
but different maturities. Related: Term structure of interest rates. Harvey (1991) finds that the inversions of
the yield curve (short-term rates greater than long term rates) have preceded the last five U.S. recessions. The
yield curve can accurately forecast the turning points of the business cycle.

financial leverage

The equity (ownership) capital of a business can serve
as the basis for securing debt capital (borrowing money). In this way, a
business increases the total capital available to invest in its assets and
can make more sales and more profit. The strategy is to earn operating
profit, or earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT), on the capital
supplied from debt that is more than the interest paid on the debt capital.
A financial leverage gain equals the EBIT earned on debt capital
minus the interest on the debt. A financial leverage gain augments earnings
on equity capital. A business must earn a rate of return on its assets
(ROA) that is greater than the interest rate on its debt to make a financial
leverage gain. If the spread between its ROA and interest rate is unfavorable,
a business suffers a financial leverage loss.

economic integration

the creation of multi-country markets
by developing transnational rules that reduce the fiscal and
physical barriers to trade as well as encourage greater economic
cooperation among countries

economically reworked

when the incremental revenue from the sale of reworked defective units is greater than
the incremental cost of the rework

overapplied overhead

a credit balance in the Overhead account
at the end of a period; when the applied overhead
amount is greater than the actual overhead that was incurred

Pareto principle

a rule which states that the greatest effects
in human endeavors are traceable to a small number of
causes (the vital few), while the majority of causes (the
trivial many) collectively yield only a small impact; this
relationship is often referred to as the 20:80 rule

procurement card

a card given to selected employees as a
means of securing greater control over spending and eliminating
the paper-based purchase authorization process

surplus variable

a variable used in a linear programming problem that represents overachievement of a minimum requirement; it is associated with greater-than-or-equal-to constraints


a difference between an actual and a standard or
budgeted cost; it is favorable if actual is less than standard
and is unfavorable if actual is greater than standard

Candlestick chart

A financial chart usually used to plot the high, low, open,
and close price of a security over time. The body of the “candle” is the region
between the open and close price of the security. Thin vertical lines extend up
to the high and down to the low, respectively. If the open price is greater than
the close price, the body is empty. If the close price is greater than the open
price, the body is filled. See also High-low-close chart.


A measure of the rate of change in duration; measured in time.
The greater the rate of change, the more the duration changes as yield changes.

Constant dollar accounting

A method for restating financial statements by reducing or
increasing reported revenues and expenses by changes in the consumer price index,
thereby achieving greater comparability between accounting periods.

Fixed asset

An item with a longevity greater than one year, and which exceeds a company’s
minimum capitalization limit. It is not purchased with the intent of immediate
resale, but rather for productive use within a company.

Intangible asset

A nonphysical asset with a life greater than one year. Examples are
goodwill, patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Capital Market

The market in which savings are made available to those needing funds to undertake investment projects. A financial market in which longer-term (maturity greater than one year) bonds and stocks are traded.

Comparative Advantage

A country has a comparative advantage over another country in the production of good A if to produce a unit of A it forgoes more of the production of good B than would the other country when it produces a unit of good A. Its efficiency in the production of good A relative to its efficiency in the production of good B is greater than is the case for the other country. See also absolute advantage.

Okun's Law

Changes in employment give rise to greater-than-proportional changes in output, by a factor of about 2.5.

Creative Acquisition Accounting

The allocation to expense of a greater portion of the price
paid for another company in an acquisition in an effort to reduce acquisition-year earnings and
boost future-year earnings. Acquisition-year expense charges include purchased in-process research
and development and an overly aggressive accrual of costs required to effect the acquisition.


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.

Longer-Term Fixed Assets

Assets having a useful life greater than one year but the duration of the 'long term' will vary with the context in which the term is applied.

Mezzanine Debt

Refers to non-conventional debt that has a greater element of risk than secured debt but has less risk than equity.


A debt security issued by a government or company. You receive regular interest payments at specified rates while you hold the bond and you receive the face value when it matures. Short-term bonds mature in less than five years; medium-term bonds mature in six to ten years; and long-term bonds mature in eleven years or greater.







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