Financial Terms
Great Depression

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Definition of Great Depression

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Great Depression

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

Related Terms:


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

economic components model

Abrams’ model for calculating DLOM based on the interaction of discounts from four economic components.
This model consists of four components: the measure of the economic impact of the delay-to-sale, monopsony power to buyers, and incremental transactions costs to both buyers and sellers.

NPV (net present value of cash flows)

Same as PV, but usually includes a subtraction for an initial cash outlay.

PPF (periodic perpetuity factor)

a generalization formula invented by Abrams that is the present value of regular but noncontiguous cash flows that have constant growth to perpetuity.

PV (present value of cash flows)

the value in today’s dollars of cash flows that occur in different time periods.
present value factor equal to the formula 1/(1 - r)n, where n is the number of years from the valuation date to the cash flow and r is the discount rate.
For business valuation, n should usually be midyear, i.e., n = 0.5, 1.5, . . .

Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.

Annualized holding period return

The annual rate of return that when compounded t times, would have
given the same t-period holding return as actually occurred from period 1 to period t.

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Asset activity ratios

Ratios that measure how effectively the firm is managing its assets.

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).

Blow-off top

A steep and rapid increase in price followed by a steep and rapid drop. This is an indicator seen
in charts and used in technical analysis of stock price and market trends.

Cash delivery

The provision of some futures contracts that requires not delivery of underlying assets but
settlement according to the cash value of the asset.

Cash flow

In investments, it represents earnings before depreciation , amortization and non-cash charges.
Sometimes called cash earnings. Cash flow from operations (called funds from operations ) by real estate and
other investment trusts is important because it indicates the ability to pay dividends.

Cash flow after interest and taxes

Net income plus depreciation.

Cash flow coverage ratio

The number of times that financial obligations (for interest, principal payments,
preferred stock dividends, and rental payments) are covered by earnings before interest, taxes, rental
payments, and depreciation.

Cash flow from operations

A firm's net cash inflow resulting directly from its regular operations
(disregarding extraordinary items such as the sale of fixed assets or transaction costs associated with issuing
securities), calculated as the sum of net income plus non-cash expenses that were deducted in calculating net

Cash flow matching

Also called dedicating a portfolio, this is an alternative to multiperiod immunization in
which the manager matches the maturity of each element in the liability stream, working backward from the
last liability to assure all required cash flows.

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Cash flow per common share

Cash flow from operations minus preferred stock dividends, divided by the
number of common shares outstanding.

Cash flow time-line

Line depicting the operating activities and cash flows for a firm over a particular period.

Cash-flow break-even point

The point below which the firm will need either to obtain additional financing
or to liquidate some of its assets to meet its fixed costs.

Compounding period

The length of the time period (for example, a quarter in the case of quarterly
compounding) that elapses before interest compounds.

Credit period

The length of time for which the customer is granted credit.


The tender and receipt of an actual commodity or financial instrument in settlement of a futures contract.

Delivery notice

The written notice given by the seller of his intention to make delivery against an open, short
futures position on a particular date. Related: notice day

Delivery options

The options available to the seller of an interest rate futures contract, including the quality
option, the timing option, and the wild card option. Delivery options make the buyer uncertain of which
Treasury Bond will be delivered or when it will be delivered.

Delivery points

Those points designated by futures exchanges at which the financial instrument or
commodity covered by a futures contract may be delivered in fulfillment of such contract.

Delivery price

The price fixed by the Clearing house at which deliveries on futures are in invoiced; also the
price at which the futures contract is settled when deliveries are made.

Delivery versus payment

A transaction in which the buyer's payment for securities is due at the time of
delivery (usually to a bank acting as agent for the buyer) upon receipt of the securities. The payment may be
made by bank wire, check, or direct credit to an account.

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Discount period

The period during which a customer can deduct the discount from the net amount of the bill
when making payment.

Discounted cash flow (DCF)

Future cash flows multiplied by discount factors to obtain present values.

Discounted payback period rule

An investment decision rule in which the cash flows are discounted at an
interest rate and the payback rule is applied on these discounted cash flows.

Discretionary cash flow

Cash flow that is available after the funding of all positive NPV capital investment
projects; it is available for paying cash dividends, repurchasing common stock, retiring debt, and so on.

Economic assumptions

economic environment in which the firm expects to reside over the life of the
financial plan.

Economic defeasance

See: in-substance defeasance.

Economic dependence

Exists when the costs and/or revenues of one project depend on those of another.

Economic earnings

The real flow of cash that a firm could pay out forever in the absence of any change in
the firm's productive capacity.

Economic exposure

The extent to which the value of the firm will change because of an exchange rate change.

Economic income

Cash flow plus change in present value.

Economic order quantity (EOQ)

The order quantity that minimizes total inventory costs.

Economic rents

Profits in excess of the competitive level.

Economic risk

In project financing, the risk that the project's output will not be salable at a price that will
cover the project's operating and maintenance costs and its debt service requirements.

Economic surplus

For any entity, the difference between the market value of all its assets and the market
value of its liabilities.

Economic union

An agreement between two or more countries that allows the free movement of capital,
labor, all goods and services, and involves the harmonization and unification of social, fiscal, and monetary

Economies of scale

The decrease in the marginal cost of production as a plant's scale of operations increases.

Equivalent annual cash flow

Annuity with the same net present value as the company's proposed investment.

Evaluation period

The time interval over which a money manager's performance is evaluated.

Expected future cash flows

Projected future cash flows associated with an asset of decision.

Flower bond

Government bonds that are acceptable at par in payment of federal estate taxes when owned by
the decedent at the time of death.

Flow-through basis

An account for the investment credit to show all income statement benefits of the credit
in the year of acquisition, rather than spreading them over the life of the asset acquired.

Flow-through method

The practice of reporting to shareholders using straight-line depreciation and
accelerated depreciation for tax purposes and "flowing through" the lower income taxes actually paid to the
financial statement prepared for shareholders.

Forward delivery

A transaction in which the settlement will occur on a specified date in the future at a price
agreed upon on the trade date.

Free cash flows

Cash not required for operations or for reinvestment. Often defined as earnings before
interest (often obtained from operating income line on the income statement) less capital expenditures less the
change in working capital.

Good delivery

A delivery in which everything - endorsement, any necessary attached legal papers, etc. - is in

Good delivery and settlement procedures

Refers to PSA Uniform Practices such as cutoff times on delivery
of securities and notification, allocation, and proper endorsement.

Hell-or-high-water contract

A contract that obligates a purchaser of a project's output to make cash
payments to the project in all events, even if no product is offered for sale.

High-coupon bond refunding

Refunding of a high-coupon bond with a new, lower coupon bond.

High price

The highest (intraday) price of a stock over the past 52 weeks, adjusted for any stock splits.

High-yield bond

See:junk bond.

Highly leveraged transaction (HLT)

Bank loan to a highly leveraged firm.

Holding period

Length of time that an individual holds a security.

Holding period return

The rate of return over a given period.

Incremental cash flows

Difference between the firm's cash flows with and without a project.

Law of large numbers

The mean of a random sample approaches the mean (expected value) of the
population as the sample grows.

Leading economic indicators

economic series that tend to rise or fall in advance of the rest of the economy.

Low-coupon bond refunding

Refunding of a low coupon bond with a new, higher coupon bond.

Low price

This is the day's lowest price of a security that has changed hands between a buyer and a seller.

Low price-earnings ratio effect

The tendency of portfolios of stocks with a low price-earnings ratio to
outperform portfolios consisting of stocks with a high price-earnings ratio.

Making delivery

Refers to the seller's actually turning over to the buyer the asset agreed upon in a forward contract.

Multiperiod immunization

A portfolio strategy in which a portfolio is created that will be capable of
satisfying more than one predetermined future liability regardless if interest rates change.

Net period

The period of time between the end of the discount period and the date payment is due.

Neutral period

In the Euromarket, a period over which Eurodollars are sold is said to be neutral if it does not
start or end on either a Friday or the day before a holiday.

Nominal cash flow

A cash flow expressed in nominal terms if the actual dollars to be received or paid out are given.

Operating cash flow

Earnings before depreciation minus taxes. It measures the cash generated from
operations, not counting capital spending or working capital requirements.

Overnight delivery risk

A risk brought about because differences in time zones between settlement centers
require that payment or delivery on one side of a transaction be made without knowing until the next day
whether the funds have been received in an account on the other side. Particularly apparent where delivery
takes place in Europe for payment in dollars in New York.

Plowback rate

Related: retention rate.

Price discovery process

The process of determining the prices of the assets in the marketplace through the
interactions of buyers and sellers.

Price-specie-flow mechanism

Adjustment mechanism under the classical gold standard whereby
disturbances in the price level in one country would be wholly or partly offset by a countervailing flow of
specie (gold coins) that would act to equalize prices across countries and automatically bring international
payments back in balance.

Production-flow commitment

An agreement by the loan purchaser to allow the monthly loan quota to be
delivered in batches.

Rally (recovery)

An upward movement of prices. Opposite of reaction.

Real cash flow

A cash flow is expressed in real terms if the current, or date 0, purchasing power of the cash
flow is given.


A bank that offers to pay different rates of interest on CDs of varying rates is said to "post a scale."
Commercial paper dealers also post scales.

Scale enhancing

Describes a project that is in the same risk class as the whole firm.

Scale in

When a trader or investor gradually takes a position in a security or market over time.

Scheduled cash flows

The mortgage principal and interest payments due to be paid under the terms of the
mortgage not including possible prepayments.

Statement of cash flows

A financial statement showing a firm's cash receipts and cash payments during a
specified period.

Statement-of-cash-flows method

A method of cash budgeting that is organized along the lines of the statement of cash flows.

Subperiod return

The return of a portfolio over a shorter period of time than the evaluation period.

T-period holding-period return

The percentage return over the T-year period an investment lasts.

Taking delivery

Refers to the buyer's actually assuming possession from the seller of the asset agreed upon
in a forward contract or a futures contract.

Unemployment rate

The ratio of the number of people classified as unemployed to the total labor force.

Waiting period

Time during which the SEC studies a firm's registration statement. during this time the firm
may distribute a preliminary prospectus.


Stock that has fallen out of favor with investors; tends to have a low P/E (price to earnings ratio).

Workout period

Realignment period of a temporary misaligned yield relationship that sometimes occurs in
fixed income markets.


A statement that shows where a company’s cash came from and where it went for a period of time, such as a year.


A section on the cash-flow statement that shows how much cash a company raised by selling stocks or bonds this year and how much was paid out for cash dividends and other finance-related obligations.


A section on the cashflow statement that shows how much cash came in and went out because of various investing activities like purchasing machinery.


A section on the cash-flow Stockholders’ equity statement that shows how much cash came into a company and how much went out during the normal course of business.

MACRS (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System)

A depreciation method created by the IRS under the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Companies must use it to depreciate all plant and equipment assets installed after December 31, 1986 (for tax purposes).

Accounting period

The period of time for which financial statements are produced – see also financial year.

Activity-based budgeting

A method of budgeting that develops budgets based on expected activities and cost drivers – see also activity-based costing.

Activity-based costing

A method of costing that uses cost pools to accumulate the cost of significant business activities and then assigns the costs from the cost pools to products or services based on cost drivers.

Allocation base A measure of activity or volume such as labour

hours, machine hours or volume of production
used to apportion overheads to products and







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