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Definition of Ratings

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Ratings

An evaluation of credit quality Moody's, S&P, and Fitch Investors Service give to companies used by
investors and analysts.



Related Terms:

Downgrade

A classic negative change in ratings for a stock, and or other rated security.


Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.


Accelerated depreciation

Any depreciation method that produces larger deductions for depreciation in the
early years of a project's life. Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS), which is a depreciation schedule
allowed for tax purposes, is one such example.


Acquisition of stock

A merger or consolidation in which an acquirer purchases the acquiree's stock.


Adjustable rate preferred stock (ARPS)

Publicly traded issues that may be collateralized by mortgages and MBSs.



American Stock Exchange (AMEX)

The second-largest stock exchange in the United States. It trades
mostly in small-to medium-sized companies.


Asset-backed security

A security that is collateralized by loans, leases, receivables, or installment contracts
on personal property, not real estate.


Ratings Image 1

Auction rate preferred stock (ARPS)

Floating rate preferred stock, the dividend on which is adjusted every
seven weeks through a Dutch auction.


Beggar-thy-neighbor devaluation

A devaluation that is designed to cheapen a nation's currency and thereby
increase its exports at other countries' expense and reduce imports. Such devaluations often lead to trade wars.


Best-interests-of-creditors test

The requirement that a claim holder voting against a plan of reorganization
must receive at least as much as he would have if the debtor were liquidated.


Beta equation (Stocks)

The beta of a stock is determined as follows:
[(n) (sum of (xy)) ]-[(sum of x) (sum of y)]
[(n) (sum of (xx)) ]-[(sum of x) (sum of x)]
where: n = # of observations (24-60 months)
x = rate of return for the S&P 500 Index
y = rate of return for the stock


Bill of exchange

General term for a document demanding payment.


Changes in Financial Position

Sources of funds internally provided from operations that alter a company's
cash flow position: depreciation, deferred taxes, other sources, and capital expenditures.


Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)

A not-for-profit corporation owned by its members. Its primary
functions are to provide a location for trading futures and options, collect and disseminate market information,
maintain a clearing mechanism and enforce trading rules.


Commodities Exchange Center (CEC)

The location of five New York futures exchanges: Commodity
Exchange, Inc. (COMEX), the New York Mercantile exchange (NYMEX), the New York Cotton Exchange,
the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa exchange (CSC), and the New York futures exchange (NYFE). common size
statement A statement in which all items are expressed as a percentage of a base figure, useful for purposes of
analyzing trends and the changing relationship between financial statement items. For example, all items in
each year's income statement could be presented as a percentage of net sales.


Common stock

These are securities that represent equity ownership in a company. Common shares let an
investor vote on such matters as the election of directors. They also give the holder a share in a company's
profits via dividend payments or the capital appreciation of the security.


Ratings Image 2

Common stock/other equity

Value of outstanding common shares at par, plus accumulated retained
earnings. Also called shareholders' equity.


Common stock equivalent

A convertible security that is traded like an equity issue because the optioned
common stock is trading high.



Common stock market

The market for trading equities, not including preferred stock.


Common stock ratios

Ratios that are designed to measure the relative claims of stockholders to earnings
(cash flow per share), and equity (book value per share) of a firm.


Comparative credit analysis

A method of analysis in which a firm is compared to others that have a desired
target debt rating in order to infer an appropriate financial ratio target.


Concentration services

Movement of cash from different lockbox locations into a single concentration
account from which disbursements and investments are made.


Conflict between bondholders and stockholders

These two groups may have interests in a corporation that
conflict. Sources of conflict include dividends, distortion of investment, and underinvestment. Protective
covenants work to resolve these conflicts.


Consumer credit

credit granted by a firm to consumers for the purchase of goods or Services. Also called
retail credit.


Convertible exchangeable preferred stock

Convertible preferred stock that may be exchanged, at the
issuer's option, into convertible bonds that have the same conversion features as the convertible preferred
stock.


Convertible preferred stock

Preferred stock that can be converted into common stock at the option of the holder.


Convertible security

A security that can be converted into common stock at the option of the security holder,
including convertible bonds and convertible preferred stock.


Credit

Money loaned.



Credit analysis

The process of analyzing information on companies and bond issues in order to estimate the
ability of the issuer to live up to its future contractual obligations. Related: default risk


Credit enhancement

Purchase of the financial guarantee of a large insurance company to raise funds.


Credit period

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


Credit risk

The risk that an issuer of debt securities or a borrower may default on his obligations, or that the
payment may not be made on a negotiable instrument. Related: Default risk


Credit scoring

A statistical technique wherein several financial characteristics are combined to form a single
score to represent a customer's creditworthiness.


Credit spread

Related:quality spread


Crediting rate

The interest rate offered on an investment type insurance policy.


Creditor

Lender of money.


Cumulative preferred stock

Preferred stock whose dividends accrue, should the issuer not make timely
dividend payments. Related: non-cumulative preferred stock.


Debt service

Interest payment plus repayments of principal to creditors, that is, retirement of debt.


Debt service parity approach

An analysis wherein the alternatives under consideration will provide the firm
with the exact same schedule of after-tax debt payments (including both interest and principal).


Debt-service coverage ratio

Earnings before interest and income taxes plus one-third rental charges, divided
by interest expense plus one-third rental charges plus the quantity of principal repayments divided by one
minus the tax rate.


Demand line of credit

A bank line of credit that enables a customer to borrow on a daily or on-demand basis.


Derivative security

A financial security, such as an option, or future, whose value is derived in part from the
value and characteristics of another security, the underlying security.


Devaluation A decrease in the spot price of the currency



Direct stock-purchase programs

The purchase by investors of securities directly from the issuer.


Dividend yield (Stocks)

Indicated yield represents annual dividends divided by current stock price.


Electronic data interchange (EDI)

The exchange of information electronically, directly from one firm's
computer to another firm's computer, in a structured format.


Employee stock fund

A firm-sponsored program that enables employees to purchase shares of the firm's
common stock on a preferential basis.


Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP)

A company contributes to a trust fund that buys stock on behalf of
employees.


Eurocredits

Intermediate-term loans of Eurocurrencies made by banking syndicates to corporate and
government borrowers.


Evaluation period

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


Evergreen credit

Revolving credit without maturity.


Exchange

The marketplace in which shares, options and futures on stocks, bonds, commodities and indices
are traded. Principal US stock exchanges are: New York stock Exchange (NYSE), American stock Exchange
(AMEX) and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASDAQ)


The Exchange

A nickname for the New York stock exchange. Also known as the Big Board. More than
2,000 common and preferred stocks are traded. The exchange is the oldest in the United States, founded in
1792, and the largest. It is located on Wall Street in New York City.


Exchange controls

Governmental restrictions on the purchase of foreign currencies by domestic citizens or
on the purchase of the local domestic currency by foreigners.


Exchange of assets

Acquisition of another company by purchase of its assets in exchange for cash or stock.


Exchange of stock

Acquisition of another company by purchase of its stock in exchange for cash or shares.


Exchange offer

An offer by the firm to give one security, such as a bond or preferred stock, in exchange for
another security, such as shares of common stock.


Exchange rate

The price of one country's currency expressed in another country's currency.


Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM)

The methodology by which members of the EMS maintain their
currency exchange rates within an agreed upon range with respect to other member countries.


Exchange rate risk

Also called currency risk, the risk of an investment's value changing because of currency
exchange rates.


Exchange risk

The variability of a firm's value that results from unexpected exchange rate changes or the
extent to which the present value of a firm is expected to change as a result of a given currency's appreciation
or depreciation.


Exchangeable Security

security that grants the security holder the right to exchange the security for the
common stock of a firm other than the issuer of the security.


Federal credit agencies

Agencies of the federal government set up to supply credit to various classes of
institutions and individuals, e.g. S&Ls, small business firms, students, farmers, and exporters.


Financial analysts

Also called securities analysts and investment analysts, professionals who analyze
financial statements, interview corporate executives, and attend trade shows, in order to write reports
recommending either purchasing, selling, or holding various stocks.


Five Cs of credit

Five characteristics that are used to form a judgement about a customer's creditworthiness:
character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions.


Fixed-dollar security

A nonnegotiable debt security that can be redeemed at some fixed price or according to
some schedule of fixed values, e.g., bank deposits and government savings bonds.


Fixed-exchange rate

A country's decision to tie the value of its currency to another country's currency, gold
(or another commodity), or a basket of currencies.


Flight to quality

The tendency of investors to move towards safer, government bonds during periods of high
economic uncertainty.


Floating exchange rate

A country's decision to allow its currency value to freely change. The currency is not
constrained by central bank intervention and does not have to maintain its relationship with another currency
in a narrow band. The currency value is determined by trading in the foreign exchange market.


Foreign exchange

Currency from another country.


Foreign exchange controls

Various forms of controls imposed by a government on the purchase/sale of
foreign currencies by residents or on the purchase/sale of local currency by nonresidents.


Foreign exchange dealer

A firm or individual that buys foreign exchange from one party and then sells it to
another party. The dealer makes the difference between the buying and selling prices, or spread.


Foreign exchange risk

The risk that a long or short position in a foreign currency might have to be closed out
at a loss due to an adverse movement in the currency rates.


Foreign exchange swap

An agreement to exchange stipulated amounts of one currency for another currency
at one or more future dates.


Foreign tax credit

Home country credit against domestic income tax for foreign taxes paid on foreign
derived earnings.


Forward exchange rate

Exchange rate fixed today for exchanging currency at some future date.


Full faith-and-credit obligations

The security pledges for larger municipal bond issuers, such as states and
large cities which have diverse funding sources.


Full-service lease

Also called rental lease. Lease in which the lessor promises to maintain and insure the
equipment leased.


Give up

The loss in yield that occurs when a block of bonds is swapped for another block of lower-coupon
bonds. Can also be referred to as "after-tax give up" when the implications of the profit or loss on taxes are
considered.


Gold exchange standard

A system of fixing exchange rates adopted in the Bretton Woods agreement. It
involved the U.S. pegging the dollar to gold and other countries pegging their currencies to the dollar.


Growth stock

Common stock of a company that has an opportunity to invest money and earn more than the
opportunity cost of capital.


Historical exchange rate

An accounting term that refers to the exchange rate in effect when an asset or
liability was acquired.


Host security

The security to which a warrant is attached.


Hybrid security

A convertible security whose optioned common stock is trading in a middle range, causing
the convertible security to trade with the characteristics of both a fixed-income security and a common stock
instrument.


Income stock

Common stock with a high dividend yield and few profitable investment opportunities.


Information services

Organizations that furnish investment and other types of information, such as
information that helps a firm monitor its cash position.


Institutional investors

Organizations that invest, including insurance companies, depository institutions,
pension funds, investment companies, mutual funds, and endowment funds.


Investment analysts

Related: financial analysts


Investment tax credit

Proportion of new capital investment that can be used to reduce a company's tax bill
(abolished in 1986).


Letter of credit (L/C)

A form of guarantee of payment issued by a bank used to guarantee the payment of
interest and repayment of principal on bond issues.


Letter stock

Privately placed common stock, so-called because the SEC requires a letter from the purchaser
stating that the stock is not intended for resale.


Line of credit

An informal arrangement between a bank and a customer establishing a maximum loan
balance that the bank will permit the borrower to maintain.


Listed stocks

stocks that are traded on an exchange.


London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE)

A London exchange where Eurodollar futures
as well as futures-style options are traded.


Line of credit

An informal arrangement between a bank and a customer establishing a maximum loan
balance that the bank will permit the borrower to maintain.


Listed stocks

stocks that are traded on an exchange.


London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE)

London exchange where Eurodollar futures as well as futures-style options are traded.


Margin account (Stocks)

A leverageable account in which stocks can be purchased for a combination of
cash and a loan. The loan in the margin account is collateralized by the stock and, if the value of the stock
drops sufficiently, the owner will be asked to either put in more cash, or sell a portion of the stock. Margin
rules are federally regulated, but margin requirements and interest may vary among broker/dealers.


Monthly income preferred security (MIP)

Preferred stock issued by a subsidiary located in a tax haven.
The subsidiary relends the money to the parent.


Mortgage pass-through security

Also called a passthrough, a security created when one or more mortgage
holders form a collection (pool) of mortgages sells shares or participation certificates in the pool. The cash
flow from the collateral pool is "passed through" to the security holder as monthly payments of principal,
interest, and prepayments. This is the predominant type of MBS traded in the secondary market.


Negative amortization

A loan repayment schedule in which the outstanding principal balance of the loan
increases, rather than amortizing, because the scheduled monthly payments do not cover the full amount
required to amortize the loan. The unpaid interest is added to the outstanding principal, to be repaid later.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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