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Definition of Signal

Signal Image 1


The process of conveying information through a firm's actions.

Related Terms:

Credible signal

A signal that provides accurate information; a signal that can be distinguish among senders.

Signaling approach

Approach to the determination of the optimal capital structure asserting that insiders in a
firm have information that the market does not have; therefore, the choice of capital structure by insiders can
signal information to outsiders and change the value of the firm. This theory is also called the asymmetric
information approach.

Signaling view (on dividend policy)

The argument that dividend changes are important signals to investors
about changes in management's expectation about future earnings.

Adverse selection

A situation in which market participation is a negative signal.

Appraisal ratio

The signal-to-noise ratio of an analyst's forecasts. The ratio of alpha to residual standard

bar code

a group of lines and spaces arranged in a special
machine-readable pattern by which a scanner measures the
intensity of the light reflections of the white spaces between
the lines and converts the signal back into the original data


A signalling device.

Signal Image 2

discounted cash flow (DCF)

Refers to a capital investment analysis technique
that discounts, or scales down, the future cash returns from an
investment based on the cost-of-capital rate for the business. In essence,
each future return is downsized to take into account the cost of capital
from the start of the investment until the future point in time when the
return is received. Present value (PV) is the amount resulting from discounting
the future returns. Present value is subtracted from the entry
cost of the investment to determine net present value (NPV). The net
present value is positive if the present value is more than the entry cost,
which signals that the investment would earn more than the cost-ofcapital
rate. If the entry cost is more than the present value, the net
present value is negative, which means that the investment would earn
less than the business’s cost-of-capital rate.

Information-content effect

The rise in the stock price following the dividend signal.


An imitation that sends a false signal.

net present value (NPV)

Equals the present value (PV) of a capital investment
minus the initial amount of capital that is invested, or the entry cost
of the investment. A positive NPV signals an attractive capital investment
opportunity; a negative NPV means that the investment is substandard.

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-volume relationship

A relationship espoused by some technical analysts that signals continuing rises
and falls in security prices based on accompanying changes in volume traded.

Program trading

Trades based on signals from computer programs, usually entered directly from the trader's
computer to the market's computer system and executed automatically.







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