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Definition of Spread

Spread Image 1


1) The gap between bid and ask prices of a stock or other security.
2) The simultaneous purchase and sale of separate futures or options contracts for the same commodity for delivery in different months.
Also known as a straddle.
3) Difference between the price at which an underwriter buys an issue from a firm
and the price at which the underwriter sells it to the public.
4) The price an issuer pays above a benchmark fixed-income yield to borrow money.


For options, a combination of call or put options on the same stock
with differing exercise prices or maturity dates.


Difference between public offer price and price paid by underwriter.


The difference between items typically between two rates of interest or currencies.

Related Terms:

Bull spread

A spread strategy in which an investor buys an out-of-the-money put option, financing it by
selling an out-of-the money call option on the same underlying.

Credit spread

Related:Quality spread

Effective spread

The gross underwriting spread adjusted for the impact of the announcement of the common
stock offering on the firm's share price.

Gross spread

The fraction of the gross proceeds of an underwritten securities offering that is paid as
compensation to the underwriters of the offering.

Spread Image 2

Horizontal spread

The simultaneous purchase and sale of two options that differ only in their exercise date.

Intermarket spread swaps

An exchange of one bond for another based on the manager's projection of a
realignment of spreads between sectors of the bond market.

Intramarket sector spread

The spread between two issues of the same maturity within a market sector. For
instance, the difference in interest rates offered for five-year industrial corporate bonds and five-year utility
corporate bonds.

Maturity spread

The spread between any two maturity sectors of the bond market.

Option-adjusted spread (OAS)

1) The spread over an issuer's spot rate curve, developed as a measure of
the yield spread that can be used to convert dollar differences between theoretical value and market price.
2) The cost of the implied call embedded in a MBS, defined as additional basis-yield spread. When added to the
base yield spread of an MBS without an operative call produces the option-adjusted spread.

Quality spread

Also called credit spread, the spread between Treasury securities and non-Treasury securities
that are identical in all respects except for quality rating. For instance, the difference between yields on
Treasuries and those on single A-rated industrial bonds.

Relative yield spread

The ratio of the yield spread to the yield level.

Spread income

Also called margin income, the difference between income and cost. For a depository
institution, the difference between the assets it invests in (loans and securities) and the cost of its funds
(deposits and other sources).

Spread strategy

A strategy that involves a position in one or more options so that the cost of buying an
option is funded entirely or in part by selling another option in the same underlying. Also called spreading.

Spread Image 3


A computer program that organizes numerical data into rows and columns on a terminal screen,
for calculating and making adjustments based on new data.

TED spread

Difference between U.S. Treasury bill rate and eurodollar rate; used by some traders as a
measure of investor/trader anxiety.

Vertical spread

Simultaneous purchase and sale of two options that differ only in their exercise price. See:
horizontal spread.

Yield spread strategies

Strategies that involve positioning a portfolio to capitalize on expected changes in
yield spreads between sectors of the bond market.


Adjustable rate mortgage. A mortgage that features predetermined adjustments of the loan interest rate
at regular intervals based on an established index. The interest rate is adjusted at each interval to a rate
equivalent to the index value plus a predetermined spread, or margin, over the index, usually subject to perinterval
and to life-of-loan interest rate and/or payment rate caps.


spread The difference between the bid and asked prices.

capital investment analysis

Refers to various techniques and procedures
used to determine or to analyze future returns from an investment
of capital in order to evaluate the capital recovery pattern and the
periodic earnings from the investment. The two basic tools for capital
investment analysis are (1) spreadsheet models (which I strongly prefer)
and (2) mathematical equations for calculating the present value or
internal rate of return of an investment. Mathematical methods suffer
from a lack of information that the decision maker ought to consider. A
spreadsheet model supplies all the needed information and has other
advantages as well.

capital recovery

Refers to recouping, or regaining, invested capital over
the life of an investment. The pattern of period-by-period capital recovery
is very important. In brief, capital recovery is the return of capital—
not the return on capital, which refers to the rate of earnings on the
amount of capital invested during the period. The returns from an
investment have to be sufficient to provide for both recovery of capital
and an adequate rate of earnings on unrecovered capital period by
period. Sorting out how much capital is recovered each period is relatively
easy if you use a spreadsheet model for capital investment analysis.
In contrast, using a mathematical method of analysis does not
provide this period-by-period capital recovery information, which is a
major disadvantage.


An expense that spreads the cost of an asset over its useful life.


The process of spreading a portfolio over many investments to
avoid excessive exposure to any one source of risk


Strategy designed to reduce risk by spreading the portfolio across many investments.

Spread Image 4


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.

Dollar Cost Averaging

A way of smoothing out your investment deposits by investing regularly. Instead of making one large deposit a year into your RRSP, you make smaller regular monthly deposits. If you are buying units in a mutual fund or segregated equity fund, you would end up buying more units in the month that values were low and less units in the month that values were higher. By spreading out your purchases, you don't have to worry about buying at the right time.

Effective margin (EM)

Used with SAT performance measures, the amount equaling the net earned spread, or
margin, of income on the assets in excess of financing costs for a given interest rate and prepayment rate

Expense ratio

The percentage of the assets that were spent to run a mutual fund (as of the last annual
statement). This includes expenses such as management and advisory fees, overhead costs and 12b-1
(distribution and advertising ) fees. The expense ratio does not include brokerage costs for trading the
portfolio, although these are reported as a percentage of assets to the SEC by the funds in a Statement of
Additional Information (SAI). the SAI is available to shareholders on request. Neither the expense ratio or the
SAI includes the transaction costs of spreads, normally incurred in unlisted securities and foreign stocks.
These two costs can add significantly to the reported expenses of a fund. The expense ratio is often termed an
Operating Expense Ratio (OER).

Fiat Money

Fiat Money is paper currency made legal tender by law or fiat. It is not backed by gold or silver and is not necessarily redeemable in coin. This practice has had widespread use for about the last 70 years. If governments produce too much of it, there is a loss of confidence. Even so, governments print it routinely when they need it. The value of fiat money is dependent upon the performance of the economy of the country which issued it. Canada's currency falls into this category.

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.

Flat price risk

Taking a position either long or short that does not involve spreading.

Flattening of the yield curve

A change in the yield curve where the spread between the yield on a long-term
and short-term Treasury has decreased. Compare steepening of the yield curve and butterfly shift.

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.

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.


An illustration is a computer-generated spreadsheet that takes into account a number of assumptions in order to show how a specific policy might perform for a specific individual.

Interest rate risk

The risk that a security's value changes due to a change in interest rates. For example, a
bond's price drops as interest rates rise. For a depository institution, also called funding risk, the risk that
spread income will suffer because of a change in interest rates.

Intermarket sector

spread The spread between the interest rate offered in two sectors of the bond market for
issues of the same maturity.


The London Interbank Offered Rate; the rate of interest that major international banks in London
charge each other for borrowings. Many variable interest rates in the U.S. are based on spreads off of LIBOR.
There are many different LIBOR tenors.

Market impact costs

Also called price impact costs, the result of a bid/ask spread and a dealer's price concession.

Overhead allocation

The process of spreading production overhead equitably over the volume of production of goods or services.


This subject of replacement of existing policies is covered because sometimes existing life insurance policies are unnecessarily replaced with new coverage resulting in a loss of valuable benefits. If someone suggests replacing your existing coverage, insist on having a comparison disclosure statement completed.
The most important policies to examine in detail are those which were issued in Canada prior to December 2, 1982. If you have a policy of this vintage with a significant cash surrender value, you may want to consider keeping it. It has special tax advantages over policies issued after December 2, 1982.
Basically, the difference is this. The cash surrender value of a pre December, 1982 policy can be converted to an annuity in accordance with the settlement options in the policy and as a result, the tax on any policy gain can be spread over the duration of the annuity. Since only the interest element of the annuity payment will be taxed, there will be less of a tax impact on the annuitant. Policies issued after December 2, 1982 which have their cash surrender value annuitized trigger a disposition and the annuitant must pay tax on the total policy gain immediately. If you still decide to replace existing coverage, don't cancel what you have until the new coverage has been issued.

Risk premium

The reward for holding the risky market portfolio rather than the risk-free asset. The spread
between Treasury and non-Treasury bonds of comparable maturity.


Most term loans in the Euromarket are made on a rollover basis, which means that the loan is
periodically repriced at an agreed spread over the appropriate, currently prevailing LIBO rate.


The difference between estimated transaction costs and actual transaction costs. The difference is
usually composed of revisions to price difference or spread and commission costs.

Steepening of the yield curve

A change in the yield curve where the spread between the yield on a long-term
and short-term Treasury has increased. Compare flattening of the yield curve and butterfly shift.


Purchase or sale of an equal number of puts and calls with the same terms at the same time.
Related: spread

Tight market

A tight market, as opposed to a thin market, is one in which volume is large, trading is active
and highly competitive, and spreads between bid and ask prices are narrow.

Trade on top of

Trade at a narrow or no spread in basis points relative to some other bond yield, usually
Treasury bonds.


Persons who take positions in securities and their derivatives with the objective of making profits.
Traders can make markets by trading the flow. When they do that, their objective is to earn the bid/ask spread.
Traders can also be of the sort who take proprietary positions whereby they seek to profit from the directional
movement of prices or spread positions.

Trading costs

Costs of buying and selling marketable securities and borrowing. Trading costs include
commissions, slippage, and the bid/ask spread. See: transaction costs.

Underwriting fee

The portion of the gross underwriting spread that compensates the securities firms that
underwrite a public offering for their underwriting risk.

Well diversified portfolio

A portfolio spread out over many securities in such a way that the weight in any
security is small. The risk of a well-diversified portfolio closely approximates the systemic risk of the overall
market, the unsystematic risk of each security having been diversified out of the portfolio.







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