Financial Terms
Z score

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Definition of Z score

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Z score

Statistical measure that quantifies the distance (measured in standard deviations) a data point is from
the mean of a data set. Separately, z score is the output from a credit-strength test that gauges the likelihood of

Related Terms:

Acid-test ratio

Also called the quick ratio, the ratio of current assets minus inventories, accruals, and prepaid
items to current liabilities.

Acquisition of assets

A merger or consolidation in which an acquirer purchases the selling firm's assets.

Arithmetic average (mean) rate of return

Arithmetic mean return.

Arithmetic mean return

An average of the subperiod returns, calculated by summing the subperiod returns
and dividing by he number of subperiods.


Any possession that has value in an exchange.

Asset/equity ratio

The ratio of total assets to stockholder equity.

Asset/liability management

Also called surplus management, the task of managing funds of a financial
institution to accomplish the two goals of a financial institution:
1) to earn an adequate return on funds invested, and
2) to maintain a comfortable surplus of assets beyond liabilities.

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Asset activity ratios

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

Asset allocation decision

The decision regarding how an institution's funds should be distributed among the
major classes of assets in which it may invest.

Asset-backed security

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

Asset-based financing

Methods of financing in which lenders and equity investors look principally to the
cash flow from a particular asset or set of assets for a return on, and the return of, their financing.

Asset classes

Categories of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate and foreign securities.

Asset-coverage test

A bond indenture restriction that permits additional borrowing on if the ratio of assets to
debt does not fall below a specified minimum.

Asset for asset swap

creditors exchange the debt of one defaulting borrower for the debt of another
defaulting borrower.

Asset pricing model

A model for determining the required rate of return on an asset.

Asset substitution

A firm's investing in assets that are riskier than those that the debtholders expected.

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Asset substitution problem

Arises when the stockholders substitute riskier assets for the firm's existing
assets and expropriate value from the debtholders.

Asset swap

An interest rate swap used to alter the cash flow characteristics of an institution's assets so as to
provide a better match with its iabilities.

Asset turnover

The ratio of net sales to total assets.

Asset pricing model

A model, such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), that determines the required
rate of return on a particular asset.


A firm's productive resources.

Assets requirements

A common element of a financial plan that describes projected capital spending and the
proposed uses of net working capital.

Average (across-day) measures

An estimation of price that uses the average or representative price of a
large number of trades.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

An international bank headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, which
serves as a forum for monetary cooperation among several European central banks, the Bank of Japan, and the
U.S. Federal Reserve System. Founded in 1930 to handle the German payment of World War I reparations, it
now monitors and collects data on international banking activity and promulgates rules concerning
international bank regulation.


State of being unable to pay debts. Thus, the ownership of the firm's assets is transferred from
the stockholders to the bondholders.

Bankruptcy cost view

The argument that expected indirect and direct bankruptcy costs offset the other
benefits from leverage so that the optimal amount of leverage is less than 100% debt finaning.

Bankruptcy risk

The risk that a firm will be unable to meet its debt obligations. Also referred to as default or insolvency risk.

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Bankruptcy view

The argument that expected bankruptcy costs preclude firms from being financed entirely
with debt.

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%.

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.

Bond points

A conventional unit of measure for bond prices set at $10 and equivalent to 1% of the $100 face
value of the bond. A price of 80 means that the bond is selling at 80% of its face, or par value.

Capital asset pricing model (CAPM)

An economic theory that describes the relationship between risk and
expected return, and serves as a model for the pricing of risky securities. The CAPM asserts that the only risk
that is priced by rational investors is systematic risk, because that risk cannot be eliminated by diversification.
The CAPM says that the expected return of a security or a portfolio is equal to the rate on a risk-free security
plus a risk premium.

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.

Cash settlement contracts

Futures contracts, such as stock index futures, that settle for cash, not involving
the delivery of the underlying.

Committee, AIMR Performance Presentation Standards Implementation Committee

The Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR)'s Performance Presentation standards Implementation
Committee is charged with the responsibility to interpret, revise and update the AIMR Performance
Presentation standards (AIMR-PPS(TM)) for portfolio performance presentations.

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.

Consumer credit

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


Lender of money.

Current assets

Value of cash, accounts receivable, inventories, marketable securities and other assets that
could be converted to cash in less than 1 year.

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.

Demand line of credit

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

Dynamic asset allocation

An asset allocation strategy in which the asset mix is mechanistically shifted in
response to -changing market conditions, as in a portfolio insurance strategy, for example.

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

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


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

Evergreen credit

Revolving credit without maturity.

Exchange of assets

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

Extrapolative statistical models

Models that apply a formula to historical data and project results for a
future period. Such models include the simple linear trend model, the simple exponential model, and the
simple autoregressive model.

Fair-and-equitable test

A set of requirements for a plan of reorganization to be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Feasible set of portfolios

The collection of all feasible portfolios.

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 assets

Claims on real assets.

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 asset

Long-lived property owned by a firm that is used by a firm in the production of its income.
Tangible fixed assets include real estate, plant, and equipment. Intangible fixed assets include patents,
trademarks, and customer recognition.

Fixed asset turnover ratio

The ratio of sales to fixed assets.

Foreign tax credit

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

Full faith-and-credit obligations

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

Geometric mean return

Also called the time weighted rate of return, a measure of the compounded rate of
growth of the initial portfolio market value during the evaluation period, assuming that all cash distributions
are reinvested in the portfolio. It is computed by taking the geometric average of the portfolio subperiod

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.

Gold standard

An international monetary system in which currencies are defined in terms of their gold
content and payment imbalances between countries are settled in gold. It was in effect from about 1870-1914.

Good delivery and settlement procedures

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

Graham-Harvey Measure 1

Performance measure invented by John Graham and Campbell Harvey. The
idea is to lever a fund's portfolio to exactly match the volatility of the S and P 500. The difference between the
fund's levered return and the S&P 500 return is the performance measure.

Graham-Harvey Measure 2

Performance measure invented by John Graham and Campbell Harvey. The
idea is to lever the S&P 500 portfolio to exactly match the volatility of the fund. The difference between the
fund's return and the levered S&P 500 return is the performance measure.

Immediate settlement

Delivery and settlement of securities within five business days.

Input-output tables

Tables that indicate how much each industry requires of the production of each other
industry in order to produce each dollar of its own output.

Intangible asset

A legal claim to some future benefit, typically a claim to future cash. Goodwill, intellectual
property, patents, copyrights, and trademarks are examples of intangible assets.

Interest coverage test

A debt limitation that prohibits the issuance of additional long-term debt if the issuer's
interest coverage would, as a result of the issue, fall below some specified minimum.

Internal measure

The number of days that a firm can finance operations without additional cash income.

Investment tax credit

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

Legal bankruptcy

A legal proceeding for liquidating or reorganizing a business.

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.

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.

Liquid asset

Asset that is easily and cheaply turned into cash - notably cash itself and short-term securities.

Long-term assets

Value of property, equipment and other capital assets minus the depreciation. This is an
entry in the bookkeeping records of a company, usually on a "cost" basis and thus does not necessarily reflect
the market value of the assets.

Limitation on asset dispositions

A bond covenant that restricts in some way a firm's ability to sell major assets.

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.

Markowitz efficient set of portfolios

The collection of all efficient portfolios, graphically referred to as the
Markowitz efficient frontier.


The expected value of a random variable.

Mean of the sample

The arithmetic average; that is, the sum of the observations divided by the number of

Mean-variance analysis

Evaluation of risky prospects based on the expected value and variance of possible outcomes.

Mean-variance criterion

The selection of portfolios based on the means and variances of their returns. The
choice of the higher expected return portfolio for a given level of variance or the lower variance portfolio for
a given expected return.

Mean-variance efficient portfolio

Related: Markowitz efficient portfolio

Measurement error

Errors in measuring an explanatory variable in a regression that leads to biases in
estimated parameters.

Mutual offset

A system, such as the arrangement between the CME and SIMEX, which allows trading
positions established on one exchange to be offset or transferred on another exchange.

Net asset value (NAV)

The value of a fund's investments. For a mutual fund, the net asset value per share
usually represents the fund's market price, subject to a possible sales or redemption charge. For a closed end
fund, the market price may vary significantly from the net asset value.

Net assets

The difference between total assets on the one hand and current liabilities and noncapitalized longterm
liabilities on the other hand.

Non-reproducible assets

A tangible asset with unique physical properties, like a parcel of land, a mine, or a
work of art.


Elimination of a long or short position by making an opposite transaction. Related: liquidation.

Opportunity set

The possible expected return and standard deviation pairs of all portfolios that can be
constructed from a given set of assets.

Other current assets

Value of non-cash assets, including prepaid expenses and accounts receivable, due
within 1 year.

Performance measurement

The calculation of the return realized by a money manager over some time interval.


The smallest unit of price change quoted or, one one-hundredth of a percent. Related: minimum price
fluctuation and tick.

Point and figure chart

A price-only chart that takes into account only whole integer changes in price, i.e., a
2-point change. point and figure charting disregards the element of time and is solely used to record changes
in price.







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