Now that you know a little more about the stock market, and you have decided to try your hand at investment, you should be more concerned with understanding the jargon you will hear on the trading room floor. Although you probably will not find yourself amid a group of screaming stockbrokers on Wall Street (and these days, most of the trading is done by computer anyway), knowing that learning to talk the talk is part of walking the walk.
Margins, Spreads, And Other Condiments
Okay, so it is margins, not margarines, but it sounds very similar. In order to understand the stock market, especially on Forex, you need to speak not a language meant for common communication, but the language of trade. For instance, when you think of a margin, for many this means a variable – like the “margin of error” in a statistic.
However, in trade, it refers to the sum of money borrowed from a broker in order to purchase stocks when the market is on a downtrend. Then, when the value begins its next upswing, you sell the stock at the higher price, pay back the margin (along with the premium accrued), and retain the profit.
When you buy on margin, the money lent by the stockbroker is referred to as a margin account. The margin account is provisional based on the value of the stock. Occasionally, if the value of the stocks purchased should drop too low for the safety margin set forth by the broker, the agent will request that more money be deposited into the margin account to make up for loss. This is referred to as a margin call.
In some trades, the market value does not come into play. For instance, a forward trade is set up between two individuals or two companies outside the open market. It involves a process of negotiation and an eventual compromise in price. There is usually a bid made – the offer to buy a commodity at a certain price – and an asking price or offer – the price for which the other business entity is willing to sell the securities or other holdings. The difference between these two purchase numbers is referred to as the spread.
If the spread cannot be narrowed and eventually closed, no deal can be made. This agreed-upon price is called the forward price, and all details involved in the trade process when this type of transaction takes place are detailed in a contract and referred to as forward points. Usually, the forward price is outlined as available for a particular date, and should the transaction not be completed on this date (referred to as the transaction date), then the trade must be renegotiated.
Jobbers, Yards, And Other “Brit” Terms
One of the major foreign markets that Americans trading on Forex will encounter is that of the British. While several other terms relating to the stock market will be similar because of the common language, there are some specific terms that are very different in the British trading vocabulary.
For example, in the United States, stockbrokers who hold onto securities purchased at low prices for the purpose of selling them to clients in a higher priced market (so that the client can turn around and resell them for the profit on the open market) are called market-makers. However, in Britain, this type of investor is simply referred to as a “jobber”.
Another term you will want to be familiar with is “yard”. This does not refer to a green patch of land, a measurement in inches, or even 36 of something. The term is used in reference to quantity of currency rather than value and is equivalent to one million units of the currency in question. In other words, you can have a yard of dollars or a yard of yen, and though it is the same quantity of bills, coins, or whatever physical currency is used, it is not necessarily equivalent in value. In Britain, they do not use the Euro, and they do not use the U.S. dollar. They have chosen to still use the pound sterling, a currency that has been used in the country for hundreds of years. However, Britain is currently on a path to make the conversion to the Euro within the next five years.
Open And Shut
In the stock market, there are various types of orders that can be placed to help protect you from making a bad investment or to limit the amount you pay for a certain security or other commodity. For instance, if you have made a bad investment and do not want to reinvest in a particular security, you should sell all shares of that stock, regardless of taking on a small loss. This action is referred to as closing a position. On the contrary, if you are doing well with your investment, you might participate in a rollover, simply reinvesting any earnings in additional shares of the stock or security.
An open order is exactly what it sounds like, meaning that the order remains pending until it is either executed by your stockbroker or canceled by you as the client. A stop order would cancel any pending orders you have placed with your stockbroker. You also have options like One Cancels the Other Orders. These allow you to have interest in several commodities, leaving orders with your stockbroker to buy all of them, should they drop to a certain price. Then, should one of those reach this preset low price, your stockbroker will follow your direction and invest your money in that particular security, followed by a cancellation of all additional orders.
When a broker gives you an estimate on the price for a particular stock or commodity, it is considered a quote. A quote is never completely accurate and is usually referred to as a spot price, as the value of a security can change within a few seconds. However, it is as close to accurate as can be expected. When you put in an order, the broker then processes the fill, or completion, of that order. The actual value at which the trade is completed is called the fill price. The completion of a trade or purchase, referred to as a settlement, can also be called the execution of a transaction or realization of an order. As you see, there are a lot of terms to take into consideration, and we have not even begun to consider terms used in some of the tougher areas of the market. Next, we will consider some specialized, more complex trading options that you can use on Forex to take advantage of the volatility of the market and the constantly varying exchange rates.