Accounts Receivable Financing
The selling of a company’s accounts receivable, at a discount, to a factor, who then assumes the risk of the account debtors and receives cash as the debtors settle their accounts. A firm that sells its accounts receivable may not be confident of its ability to collect those debts, or might think that the cost of collecting that debt is more than the discount which must be provided to the factor when of selling their receivables. also called accounts receivable financing.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage
ARM. A mortgage with an interest rate that may change, usually in response to changes in the Treasury Bill rate or the prime rate. The purpose of the interest rate adjustment is primarily to bring the interest rate on the mortgage in line with market rates. The mortgage holder is protected by a maximum interest rate (called a ceiling), which might be reset annually. ARMs usually start with better rates than fixed rate mortgages, in order to compensate the borrower for the additional risk that future interest rate fluctuations will create.

All or None
A stipulation of a buy or sell order which instructs the broker to either fill the whole order or don’t fill it at all; but in the latter case, don’t cancel it, as the broker would if the order were fill or kill.
A term used in underwriting indicating that if the underwriter isn’t able to sell all the shares offered, then the offering will be canceled.
Alligator Spread
A position consisting of a combination of put options and call options that collectively create commissions so high that it is almost impossible to turn a profit regardless of which direction the underlier moves. The term originates from the idea of the spread “eating the investor alive.”

American Depositary Receipt
ADR. A negotiable certificate issued by a U.S. bank representing a specific number of shares of a foreign stock traded on a U.S. stock exchange. ADRs make it easier for Americans to invest in foreign companies, due to the widespread availability of dollar-denominated price information, lower transaction costs, and timely dividend distributions.

American Stock Exchange
AMEX. The second-largest stock exchange in the U.S., after the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In general, the listing rules are a little more lenient than those of the NYSE, and thus the AMEX has a larger representation of stocks and bonds issued by smaller companies than the NYSE. Some index options and interest rate options trading also occurs on the AMEX. The AMEX started as an alternative to the NYSE. It originated when brokers began meeting on the curb outside the NYSE in order to trade stocks that failed to meet the Big Board’s stringent listing requirements, but the AMEX now has its own trading floor. In 1998 the parent company of the NASDAQ purchased the AMEX and combined their markets, although the two continue to operate separately. also called The Curb.

American-Style Option
An option which can be exercised at any time between the purchase date and the expiration date. Most options in the U.S. are of this type. This is the opposite of a European-style option, which can only be exercised on the date of expiration. Since an American-style option provides an investor with a greater degree of flexibility than a European style option, the premium for an American style option is at least equal to or higher than the premium for a European-style option which otherwise has all the same features. also called American option.

Amortization Method
A distribution calculation method for making penalty-free early withdrawals from retirement accounts. An assumed earnings rate is applied over the duration of the individual’s life expectancy, while the life expectancy is determined using IRS tables. Generally, the rate must be within 120% of the applicable federal long-term rate. Once the rate is determined, the withdrawal remains fixed each year.
A distribution calculation method for making penalty-free early withdrawals from retirement accounts. An assumed earnings rate is applied over the duration of the individual’s life expectancy. Generally, the rate must be within 120% of the applicable federal long-term rate. Once the rate is determined, the withdrawal remains fixed each year.

Amortization of Premium
Charges made against the interest received on a debt in order to offset a premium paid for the debt. Thus, with each periodic payment, a debtor is not only paying back interest, but also part of his or her premium. This leads to higher periodic payments than in the case when only interest is paid out. However, a payment schedule which includes premium amortization makes debt management easier, especially if the principal is large. While paying just the interest each period will lead to a low outflow of cash each month, the debtor might not save enough to pay the principal. Thus, amortizing the premium each period also reduces the credit risk of the debt, since the creditor gets some part of the principal each time period, as opposed to allowing a debtor to forfeit on all of it at the maturity of the loan. Amortization of premium is a common feature in cases when a person or company takes on a large amount of debt at one time, such as a mortgage.

Anti-dilution Provision
The right of current shareholders to maintain their fractional ownership of a company by buying a proportional number of shares of any future issue of common stock. Most states consider antidilution provisions valid only if made explicit in a corporation’s charter. also called subscription privilege or subscription right or preemptive right.

Ask Size
The number of shares that are being offered for sale at the ask price, often expressed in terms of hundreds of shares. Some traders try to use the bid size and ask size to measure impending short term upward or downward pressure on the stock’s price. This can work for stocks on exchanges such as NYSE and AMEX, but is far less useful on Nasdaq, which has market makers ready to buy and sell shares, rather than specialists who balance books of buy and sell orders.

Assumable Mortgage
A mortgage that can be transfered with no change in terms. If an assumable mortgage is transferred, the buyer assumes all responsibility for repayment. The original lender must agree to the transfer of an assumable mortgage. The seller should receive a written release from the original lender stating that he/she has no responsibility for further payments. The buyer may have to meet certain standards to qualify and may be charged an assumption fee. Assumable mortgages can make a property more desirable if interest rates have risen, because the new buyer’s payments are at the original rate. By definition, assumable mortgages cannot have a due-on-sale clause.

Term of the Day – authorized shares
The maximum number of shares of stock that a company can issue. This number is specified initially in the company’s charter, but it can be changed with shareholder approval. Generally a much greater number of shares are authorized than required, to give the company flexibility to issue more stock as needed. also called authorized stock or shares authorized.