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To invest is to allocate money in the expectation of some benefit in the future.
In finance, the benefit from an investment is called a return. The return may consist of a gain (or loss) realized from the sale of a property or an investment, unrealized capital appreciation (or depreciation), or investment income such as dividends, interest, rental income etc., or a combination of capital gain and income. The return may also include currency gains or losses due to changes in the foreign currency exchange rates.
Investors generally expect higher returns from riskier investments. When a low risk investment is made, the return is also generally low. Similarly, high risk comes with high returns.
Investors, particularly novices, are often advised to adopt a particular investment strategy and diversify their portfolio. Diversification has the statistical effect of reducing overall risk.
An investor may bear a risk of loss of some or all of their capital invested. Investment differs from arbitrage, in which profit is generated without investing capital or bearing risk.
Savings bear the (normally remote) risk that the financial provider may default.
Foreign currency savings also bear foreign exchange risk: if the currency of a savings account differs from the account holder's home currency, then there is the risk that the exchange rate between the two currencies will move unfavorably, so that the value of the savings account decreases, measured in the account holder's home currency.
In contrast with savings, investments tend to carry more risk, in the form of both a wider variety of risk factors, and a greater level of uncertainty.
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The Code of Hammurabi (around 1700 BC) provided a legal framework for investment, establishing a means for the pledge of collateral by codifying debtor and creditor rights in regard to pledged land. Punishments for breaking financial obligations were not as severe as those for crimes involving injury or death.
In the medieval Islamic world, the qirad was a major financial instrument. This was an arrangement between one or more investors and an agent where the investors entrusted capital to an agent who then traded with it in hopes of making profit. Both parties then received a previously settled portion of the profit, though the agent was not liable for any losses. Many will notice that the qirad is almost identical to the institution of the commenda later used in western Europe, though whether the qirad transformed into the commenda, or the two institutions evolved independently cannot be stated with certainty.
In the early 1900s, purchasers of stocks, bonds, and other securities were described in media, academia, and commerce as speculators. Since the Wall Street crash of 1929, and particularly by the 1950s, the term investment had come to denote the more conservative end of the securities spectrum, while speculation was applied by financial brokers and their advertising agencies to higher risk securities much in vogue at that time.Since the last half of the 20th century, the terms speculation and speculator have specifically referred to higher risk ventures.
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A common type of investments is the delegation of economic value evaluated in terms of money with the expectation of a later return of a different – desirably higher – value also evaluated in money. [ additional citation(s) needed ]
A value investor buys assets that they believe to be undervalued (and sells overvalued ones). To identify undervalued securities, a value investor uses analysis of the financial reports of the issuer to evaluate the security. Value investors employ accounting ratios, such as earnings per share and sales growth, to identify securities trading at prices below their worth.
Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham are notable examples of value investors. Graham and Dodd's seminal work, Security Analysis, was written in the wake of the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
The price to earnings ratio (P/E), or earnings multiple, is a particularly significant and recognized fundamental ratio, with a function of dividing the share price of stock, by its earnings per share. This will provide the value representing the sum investors are prepared to expend for each dollar of company earnings. This ratio is an important aspect, due to its capacity as measurement for the comparison of valuations of various companies. A stock with a lower P/E ratio will cost less per share than one with a higher P/E, taking into account the same level of financial performance; therefore, it essentially means a low P/E is the preferred option.
An instance in which the price to earnings ratio has a lesser significance is when companies in different industries are compared. For example, although it is reasonable for a telecommunications stock to show a P/E in the low teens, in the case of hi-tech stock, a P/E in the 40s range is not unusual. When making comparisons, the P/E ratio can give you a refined view of a particular stock valuation.
For investors paying for each dollar of a company's earnings, the P/E ratio is a significant indicator, but the price-to-book ratio (P/B) is also a reliable indication of how much investors are willing to spend on each dollar of company assets. In the process of the P/B ratio, the share price of a stock is divided by its net assets; any intangibles, such as goodwill, are not taken into account. It is a crucial factor of the price-to-book ratio, due to it indicating the actual payment for tangible assets and not the more difficult valuation of intangibles. Accordingly, the P/B could be considered a comparatively conservative metric.
Investments are often made indirectly through intermediary financial institutions. These intermediaries include pension funds, banks, and insurance companies. They may pool money received from a number of individual end investors into funds such as investment trusts, unit trusts, SICAVs, etc. to make large-scale investments. Each individual investor holds an indirect or direct claim on the assets purchased, subject to charges levied by the intermediary, which may be large and varied.
Approaches to investment sometimes referred to in marketing of collective investments include dollar cost averaging and market timing.
Investors famous for their success include Warren Buffett. In the March 2013 edition of Forbes magazine, Warren Buffett ranked number 2 in their Forbes 400 list.Buffett has advised in numerous articles and interviews that a good investment strategy is long-term and due diligence is the key to investing in the right assets.
Edward O. Thorp was a highly successful hedge fund manager in the 1970s and 1980s who spoke of a similar approach.
The investment principles of both of these investors have points in common with the Kelly criterion for money management.Numerous interactive calculators which use the Kelly criterion can be found online.
Free cash flow measures the cash a company generates which is available to its debt and equity investors, after allowing for reinvestment in working capital and capital expenditure. High and rising free cash flow therefore tend to make a company more attractive to investors.
The debt-to-equity ratio is an indicator of capital structure. A high proportion of debt, reflected in a high debt-to-equity ratio, tends to make a company's earnings, free cash flow, and ultimately the returns to its investors, more risky or volatile. Investors compare a company's debt-to-equity ratio with those of other companies in the same industry, and examine trends in debt-to-equity ratios and free cash flow.
Finance is a term for matters regarding the management, creation, and study of money and investments. Specifically, it deals with the questions of how and why an individual, company or government acquires the money needed - called capital in the company context - and how they spend or invest that money. Finance is then often split per the following major categories: corporate finance, personal finance and public finance.
Fundamental analysis, in accounting and finance, is the analysis of a business's financial statements ; health; and competitors and markets. It also considers the overall state of the economy and factors including interest rates, production, earnings, employment, GDP, housing, manufacturing and management. There are two basic approaches that can be used: bottom up analysis and top down analysis. These terms are used to distinguish such analysis from other types of investment analysis, such as quantitative and technical.
A financial market is a market in which people trade financial securities and derivatives at low transaction costs. Some of the securities include stocks and bonds, and precious metals.
Financial capital is any economic resource measured in terms of money used by entrepreneurs and businesses to buy what they need to make their products or to provide their services to the sector of the economy upon which their operation is based, i.e. retail, corporate, investment banking, etc.
Discounting is a financial mechanism in which a debtor obtains the right to delay payments to a creditor, for a defined period of time, in exchange for a charge or fee. Essentially, the party that owes money in the present purchases the right to delay the payment until some future date. The discount, or charge, is the difference between the original amount owed in the present and the amount that has to be paid in the future to settle the debt.
In finance, equity is ownership of assets that may have debts or other liabilities attached to them. Equity is measured for accounting purposes by subtracting liabilities from the value of an asset. For example, if someone owns a car worth $9,000 and owes $3,000 on the loan used to buy the car, then the difference of $6,000 is equity. Equity can apply to a single asset, such as a car or house, or to an entire business. A business that needs to start up or expand its operations can sell its equity in order to raise cash that does not have to be repaid on a set schedule.
In finance, a convertible bond or convertible note or convertible debt is a type of bond that the holder can convert into a specified number of shares of common stock in the issuing company or cash of equal value. It is a hybrid security with debt- and equity-like features. It originated in the mid-19th century, and was used by early speculators such as Jacob Little and Daniel Drew to counter market cornering.
In finance, valuation is the process of determining the present value (PV) of an asset. Valuations can be done on assets or on liabilities. Valuations are needed for many reasons such as investment analysis, capital budgeting, merger and acquisition transactions, financial reporting, taxable events to determine the proper tax liability.
In financial markets, stock valuation is the method of calculating theoretical values of companies and their stocks. The main use of these methods is to predict future market prices, or more generally, potential market prices, and thus to profit from price movement – stocks that are judged undervalued are bought, while stocks that are judged overvalued are sold, in the expectation that undervalued stocks will overall rise in value, while overvalued stocks will generally decrease in value.
In economics and accounting, the cost of capital is the cost of a company's funds, or, from an investor's point of view "the required rate of return on a portfolio company's existing securities". It is used to evaluate new projects of a company. It is the minimum return that investors expect for providing capital to the company, thus setting a benchmark that a new project has to meet.
Enterprise value (EV), total enterprise value (TEV), or firm value (FV) is an economic measure reflecting the market value of a business. It is a sum of claims by all claimants: creditors and shareholders. Enterprise value is one of the fundamental metrics used in business valuation, financial modeling, accounting, portfolio analysis, and risk analysis.
Value investing is an investment paradigm that involves buying securities that appear underpriced by some form of fundamental analysis. The various forms of value investing derive from the investment philosophy first taught by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd at Columbia Business School in 1928, and subsequently developed in their 1934 text Security Analysis.
In finance, leverage, referred to as gearing in the United Kingdom and Australia, is any technique involving the use of debt rather than fresh equity in the purchase of an asset, with the expectation that the after-tax profit to equity holders from the transaction will exceed the borrowing cost, frequently by several multiples — hence the provenance of the word from the effect of a lever in physics, a simple machine which amplifies the application of a comparatively small input force into a correspondingly greater output force. Normally, the lender will set a limit on how much risk it is prepared to take and will set a limit on how much leverage it will permit, and would require the acquired asset to be provided as collateral security for the loan. For example, for a residential property the finance provider may lend up to, say, 80% of the property's market value, for a commercial property it may be 70%, while on shares it may lend up to, say, 60% or none at all on certain volatile shares.
Business valuation is a process and a set of procedures used to estimate the economic value of an owner's interest in a business. Valuation is used by financial market participants to determine the price they are willing to pay or receive to effect a sale of a business. In addition to estimating the selling price of a business, the same valuation tools are often used by business appraisers to resolve disputes related to estate and gift taxation, divorce litigation, allocate business purchase price among business assets, establish a formula for estimating the value of partners' ownership interest for buy-sell agreements, and many other business and legal purposes such as in shareholders deadlock, divorce litigation and estate contest. In some cases, the court would appoint a forensic accountant as the joint expert doing the business valuation.
In economics, valuation using multiples, or “relative valuation”, is a process that consists of:
Financial statement analysis is the process of reviewing and analyzing a company's financial statements to make better economic decisions to earn income in future. These statements include the income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows, notes to accounts and a statement of changes in equity. Financial statement analysis is a method or process involving specific techniques for evaluating risks, performance, financial health, and future prospects of an organization.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to finance:
There are two basic financial market participant categories, Investor vs. Speculator and Institutional vs. Retail. Action in financial markets by central banks is usually regarded as intervention rather than participation.
A financial ratio or accounting ratio is a relative magnitude of two selected numerical values taken from an enterprise's financial statements. Often used in accounting, there are many standard ratios used to try to evaluate the overall financial condition of a corporation or other organization. Financial ratios may be used by managers within a firm, by current and potential shareholders (owners) of a firm, and by a firm's creditors. Financial analysts use financial ratios to compare the strengths and weaknesses in various companies. If shares in a company are traded in a financial market, the market price of the shares is used in certain financial ratios.
Corporate finance is the area of finance that deals with sources of funding, the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize or increase shareholder value.
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