Investment Glossary

Welcome to Firstrade’s stock trading terms glossary. Do all the research you want. Use this glossary to look up the definition of any financial term.
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Dated Date

The day that interest starts to accrue on newly issued bonds.

Day Order

An order that is open for the duration of the day it was entered, expiring at the close of that day's trading.

Day Trade

The buying and selling of the same security on the same day.


See District Business Conduct Committee.


See Delivery Balance Order.


An individual or entity, such as a securities firm, that buys and sells security products and holds an inventory.


A common kind of corporate bond, often issued by a firm undergoing restructuring. Debentures are backed only by the credit quality or 'good will' of the issuer. With no collateral, these bonds carry a higher risk, and therefore offer a higher rate of return, when compared to bonds backed by asset.

Debit Balance

The amount of loan in a margin account.

Debt/Equity Ratio

A comparison of the assets provided by creditors to the assets provided by shareholders. It is calculated by dividing long-term debt by common stockholders' equity, and serves as an indicator of financial leverage.

Decile Rank

Performance of a mutual fund over time, rated on a scale of 1 to 10. One indicates that a mutual fund's return was in the top 10% of funds being compared, while 10 means the return was in the worst 10%.

Declaration Date

The date on which a firm's directors meet and announce the date and amount of the next dividend payout.

Deed of Trust

The trust agreement drawn up when a corporation plans to issue bonds or other debt securities. It includes information such as assets, interest payments, maturity dates, etc.


An issuer's failure to pay interest on a debt security. Treasury securities are considered default-free.

Defensive Stocks

Stocks whose prices stay stable when the market declines. Defensive stocks are usually those of industries that are less affected by recessions, such as stocks of food and utility companies.

Deferred (Income) Taxes

An amount allocated during the period to cover tax liabilities that have not yet been paid.

Delivery Balance Order (DBO)

An order issued by the clearing corporation to any firm that has delivery or sale position remaining after the day's trades are netted.


A centralized location for keeping securities on deposit.

Depository Trust Company (DTC)

A corporation owned by banks and brokerage firms that holds securities, arranges for their receipt and delivery, and arranges for payments in settlement.


Depreciation is a non-cash charge that represents the decline in the value of fixed assets due to deterioration, age, or obsolescence.


The securities whose value are derived from or linked to an underlying stock, bond, currency or mortgage.

Derivative Security

A financial security such as an option or a future, whose value is derived in part from the value of another security. For example, the price of an options contract is tied closely to the market price of the underlying stock.

Designated Order Turnaround (DOT)

An order routing and execution reporting system of the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange).

Diagonal Spread

A spread of the same class of options but with different exercise prices and different expiration dates.

Difference from S&P

A mutual fund's return minus the performance in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index for the same period.


The fraction of a point added to the purchase price or subtracted from the sale price of odd lot orders. The charge represents compensation to the dealer/specialist for executing the odd lot order.


Diminution in the proportion of income each share is entitled to when new shares are issued.


A corporate board member elected by stockholders to establish corporate policies, including the selection of the management team, and payments of dividends.


When the market price of a newly issued security is lower than the issue price.

Discount Bond

Bonds that are selling at a current price below its face value. Bonds sell at a discount when the coupon on the bond is lower than prevailing rates on similar investments.

Discount Rate

The interest rate at which member banks may borrow short term funds from the Federal Reserve Bank.

Disposable Income

Disposable income is the total amount available for both regular expenses and investment opportunities. It is calculated as the income available after taxes have been deducted.


The payments of dividends or capital gains. Funds are required to distribute gains (if any) to shareholders at least once per year.

District Business Conduct Committee (DBCC)

The local enforcement division of the FINRA that is charged with enforcing FINRA, MSRB and federal securities laws, rules and regulations.


When two or more averages or indices move in different directions, failing to show a market trend.


The process of dividing investments among a variety of securities to lower or even eliminate risk.


A portion of a corporation's earnings paid to stockholders on a per-share basis. Preferred stock is supposed to pay a regular and prescribed dividend amount. Common stock pays varying amounts as determined the company.

Dividend Reinvestment

Automatic reinvestment of shareholder dividends into more shares of a company's stock. This is often done without having to pay commissions.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan

Automatic reinvestment of shareholder dividends in more shares of a company's stock without commission. Dividend reinvestment plans allow shareholders to accumulate capital over the long-term using dollar cost averaging.

Dividend Yield (Funds)

Indicated yield represents return on a share of a mutual fund held over the past year.

Dividend Yield (Stocks)

Indicated yield represents annual dividends divided by current stock price.

Dividends per Share

Dividends paid for the past year divided by the number of common shares outstanding. The number of shares outstanding is determined by a weighted-average of shares outstanding over the specified year.


See Dow Jones Industrial Average.


See Do-Not-Reduce.

Dollar Cost Averaging

An investment strategy used in mutual funds by which clients invest a fixed dollar amount periodically, regardless of the performance of the fund. Since mutual funds permit the buying of fractional shares, the fixed amount will acquire more shares when the fund decreases in price, and fewer shares when the price rises.


Foreign securities that pay interest and principal in U.S. dollars.

Do-Not-Reduce (DNR)

An order instruction that informs the broker not to reduce the price of the order by the amount of dividends, if and when paid by the corporation.


See Designated Order Turnaround.

Double Taxation

Corporations pay taxes on revenue before paying dividends, then shareholders pay taxes again as dividends are considered taxable income, hence the term "double" taxation.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)

Also known as the Dow, it is the most famous and widely accepted U.S. index of stocks, containing 30 stocks from various industries that trade on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.


A negative change in the ratings for a rated security.


A listed equity trade whose price is lower than that of the last different sale.

Drag on Returns (Drag Grade)

The negative impact on returns from sales charges, annual expenses and portfolio turnover.


See Depository Trust Company.

Due Diligence (Meeting)

The meeting between corporate officials and underwriters prior to the issuance of the security. During these meetings, contents of the prospectus are thoroughly discussed to ensure accuracy.


The length of time it will take to recoup the principal of the investment, used to measure part of the risk in a bond or bond fund. Duration tells you how long it will take to recoup your principal. If a bond or a bond fund has a duration of 6 years, a 1% drop in interest rates will raise its value by 6%, while a 1% rise in interest rates will lower its price by 6%.