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Terms starting with 'W'
W
A NASDAQ symbol specifying that a particular security is a warrant.

W-2 Form
The form that an employer must send to an employee and the IRS at the end of the year. The W-2 form reports an employee's annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from his or her paycheck.

W-4 Form
A form completed by an employee to indicate his or her tax situation (exemptions, status, etc.) to the employer. The W-4 form tells the employer the correct amount of tax to withhold from an employee's paycheck.

Waiting Period
The time between the receipt of the initial preliminary prospectus (red herring) and the approval of the final prospectus.

Wall of Worry
A phrase used to describe a bullish market trend in the face of expected negative uncertainties.

Wall Street
1. The street in New York City where the NYSE is located.

2. The NYSE itself.

3. Also the collective name for the financial institutions in New York City, including stock exchanges, banks, brokerages, commodity markets, money markets, etc.

Wallflower
A stock that has fallen out of favor with investors and, consequently, tends to trade at a low P/E. Also called orphan stock.

Wallpaper
The name given to stocks, bonds and other securities that have become worthless.

Walrasian Market
An economic model of a market process in which orders are collected into batches of either buys or sells and then analyzed to determine a clearing price that will decide the market price. Also referred to as "call market."

War Babies
A name given to securities in companies that are defense contractors. Also known as defense stocks.

War Bond
Debt securities issued by a government for the purpose of financing military operations during times of war.


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War Chest
Slang for the reserve of cash a corporation sets aside to attempt a takeover or to defend against a hostile takeover.

Warehouse Receipt
A receipt used in futures markets to guarantee the quantity and quality of a particular commodity being stored within an approved facility.

Warehousing
1. A procedure whereby a company gradually builds up a holding of shares in a company it wishes to takeover in the future.

2. The process of storing goods within a storage facility.

Warrant
A derivative security that gives the holder the right to purchase securities (usually equity) from the issuer at a specific price within a certain time frame.

Warrant Coverage
An agreement between a company and its shareholders whereby the company issues warrants equal to some percentage of the dollar amount of the shareholder's investment.

Warrant Premium
The premium paid for the rights associated with a warrant.

Warren Buffett
Known as "the Oracle of Omaha," Buffett is Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and arguably the greatest investor of all time. His wealth fluctuates with the performance of the market, but for the last few years he has been reported to be worth over $30 billion, making him the second richest man in the world.

Wash
A situation where two events or actions have the effect of nullifying each other. In terms of investment, this could be when gains in a portfolio equal the losses.

Wash Sale
An illegal transaction an investor makes by simultaneously buying and selling a security through two different brokers, thereby creating the illusion of activity.

Wash Sale Rule
An IRS Rule prohibiting a taxpayer from claiming a loss on the sale of an investment when the same investment was purchased within 30 days before or after the sale date. Also know as the 30-Day Wash Sale Rule.


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Wash Trading
An illegal stock trading practice where an investor simultaneously buys and sells shares in a company through two different brokers.

Wasting Asset
A derivative security that loses value due to time decay.

Watch List
A list of securities being monitored closely by a brokerage or exchange in order to spot irregularities.

Watered Stock
A stock that represents drastically overvalued assets.

Wave
A metaphor for daily market activity that goes against the weekly market tide.

Weak Form Efficiency
One of the different degrees of efficient market hypothesis (EMH) that claims all past prices of a stock are reflected in today's stock price. Therefore, technical analysis cannot be used to predict and beat a market.

Weak Hands
The intention of futures contract holders not to receive delivery of the underlying.

Weak Sister
A slang term for an undependable or weak link.

Wealth Added Index - WAI
A metric designed by the Steward Stern &; Co. consulting firm that attempts to measure wealth created (or destroyed) for shareholders. The WAI takes into account more variables than just the profits or share growth of a company. According to this theory, wealth is created only if the returns of a company exceed its cost of equity.

Wealth Management
A professional service which is the combination of financial/investment advice, accounting/tax services, and legal/estate planning for one fee.


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Weather Derivative
An instrument used by companies to hedge against the risk of weather-related losses. The investor who sells a weather derivative accepts the risk by charging the buyer a premium. If nothing happens, then the investor makes a profit. However, if the weather turns bad, then the company claims the money.

Wedge
A technical chart pattern composed of two converging lines connecting a series of peaks and troughs.
Illustration for Wedge

Weekend Effect
A common occurrence in which stock prices tend to be negative Friday through Monday.

Weighted Alpha
Alpha is a measure of how much a stock has risen or fallen over a certain period, usually one year. By weighting it we put more weight to recent activity and less weight on earlier movement. This technique is popular with technical analysts.

Weighted Average Cost of Capital - WACC
A calculation of a firm's cost of capital that weights each category of capital proportionately. Included in the WACC calculation are all capital sources, including common stock, preferred stock, bonds, and any other long-term debt.WACC is calculated by multiplying the cost of each capital component by its proportional weighting and then summing:
Illustration for Weighted Average Cost of Capital - WACC

Weighted Average Life -WAL
The average number of years that each dollar of unpaid principal due on a loan or mortgage remains outstanding. It is a measure of portfolio quality.

Weighted Average Market Capitalization
A stock market index weighted by the value of all shares outstanding for each stock.

Well's Notice
Notifications issued by regulators to inform individuals and companies of completed investigations where infractions have been discovered.

When Issued - WI
A transaction which is made conditionally because a security has been authorized, but not yet issued.

Whipsaw
A condition where an investor's security transaction is quickly followed by an opposite reaction. Sometimes referred to as "being whipped".


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Whisper Number
Unofficial and unpublished earnings per share forecasts that circulate among the professionals and wealthy investors on Wall Street. Whisper numbers are especially useful when they differ from the consensus forecast.

Whisper Stock
Shares in a company that is rumored to be the target of a takeover offer.

Whistle Blower
An employee who has inside knowledge of illegal activities occurring within his or her organization and reports these to the public.

White Elephant
Any investment that nobody wants because it is unprofitable.

White Knight
A company that makes a friendly takeover offer to a target company that is being faced with a hostile takeover from a separate party.

White Paper
An informational document issued by companies trying to promote or highlight the significance of a planned product or service.

White Squire
Very similar to a "white knight," but instead of purchasing a majority interest, the squire purchases a lesser interest in the target firm.

White-Shoe Firm
Slang for broker-dealers who are strongly against hostile takeover practices.

Whitemail
A strategy that a takeover target uses to try and thwart an undesired takeover attempt. The target firm issues a large amount of shares at below-market prices, which the acquiring company will then have to purchase if it wishes to complete the takeover.

Whole Loan
A term used to distinguish between an original mortgage loan and a pass-through security.


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Wholesale Banking
Banking services between merchant banks and other financial institutions.

Wholly Owned Subsidiary
A subsidiary whose parent company owns 100% of its common stock.

Whoops
Slang for the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS), which made the record books with the largest municipal bond default in history.

Wide Basis
A condition found in futures markets in which the spot price of underlying commodities is not close to the futures price of the same contract.

Wide Open
The situation at the opening of a trading day when there is a wide spread between the bid and ask prices for a security.

Widow and Orphan Stock
Relatively low-risk stocks from well-known firms that pay high dividends.

Wild Card Option
An option associated with treasury bond or treasury note futures contracts that permits the short position to delay the delivery of the underlying.

Wild Card Play
Having the right to deliver on a futures contract at the last closing price, even though the contract is no longer trading.

Wildcat Drilling
The process of drilling for oil in an area that has been left unexplored.

Will
A legally enforceable declaration of how a person wishes his or her property to be disposed of after death. Also known as a will and testament.


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Will Variation
A law that allows spouses and children to contest a will if they are not adequately provided for.

Williams %R
A technical analysis momentum indicator that measures overbought and oversold levels.

Williams Act
A federal act, passed in 1968, that defines the rules in regards to acquisitions and tender offers.

Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index - TMWX
An index measuring the performance of all U.S. headquartered equity securities with readily available price data.  ;

Winding Up
A process that entails selling all the assets of a business entity, paying off creditors, distributing any remaining assets to the principals, and then dissolving the business.

Window Dressing
A strategy used by mutual fund and portfolio managers near the year or quarter end to improve the appearance of the portfolio/fund performance before presenting it to clients or shareholders.

Window Settlement
A form of settlement between dealers whereby trades are settled through the physical comparison of transactions and actual money and stocks are transferred.

Winner's Curse
A financial theory that the winning participants within an auction will typically pay an overvalued price for the winning item.

Wire Fraud
A situation where a person concocts a scheme to defraud or obtain money based on false representation or promises. This criminal act is done over using electronic communications or an interstate communications facility.

Wire House
A company whose different branches are linked by a communications system enabling the sharing of financial information, research, and prices.


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Wire Transfer
An electronic transfer of funds across a network administered by hundreds of banks around the world.

Withholding
Any tax that is taken directly out of an individual's wages or other income before he or she receives the funds.

Withholding Allowance
An allowance an individual claims on a W-4 Form. It is mainly used to assist an employer in calculating the amount of income tax to withhold from an employee's paycheck.

Withholding Tax
1. Income tax withheld from employees' wages and paid directly to the government by the employer.

2. A tax levied on income (interest and dividends) from securities owned by a non-resident.

Woody
Slang to describe when the market has a strong and quick upward movement.

Work in Progress - WIP
Work that has not been completed but has already incurred a capital investment from the company.

Working Capital
A valuation metric that is calculated as current assets minus current liabilities.

Working Capital Loan
A loan whose purpose is to finance everyday operations of a company.

Working Capital Turnover
A measurement comparing the depletion of working capital with the generation of sales over a given period.

Working Ratio
A ratio used to measure a company's ability to recover operating costs from annual revenue. This ratio is calculated by taking the company's total annual expenses (excluding depreciation and debt-related expenses) and dividing by the annual gross income.


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Workout Market
A market maker prediction as to the trading price range that a security will occupy within a reasonable period of time. The characteristics of a workout market are seen prevalently in thin markets.

Workout Period
The period of time in which temporary yield discrepancies between fixed income securities are adjusted.

World Trade Organization - WTO
An international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible.

Wrap Account
An account in which a brokerage manages an investor's portfolio for a flat quarterly or annual fee. This fee covers all administrative, commission, and management expenses. Sometimes this also includes funds of funds.

Writ
A formal document written by a judge or official requiring specific action.  

Writ of Seizure and Sale
A court order that permits a creditor to instruct a sheriff to seize and sell assets/property of a debtor in order to payoff a debt.

Write-Down
Reducing the book value of an asset because it is overvalued compared to the market value.

Write-Off
To charge an asset amount to expense or loss in order to reduce the value of that asset and one's earnings.

Write-Up
An increase made to the book value of an asset because it is undervalued compared to market values.

Writer
The seller of an option who collects the premium payment from the buyer.


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Written-Down Value
The book value of an asset after accounting for depreciation and amortization.

WST
In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Samoan Tala.





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