B

BULL

Someone who expects prices, whether for shares, property, currencies or commodities, to rise. When prices do rise consistently, it is referred to as a “bull market”. READ MORE

BRICS

This is the acronym used as a short way to describe Brazil, Russia, India and China. These countries (along with South Africa) were once identified as the leaders in emerging markets growth however their recent performance has been mixed. READ MORE

BUSINESS RELIEF

Formerly known as business property relief, business relief (BR) is a way to potentially remove qualifying assets from the scope of inheritance tax on death. Only certain assets qualify and must usually have been held for a minimum of two years before death. It can be particularly useful for investors who hold AIM shares as …

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BUSINESS CYCLE

Lasting around ten years or so historically in the UK, a business cycle is thought to be a consequence of the way businesses and investors interact. There are two basic economic phases – expansion and contraction – and one inevitably leads to the other, according to traditional economics. For example, when confidence is rising, businesses …

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BALANCE SHEET

A statement of a firm’s net worth, a balance sheet lists what the company owns (assets), what it owes (liabilities) and how it has all been financed (shareholders’ funds). A growing balance sheet generally reflects the fact that a firm is profitable. READ MORE

BANK OF ENGLAND

This is the name of Britain’s central bank tasked with several key responsibilities. One is fiscal policy – setting the level of interest rates and also the amount of any additional monetary stimulus such as quantitative easing (QE) needed to hit its targets in relation to interest rates and the overall level of economic growth. …

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BEAR

Someone who expects prices to fall, whether for property, shares, currencies or commodities. When this occurs on a consistent basis – and the drop is 20% or more in the case of equity markets – you get what is called a “bear market”. READ MORE

BETA

This is a measure of the volatility of a portfolio, or a single stock, in relation to the wider market. The higher a stock’s beta the more volatile, or cyclical, it tends to be. In simple terms it compares the movement in a single stock to the movement of the wider market – if a …

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BASIS POINT

This is one one-hundredth (0.01%) of one percent. So 5 basis points is equivalent to 0.05% – rather than saying 0.05% it is easier to say 5 basis points (or “bips”). READ MORE

BID PRICE

Most prices for financial instruments are quoted “two way” – there is a bid and an offer price. The price at which you can sell securities in the market is the bid price for your counterparty. So if a share has a spread of 210p-215p, 210p is the more relevant price when it comes to …

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