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BALANCE SHEET - A listing of assets, liabilities and net worth showing the financial position of a company at the specific time. A bank balance sheet is generally referred to as a statement of condition.

BAND - A range within which a currency can trade. Some governments fix an exchange rate but allow their currency to trade perhaps 5 percent above or below that rate before intervening by buying or selling currency.

BANKRUPTCY - An individual or organization, acting voluntarily or by court order, liquidates its assets and distributes the proceeds to creditors. Types of bankruptcy are CHAPTER 7, CHAPTER 11, CHAPTER 12 and CHAPTER 13.

BASIS POINT - The movement of interest rates or yields expressed in hundredths of a percent. BB, B, CCC, CC, and C, for more speculative securities, and D for securities that are in payment default.

BCON - The 'B' network of the Consolidated Tape. This network reports trading of securities listed on the American Stock Exchange and also trading on regional exchanges.

BCOP - Bank for Cooperatives

BEAR MARKET - A period of generally declining stock prices.

BEARER BOND - A bond for which the owner's name is not registered on the books of the issuing company. Interest and principal is thus payable to the bondholder.

BEARER STOCK - Stock certificates that are not registered in any name. They are negotiable without endorsement and transferable by delivery.

BID - Generally, the highest price a buyer will offer for a given unit of stock. The difference between the BID price and the ASK price is called the SPREAD.

BIG BOARD - Also known as the New York Stock Exchange.

BLUE CHIP - A stock company known for its long-established record of making money and paying dividends.

BOND - A loan to a company or the government, which is payable at the end of a stated period. In return, the bond buyer is usually entitled to fixed payments on a regular basis until the bond comes due.

BOND FUND - A type of mutual fund that invests in government, corporate and other bonds. Most bond funds are created to provide income to shareholders and, unlike bonds, never mature or guarantee repayment.

BOND RATING - Grades assigned by credit rating agencies to corporate and municipal debt securities, based on the borrower's expected ability to repay. The higher the grade, the lower the interest rate a borrower must pay. The two major Wall Street credit rating firms are Moody's Investors Service Inc. and Standard & Poor's bond ratings. Both issue a variety of grades. S&P's bond ratings, for example, include 10 basic grades; in order, AAA, AA, A and BBB, given to borrowers with the strongest ability to repay;

BOOK VALUE - The difference between a company's assets and liabilities. The book value per share of common stock is the book value divided by the number of common shares outstanding.

BTI - Banks, Trusts and Insurance

BULL MARKET - A period of generally increasing market prices.

BULLION - Unminted precious metals of standards suitable for coining.