EARNINGS PER SHARE (EPS) - One of the most widely watched numbers on Wall Street. To get the number, take overall earnings for the quarter or the year and divide by the company's total number of outstanding shares. Some companies also supply diluted earnings per share, which includes stock options in the total number of shares outstanding.
EQUITY - The value of property after the amount that is owed on it is subtracted.
EXCHANGE RATE - The price of one currency in terms of another. For example, one French franc may be worth 13.63 cents - or - one dollar is worth 7.33 French francs. Exchange rates fluctuate as currency traders and investors change their perceptions of world events and the stability of each nation's economy and government. Most countries try to maintain somewhat stable rates because this makes investors feel more secure. One way to ensure that stability is to link the currency to a specific amount of a commodity, like silver or gold, and keep a reserve of that commodity equal to the total value of the currency in circulation. Some nations link their currency to the dollar because it is perceived as stable. A linked system is considered "fixed", while a system that relies on market forces is considered "floating". Many strong economies, including the United States, float their currency. Many weaker economies fix their currency, hoping to lock in some security.
EX-DIVIDEND - The point at which new purchasers are no longer eligible for the most recent dividend payment. When the dividend is paid, the NAV or stock price is adjusted to reflect the payment.
EXPENSE RATIO - The fund's cost of doing business, expressed as a percentage of assets.
EXPIRATION DATE - (1) The date on which a futures contract can no longer be bought or sold and the buyer must take possession of the commodities contained in the contract (2) The last day on which an option may be exercised.