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FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (FDIC) - insures deposits in commercial banks up to $100,000 per account.

FEDERAL FUNDS, FEDERAL FUNDS RATE - Money in excess of what the Federal Reserve says a bank must have on hand to back up deposits. The excess can be lent overnight to banks that need more cash on hand to meet their reserve requirements. The interest rate of these loans is the federal funds rate.

FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM - Established by Congress in 1913 to regulate the U.S. banking system. There are 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks and 24 branches. The Fed regulates the money supply of the nation, sets policy and monitors all the banks in the system. (

52-WEEK HIGH - The highest price a stock has reached, including intraday trading, for the past 52 weeks. Also the highest NAV a mutual fund has had for the same period.

52-WEEK LOW - The lowest price a stock has reached, including intraday trading, for the past 52 weeks. Also the lowest NAV a mutual fund has had for the same period.

FISCAL YEAR - The 12-month period that a corporation or governmental body uses for bookkeeping purposes. The federal government's fiscal year starts three months ahead of the calendar year.

FIXED ANNUITY - An annuity where buyers earn a specified return on their money each year for a specified number of years or for life. The account can grow free of yearly income taxes.

FLOAT - (1) Money that has been committed but not yet credited to an account like a check that has been written but has not yet cleared. (2) Removing currency controls like pegs or bands and allowing market forces to determine a currency's value. Market forces could include inflation, stock market rallies or tumbles, political changes, trade conflicts.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE OR FOREIGN CURRENCY RATE - The rate at which money from one country can be exchanged for money from another. In the United States, it is usually expressed as the amount of foreign currency that can be bought for one U.S. dollar; or in the case of the British pound, as the amount of U.S. dollars that one pound will buy.

FORWARD RATE - The rate at which foreign currency is expected to be worth in the future, usually 30, 60 or 90 days ahead. Traders often buy or sell at forward rates to take advantage of the price spread between spot and forward rates. The practice is called covered interest arbitrage.

FULL FAITH AND CREDIT BOND - An alternate term for

GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND - often used to contrast such a bond with a moral obligation bond.

FUTURE - A contract to buy a commodity for a set price in the future. Investors buy futures to take advantage of price discounts, and to guarantee a supply of goods for the future. However, most futures contracts are bought and sold at least once before expiration, as brokers attempt to take advantage of the difference in price to make a profit.

FUTURES MARKET - Where futures contracts are bought and sold. The main markets are: the New York Commodity Exchange, aka Comex (gold, silver); the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange; the New York Cotton Exchange; the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (livestock); the New York Mercantile Exchange (fuels); the Chicago Board of Trade (grains); and the New York Futures Exchange (currencies, indexes). Other major markets include the Kansas City Board of Trade, the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the MidAmerica Commodity Exchange.