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The Financial Writer's Stylebook Online

This specialized resource for writers offers a quick way to decode a business term and get guidance on how to use the term in a story.

Here you'll find explanations of thousands of terms that might pop up in corporate documents, regulatory filings and government reports, as well as phrases that come out of the mouths of corporate CEOs and press representatives. This site will tell you what the terms mean, when they should or shouldn't be used and defined for readers (check our rating system) and how to use them.

We give guidance on what all those abbreviations (APR, CUSIP, LLC, TARP) mean and when they are acceptable. We provide an up-to-date roll call of tricky company names and trademarks as well and guidance on their punctuation and capitalization. Subscribe today!

Listings Key

Here is a typical entry for this stylebook:

$$buyback (n.), buy back (v.) The repurchasing of shares by a company to decrease its number of shares outstanding. A company will buy back those shares. Just because a company announces a buyback plan doesn't mean that the shares will actually be repurchased. Some companies will announce a buyback plan to support its stock price, but not actually repurchase the shares. Also, a company may buy back its stock to inflate its earnings per share number. Earnings per share is net income available for common stock divided by total number of shares outstanding. With fewer shares outstanding, the EPS number may rise. The term share repurchase is also acceptable.

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Every Term Rated

Many words and phrases in this style guide have dollar signs listed after them. The dollar signs, based on a five-level scale, make it easy for a business journalist to decide whether the term or phrase needs defining for his or her audience.

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Term of the Day

toxic assets

Financial assets whose values have dropped dramatically and no longer attract much interest from investors. A slang term, it's generally used to refer to collateralized debt obligations and credit def... Learn more...