The investment world can sometimes feel like a fantasy realm—or a zoo. No surprise then that there is a rich glossary of fanciful terms to describe this curious domain. Here are a few examples that you can use to impress friends at your next cocktail party.
Flights of Fancy
This has become a well-known term in recent years, particularly in the tech sector. It’s a start-up valued at more than $1 billion. They used to be rare as a unicorn, but that’s been changing. Examples from recent years include Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX and Pinterest.
Some companies are simply not living up to their potential. Perhaps they’re a start up with a great idea and poor management, or they have undervalued assets. These “sleeping” companies are prime for a take-over by a company with the cash and the know-how to help them wake up to profitability.
Castles in the Sky
Remember the dot-com bubble? Or the subprime mortgage crisis that led to The Great Recession? Who could forget! Stock prices are supposed to reflect future earnings but sometimes they are driven by irrational speculation. This is the time to run, not walk, the other way.
An economy that’s too hot can lead to inflation—too cold can cause a recession. In the middle is juuust right. A Goldilocks economy is typically characterised by a low unemployment, moderate interest rates, steady GDP growth and low inflation.
Similar to the unpredictable character from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", this term refers to a CEO or other senior exec whose behaviour is erratic. Their decisions may be impulsive, or confusing, or reflect goals that are more personal than organizational.
Some small cap companies continue to trudge forward even though they’re nearly dead. Ironically, there can be huge upside for high risk-investors if those companies manage a breakthrough that raises them from the dead.
Welcome to the Zoo
Amazon. Google. Apple. Facebook. They’re examples of companies that, because of their sheer market dominance, can do just about whatever they want. Their glory days of dazzling price growth may be over, but they’re still valued by fund managers who want consistent performance that continues to outpace benchmarks.
Dead cat bounce
Apologies to cat lovers but there’s an investment saw that goes: "Even a dead cat will bounce if it is dropped from high enough." It refers to a small rally after a tumbling decline in an individual stock or a full market index.
Sometimes a company will report bad news to the public to deflect attention to even worse news behind the scenes that may come out later. Bad news for one company may also presage a looming crisis for an entire industry segment, such as the sub-prime mortgage debacle.
A gazelle is a high-growth company that increases its revenues by at least 20% annually for four years or more. It may be big, or small, but it can provide an outstanding investment opportunity to fund managers that have the foresight to jump on board early.
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