BALANCE OF TRADE - see MERCHANDISE TRADE BALANCE.
BALANCE SHEET - a financial statement listing the assets, debts, and owner investment as of a specific time period.
BASIC EARNINGS PER SHARE - net income divided by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during a time period. This method of calculation is required by the Financial Accounting Standards Board for all years that end after December 15, 1997.
BASIS POINT - with regards to interest rates, one basis point is one-hundredth of one percentage point.
BETA - a relative measure of historical volatility of an individual stock's price in comparison to overall changes in the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index. A Beta of 1.25 indicates a stock leans towards rising or falling 25% more than the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index . More accurate "betas" are figured over a five year period. In the event a stock has a shorter trading history, a smaller time period may be used, but at least a two year minimum is necessary. A beta for a stock that moves in exact tandem with the NYSE Composite Index would be a beta of 1.00.
BID PRICE - the highest price an investor is willing to pay for a stock.
BOND - long term debt instrument usually with fixed interest payments and a date of maturity.
BOOK VALUE - the net worth of a company including intangible assets minus the redemption value of any outstanding preferred stock.