The Fool FAQ


The Fool FAQ

OK, folks, enough is enough. I've been reading the Fool boards and I've had it with these investing abbreviations. BTB's, BTD's, and FIFO's, sheesh! Just what do all these critters mean?

Abbreviations can be frustrating when you aren't "in the know." Here's a quick rundown of some popular investing abbreviations and the English phrases for which they stand.

  • BTB = This is the Book-to-Bill ratio, which is either meaningless, or the best way to forecast performance in the semiconductor sector since reading tea leaves. The ratio compares the orders booked (i.e. sold) to the orders billed (i.e. delivered). If more orders are being booked than billed, that is supposed to be a bullish indicator for the industry. Is it? Good question. Click here for more: Book-to-Bill Ratio
  • BTD = Beating the Dow. Check out the Dow Dividend Approach FAQ for more on this wonderful investment strategy.
  • BSP = Beating the S&P, a modification of the Beating the Dow strategy that attempts to beat the return of the S&P 500 by selecting certain stocks from that index. Click here for more information on how it works: Beating the S&P
  • FIFO = First In, First Out. This is a general Internal Revenue Service rule that states if you sell shares purchased at different times, the first ones you sell are the first ones you bought, UNLESS you instruct your broker to sell a different lot at the time of the sale. Once the sale has been consummated, it's too late. Also used in inventory management.
  • LIFO = Last in First Out: Opposite of FIFO.

On message boards and in emails, I keep seeing BTW, IMHO, FWIW, etc. What do they mean in English?

Message board and email abbreviations are multiplying almost as fast as the messages, but once you get a few, it's not so hard to figure out some, at least, of the rest. Here are some of the most basic:

  • BTW = By the way
  • FWIW = For what it's worth
  • G = Grin
  • IMHO = In my humble opinion (cousin to IMO, which means In my opinion)
  • LOL = Laughing out loud
  • ROFL = Rolling on the floor laughing
  • TTFN = Ta ta for now (for all you Winnie the Pooh fans out there)
  • VBG = Very big grin