Our comprehensive glossary explains many of the terms commonly used in the international markets.

Major trend

Major trend refers to a trend which lasts at least one year.

Management Buy-Out

The acquisition of all or part of the share capital of a company by its directors and senior executives. The management is usually assisted by loans from an institution.


The amount of equity (collateral) required for an investment position, as a percentage of the current value. When trading on margin (also called 'gearing', or 'leverage'), you need only deposit a fraction of the current value of the instrument you are investing in. For example, if the commodity you are trading in requires a margin of 5%, you are able to gear (or leverage) your investment 20 times. In other words, a deposit of USD 10,000 can hold a position of USD 200,000.

Margin call

When you have exceeded your allowed operating margin, you are subject to a margin call to remedy the situation. To avoid having your positions closed for you (being stopped out), you must either close or reduce open positions, or send additional funds to cover your positions.

Margin deposit

Funds that a trader must have in a margin account that represent a percentage of the current market value of the securities held by the trader.

Margin utilisation

The percentage of the available margin that you are utilising.

Marginal producer

A term usually applied to gold-mining companies with a very high cost of extraction and therefore a low margin. If their cost of extraction is close to the gold price, then very small fluctuations in the gold price can easily double or halve their profitability. This is reflected directly in their share price, which tends to fluctuate widely for relatively small changes in the gold price.

Mark to Market

The adjustment of an account to reflect gains and losses at the end of a trading period.

Market appreciation

The difference between what was paid for a share and its current market price. This is distinct from the realised profit, which can only occur if the share is actually sold and the money is in the bank.

Market breadth

The extent or scope of change in stock prices. Market breadth is most often measured by analysing the number of stocks that advanced or declined during the period or by counting the number of shares in issue by their current market price.

Market depth

The top 5 bids to purchase a share and the top 5 offers to sell a share in the market is known as market depth. The bids are listed by highest bid first with the corresponding quantity and the number of orders that make up that quantity for the bid. The offers are listed by lowest offer first with the corresponding quantity and the number of orders that make up that quantity for the offer. When a bid and offer are at the same price then a trade occurs.

Market maker

A recognised institution or individual willing to trade certain securities any time that a trader wants to buy or sell. The incentive for the market maker to buy or sell at all times is the spread, or difference, between the bid and ask prices.

Market order

An order given to a broker with no price limitation. The broker is instructed to obtain or sell a specific number of shares "at market" - as opposed to a limit order, where the instruction is only valid above or below a pre-determined price.

Market price

Ruling price of shares on the relevant exchange.


Attribute acquired by a share when it is dealt in regularly and can thus be bought and sold easily.


The purchase leg of a deal will be matched when the corresponding sales leg is reported to the computer, if these are equal in every respect, and vice versa. A matched deal is a confirmed deal.


The date when a transaction is due to end, or the period of time until that date is reached.

Measuring gap

A gap that frequently occurs at just about the halfway point of the current move.

Memorandum of incorporation

Document required by law for the constitution of a company. It must state the principal object of the company.


(Also called an amalgamation.) This occurs where two or more companies come under the control of one, whose shareholders then become the shareholders of the companies that were merged. Sometimes one of the two merged companies is used as a vehicle for the merger, and sometimes a totally new company is formed for this purpose. A merger is seen as distinct from a "take-over" or an "absorption".

Mid price

The mid-price is halfway between the bid and the ask (offer) prices. For example, if the bid is 1.4426 and the ask is 1.4430, the mid-price is 1.4428.

Minimum commission

A minimum amount of commission that will be charged when trading.

Minor trend

These are the day-to-day fluctions of prices, usually less than six days and seldom longer than three weeks.

Minority shareholders

Shareholders who, individually or collectively, own fewer shares than the controlling group.


A functional component of the platform such as the Open Orders Module, the Chart Module, etc. Modules are opened from the Menu bar.

Momentum indicator

A leading indicator measuring a security's rate-of-change. The ongoing plot forms an oscillator that moves above and below 0. Bullish and bearish interpretations are found by looking for divergences, centerline crossovers and extreme readings.

Monetary policy

Monetary policy is the control of the economy by changes in the money supply, as a result of changes in the level of interest rates, and the percentage of money that banks are required to lodge with the relevant Central Bank of the country. This is as opposed to fiscal policy, which involves the level of government spending and taxation.

Money market

The money market does not take place at a central place; it is really a communications network which allows banks, money brokers, businesses, discount houses, the government and the Reserve Bank to deal with one another and arrange short term lines of credit with one another. Money brokers and discount houses conduct the market in a full time capacity, and in fact constitute the market.

Money supply

The total amount of money in the country.


The situation where one business controls enough of the supply of a product or service to be able to force the price up by being the only supplier. A good example of this is De Beers, which has a virtual monopoly in the diamond market. Monopolies are discouraged in most western capitalist countries because they tend to lead to artificially high prices and inferior products. In the USA anti-trust legislation attempts to prevent monopolistic mergers and take-overs.

Morning fix

A fixing of the gold price in London at a fixing session. This is done by five leading bullion houses, by matching supply and demand to equalize at a certain price. There is also an afternoon fix.

Mortgage debenture

Acknowledgement for money lent to a company against security of property, bearing a fixed rate of interest and with no concern in the profits or losses of that company.

Moving average

The most commonly used technical indicator in the world; this is often used in conjunction with other indicators. To calculate a moving average on a data stream (such as a series of daily share prices), it is necessary first to decide on its period. The shorter the period the more sensitive the signals.

Moving average convergence/divergence (MACD)

A trend indicator chart study following the relationship between two moving average prices (usually 26-day and 12-day averages). On top of this, a 9-day average of the MACD line is plotted as a control or signal line. In its conjunctions with the MACD line, the signal line may show buy and sell opportunities.

Mutual funds or unit trusts

Companies specializing in the investment of funds. The public is invited to subscribe for units in the fund at a precise price, which is a true fraction of the value of all the investments held by the fund. The price of units is related to the market price of the underlying securities. Because their capital is not fixed they are known as 'open-end trusts'.