Glossary

Foreclosure Mitigation

Programs/Counseling  to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
The National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, founded by Congress, is the most used mitigation program but other programs are available to homeowners.  These programs give the homeowner information, resources and counseling to help avoid forecloser. In addition, a  foreclosure mitigation counselor often goes to work for the homeowner negotiating a mortgage modification to lower the monthly payment.

Read more...

Life-Cycle inventory (LCI)

  A life-cycle inventory (LCI) is the identification and quantification of materials and resources required to produce a product (the inputs) and the identification and quantification of materials and resources omitted as a result of production of the product (output). Inputs examples: Water, energy, and raw materials. Output examples: Releases/ emissions of solids, gas and water effluents into the to air, land, and water
 

Read more...

Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies

Within Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is a provision titled “Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies” (section 52003). This accelerated implementation and deployment of pavement tech program is an example of how government, academia and industry can work effectively and collaboratively together for the ultimate benefit of the highway user. This provision supports the implementation and deployment of innovative and highly effective pavement technology activities that will strengthen this nation’s infrastructure while saving taxpayer funds. FHWA has been a partner to the paving industry in developing and executing a collaborative and strategic approach in deploying effective pavement technologies to our nation’s highway agencies.
Read more...

American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA)

  ACPAThe American Concrete Pavement Association is the national trade association for the concrete pavement industry.   The primary mission of the ACPA is to create and maintain a strong national presence through dynamic, strategic leadership; effective technical expertise and resources; and persuasive advocacy on behalf of the concrete pavement industry. Founded in 1963, the American Concrete Pavement Association is headquartered in Chicago at 9450 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 150, Rosemont, Illinois 60018. Telephone:  847.966.2272.  The Association’s Washington, DC office is located at 500 New Jersey Ave., NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20001. Phone: 202.638.2272.   Visit our technical website at www.acpa.org.  Visit our public website at www.pavements4life.com.  
Read more...

Amortization vs. Depreciation

Amortization is the paying of a debt on intangible assets such as a patent or copy right, over a period of time. Or more specifically, this method measures the dissipation of the value of intangible assets Depreciation is the paying off a debt on  tangible asset over a period of time.
Read more...

Ask and Bid - stocks

Bid Market – a market where there are more bids to buy, than offers to sell. If the asking (sellers) size is bigger than the bidding (buyers) size it means people will sell shares and the stock price will go down. If the bidding (buyers) size is bigger than the asking (seller) size it means people will buy more shares, and the stock price will go up, and the stock dividend yield decreases. The stock dividend yield (cost and current) is the interest as a percentage based on the investment. How to calculate Stock bought at $20 with an annual dividend of $1 Cost Yield = 1/20= 2% Current value of stock is $25 with an annual dividend of $1 Current Yield = 1/25 = 4% The BID-ASK SPREAD The bid-ask spread is the difference between the ask and bid price, or the between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay the lowest price a seller is willing to sell. For example, if the bid price is $19 and the ask price is $25 then the bid-ask spread is $6.
Read more...

Asset

An economic value that an individual, corporation or municipality owns; this usually includes cash, accounts receivable and inventory.
Read more...

ASTM F2170 Testing Method

Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes
Read more...

ASTM International

ASTM.jpgASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.
Read more...

ASTM International Standard

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) ASTM International is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of voluntary consensus standards. Today, over 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance health and safety, strengthen market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.
Read more...

Beta

Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility and is the number describing the relationship of the stock's return with those of the entire financial market. The average three-year Beta should be below 1.0 The higher the Beta, the more volatile the stock and the higher the risk is. Beta
  • Beta G.T. 1.0 the stock has a greater price validity in relation to the rest of the market.
  • Beta 1.0 the stock is in line with the rest of the market
  • Beta L.T. 1.0 the stock has less volatility than the rest of the market.
Example: If a stock has a Beta of 2. It means that if the market drops by 10 percent than this stock will drop by 10 percent X 2 or 20 percent.
Read more...

Biodiesel

Biodiesel can be used as an alternative or additive to diesel fuel in diesel engines with little to no modifications to the engines themselves.  It comes from plant oils or animal fats that have been chemically altered.  
Read more...

Calcium Chloride Testing

Calcium chloride kits have been in use for quite some time but have proven to be unreliable in their results because they are only measuring moisture passage from the concrete at a very shallow depth. Their use is covered under ASTM F1869 but that standard has recently been amended so that calcium chloride is no longer acceptable as a test method for lightweight concrete. Some specs still include calcium chloride kits but this may not meet the ASTM requirements for your project.
Read more...

Carbon Footprint

The Carbon Footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by a person, family, building, organization, or company. Greenhouse gases are those that can absorb and emit infrared radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere: water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3).  
Typical Persons Carbon FootPrint
Gas, Oil, and Coal 15%
Recreation 14%
Electricity 12%
Public Services 12%
Private Transportation 10%
Household building/furnishing 9%
Carbon in Car Manufacturing 7%
Holiday Flights 6%
Food and Drink 5%
Clothes and Personnel Effects 4%
Public Transportation 3%
Financial Services 3%
Reducing ones carbon footprint is vital to fighting global warming. Global warming is a gradual increase in the Earth’s temperature. If carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue to build up in the air, rising temperatures will make the Earth uninhabitable.
  1. Consume less energy by using high-efficiency Energy Star appliances, lightbulbs, water heaters.
  2. Unplugging electronics when not in use 
  3. Buy locally produced food and switch to a more vegetarian diet 
  4. Make energy efficient transportation choices - use public transportation, buy fuel-efficient vehicles, drive slower
  5. Conserve water
  6. Recycle paper, plastics, aluminum, etc. 

Read more...

Cloud Computing

cloudcomputingCloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. With an online connection, cloud computing  accesses  data or programs over the Internet, and can be done anywhere, anytime. The cloud is a network of servers, and each server has a different function. Examples of Servers:
  • Adobe Creative Cloud(Photoshop, InDesign, etc.) - online service
  • Instagram - allow you to store and access data
  • Dropbox- allow you to store and access data.
  • Google Drive
  • SkyDrive
  • iCloud

Read more...

Composite pavements

Composite pavement is a combination HMA and PCC pavements HMAC or HMA - Hot mix asphalt concrete PCC - Portland cement concrete  pavement
Read more...

Compressive strength

Compressive strength relates to a material’s ability to resist deformation under a compressive load.
Read more...

Consumer Price Index, CPI

THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI-U) Consumer Price Index is a measure of change in consumer goods and services. Producer Price Indexes (PPI) often will increase before CPI. The government chose an arbitrary date to be the base year and set that equal to 100. Currently that date is the average of the years 1982-1984; previously the base year was 1967. Index numbers are not dollar values, but measures of the change over time relative to their base period value of 100.0. cpiHow the CPI is calculated The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is published as an index number that shows the change in the price of a defined market basket of goods and services over time from a base period which is defined as 100.0. An increase of 7 percent from that base period, for example, is shown as 107.0. Alternately, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period "market basket" of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. Currently, the reference base for most CPI indexes is 1982- 84=100 but some indexes have other references bases. The reference base years refer to the period in which the index is set to 100.0. In addition, expenditure weights are updated every two years to keep the CPI current with changing consumer preferences. CPI Vs Wage since 1982,  FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data wagescpi82-15      
Read more...

Crude Oil (Petroleum fuel)

Petroleum Fuel (crude oil) Crude oil is naturally occurring and when refined it can be separated into several different kinds of fuels, including gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene and diesel.  The crude oil is separated into fractions according to different boiling points of hydrocarbons of varying chain lengths  
Read more...

Crumb Rubber

Crumb rubber is derived from scrap car and truck tires that are ground up and recycled. It is the most widely used infill in the synthetic sports field and landscape market Crumb rubber infill.  It is metal free. Ambient  - Cryogenic  
Read more...

CTLGroup

CTLGroup originated a century ago as the cement and concrete technology Research and Development Laboratories of Portland Cement Association (PCA) in 1916. In the 1960s, present-day CTLGroup began providing consulting services for applied research projects, continuing to expand its engineering consulting services through the 1980s.  In 1987, CTLGroup was incorporated as Construction Technology Laboratories, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of PCA, and in 2005 began doing business as CTLGroup.   CTLGroup is an internationally recognized expert consulting engineering and materials science firm, providing engineering, architecture, and scientific testing to our clients across the globe.
Read more...

Debt to GDP Ratio

The Debt to GDP ratio compares the country's debt (total debt owed by the National/Federal/Central Government) to its total economic output for the year, as measured by GDP, Gross Domestic Product.  The debt to GDP ratio gives investors a rough gauge as to a country's ability to pay off its debt.
21st Century Builder

21st Century Builder

  Fred Economic Data The Ratio of Debt to GDP Increases:
  1. During War
  2. In a recession
The Ratio of Debt to GDP Decreases:
  1. as a result of government surplus
  2. stimulus spending
  3. inflation
Is there a tipping point as to where public debt negatively affects the economic growth? According to a 2010 study by, Caner, Mehmet; Grennes,Thomas; Koehler-Geib, Fritzi; Koehler-Geib, Friederike, that tipping point is 77 percent public debt-to-GDP ratio. If debt is above this threshold, each additional percentage point of debt costs 0.017 percent points of annual real growth; a situations that causes investors to worry and consequently demand more interest rate return for the higher risk of default. This increases the country's cost of debt and can quickly become a debt crisis. If a country were a household, GDP is like its income. Banks will give you a bigger loan if you make more money. In the same way, investors will be happy to take on a country's debt if it produces more.

How to Use the Debt to GDP Ratio

The debt to GDP ratio allows investors in government bonds to compare debt levels between countries. For example, Germany's debt is $2.4 trillion;  GDP is $2.9 trillion; so debt to GDP ratio  is 83% Greece' debt is $434 billion; GDP is $318 billion; so debt to GDP ratio  is 142% - high ratio indicates recession
Read more...

Debt-To-Capital Ratio

A high DTCR compared to industry average shows weak financial strength.

A company's Debt to Capital Ratio should be L.T. 80% of the industry average.

A measurement of a company's financial leverage, calculated as the company's debt divided by its total capital.
Shareholders Equity = ($shares) X (#shares)   Debt to Capital Ratio = Interest-bearing Debt/shareholders' Equity + Interest-Bearing Debt
Debt includes all short-term and long-term obligations. Total capital includes the company's debt and shareholders' equity, which includes common stock, preferred stock, minority interest and net debt. Interest-bearing debt includes bonds payable, bank loans, notes payable, etc. Non-interest bearing debt includes trade payable, accrued expenses, etc.
Read more...

Dept/Equity Ratio (D/E)

The debt-to-equity ratio (D/E) is a financial ratio indicating the relative proportion of shareholders' equity and debt used to finance a company's assets.
Debt/Equity Ratio = Long-term Debt /Value of Common Stock
  • When analyzing a  stock for purchase, a Dept/Equity ratio of less than 80% of industry average is considered good.

Read more...

Diesel Fuel

According to the the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) one barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil will produce 10 gallons of diesel fuel. Diesel utilizes hydrocarbons with chains in the C3 to C25 range and takes less refining than gasoline, therefore is cheaper.  It also gets better mileage than equivalent gasoline engines.        
Read more...

Diode

A diode is an electrical semiconductor that allows the electrical current to flow in only one direction; blocking the flow is the opposite direction.
Read more...

Dividend Payout Ratio

A metric for judging DIV sustainability compares amount of $ a company pays out in DIV to earning generated.  A high ratio - 80% - could indicate the company may be making payments it can't afford. A Dividend payout ratios measures the percentage of company's net income that is given to shareholders in the form of DIV. A lower payout ratio is generally preferable to a higher payout ratio, with a ratio greater than 100% indicating the company is paying out more in dividends than it makes in net income. dividendpayout.jpg   $1/$10 = 10% so company distributes 10% of its net income as DIV and retains 90% for their operating needs.
Read more...

Dividends and Dividend Yield Ratios/Dividend Yield

Dividends

For every share of a dividend stock that you own, you are paid a portion of the company's earnings. Annual Dividend :  for example 20 cent per share; so once a year you will receive a check for 20 cents per share. Quarterly Dividend - ¼ of the annal dividend: so 5 cent of the annual is 20 cent a share.

Dividend Yield ratio  (dividend price ratio or just dividend yield)

The dividend yield or dividend-price ratio of a share is the dividend per share, divided by the price per share Indicates the relative value of a dividend payout for a dividend paying stock based off of the stock’s market value. Investors looking for stock with greatest dividend return relative to share cost will compare dividend ratio: the higher the better,
Annual Total Dividend Per share/cost per share   X   100

Read more...

Early Delinquency Intervention

Early Delinquency Intervention (EDI) involves addressing the financial crisis in the earliest possible stages in order to maximize relief available from the lender.

Read more...

Earnings Per Share (EPS) and EPS Growth

EPS = indicates how much profit a company makes in a given time and how well management is using returned earnings to increase shareholders wealth.

EPS is an indicator of a company's profitability and represents the portion of a company's profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock.  Companies with strong EPS numbers typically have strong stock prices, while companies with weak EPS numbers typically have weak stock prices. Calculate EPS by taking the net income a company produces—which is the money that is left over in the company once all of the appropriate expenses and taxes have been subtracted from the company’s revenue—and dividing it by the total number of outstanding shares of stock in the company. Calculation:  EPS = net income - dividends on preferred stock / average outstanding common shares. Company A has a first quarter net income of $100 and $10 in average shares outstanding. No preferred stock.

EPS = $100/$10 = $10

 

The EPS Growth rate is an indicator of future prospects of a company.  It is usually expressed as a percentage.

ESP year 2 - EPS year 1  ==   X/EPS year 1  X 100  
  • EPS should be at least 15% over 3 years
  • EPS should be at least 20% over 5 years
  • A negative EPS indicates negative growth.

Read more...

Earnings/Wages

 Average hourly and weekly earnings of all employees on private non farm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted as reported by the BEA Average hourly and weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees on private non farm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted(1). wages             1Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries. These groups account for approximately four-fifths of the total employment on private non farm payrolls.  

Read more...

Economic Stimulus Package/Program

spAn Economic Stimulus package is an attempt by the government to boost economic growth and lead the economy out of a recession or economic slowdown.  In other words, by increasing consumer spending a recession can be reversed.
The main purpose of an economic stimulus package is to encourage consumer spending. The theory is that when consumers spend more, a recession can be reversed.
Specifically this is done by:
  • Increasing disposable income by cutting taxes.
  • Increasing government spending
  • Decreasing interest rates
recThe American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 came about as a result of the global recession of 2008-2009.  Basically it has involved a a $787 billion economic stimulus package, approved by Congress in February, 2009 and designed to quickly jumpstart economic growth, and save between 900,000-2.3 million jobs. The package allocated funds as follows:
  • $288 billion in tax cuts.
  • $224 billion in extended unemployment benefits, education and health care.
  • $275 billion for job creation using federal contracts, grants and loans.
The package was designed to be spent over ten years. However, to give maximum impact, $720 billion, or 91.5%, was budgeted for the first three fiscal years: $185 billion in FY 2009, $400 billion in FY 2010 and $135 billion in FY 2011.

Read more...

Electrical Conductor

An electrical  conductor is an object or type of material which permits the flow of electric charges in one or more directions
Read more...

Electrical Insulator

An electrical insulator blocks the flow of electric current across it.
Read more...

electrical semiconductor

An electrical semiconductor is a solid substances, such as silicon or germanium, that conducts electricity more easily than insulators but less easily than conductors.
Read more...

Embodied Energy

Embodied Energy is the sum of all the energy required to produce any goods or services.


Read more...

Emissions - Harmful

  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mainly concerned with emissions which are or could be harmful to people. EPA calls this set of principal air pollutants, criteria pollutants. The criteria pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), lead (Pb), nitrogen dioxide(NO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). There are also a large number of compounds which have been determined to be hazardous which are called air toxics.  
Read more...

Energy Star Program

energy starIn 1992 the EPA introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products. Through 1995, EPA expanded the label to include office equipment products and residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996, EPA partnered with the US Department of Energy for particular product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, and more. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.  ENERGY STAR has also been a driving force behind the use of efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use. Today, ENERGY STAR provides a label on over 60 product categories (and thousands of models) for the home and office; assisting homeowners and building managers in choosing products that use less money and save energy, yet perform at the same or better as comparable models that are less energy efficient.
Read more...

Equity

A stock or any security representing ownership.
Equity = funds contributed by stockholders + retained earnings or losses

Read more...

Expense Ratio

The costs of owning a fund are called the expense ratio.  The expense ratio represents the percentage of the fund's assets that go purely toward the expense of running the fund:  the investment advisory fee, the administrative costs, the 12b-1 distribution fees, and other operating expenses. The expense ratio for an actively managed mutual fund is usually about 1.5%, which means the mutual fund retains 1.5% of the total money (current assets) in the fund every year, regardless of how good or bad the fund is doing.

 Components of the Expense Ratio

  1. The investment advisory fee or management fee is the money necessary to pay the manager(s) of the mutual fund. On average, this fee is about 0.50% to 1.0% annually of the fund's assets.
  2. Administrative costs are the costs of record keeping, mailings, maintaining a customer service line, etc. (0.2-0.4%).
  3. The 12b-1 distribution fee (0.25-1.0%). This fee is used for marketing, advertising, and distribution services meant to sell the fund.

Read more...

Extractive Industries

The extractive industries physically extract metals, minerals and aggregates from the earth. Extraction industries include the mining, quarrying, dredging, oil and gas extraction industries.

Mining can be defined as the extraction of metals and solid fossil fuel, and extraction can take place in either an underground mine or in an above ground mine, known as a surface mine, 'open-cast mine', 'open-pit' or just 'pit'.

Quarrying can be defined as the extraction of aggregates and industrial minerals above ground.

Dredging can be defined as the extraction of marine aggregate underwater.

Oil extraction can be defined as the extraction of liquid fossil fuel, and

gas extraction can be defined as the extraction of gaseous fossil fuel.


Read more...

Financial Liquidity

To avoid losing money in short investments, choose highly liquid stocks

Liquidity in the financial markets refers to how easily a given financial instrument can be sold, and is a reflection of the number(s) of people involved in buying and selling the instrument. When many people are buying and selling a stock, we say that there is much liquidity. When only a few people are buying and selling, there is low liquidity. The more liquid the stock is, the ‘tighter’ the bid-ask spread. Purchasing highly liquid stocks minimizes the loss when stocks are sold immediately after purchasing. The bid-ask spread represents the minimum we must make not to lose money. And, the wider the bid-ask spread, the more lost immediately after purchase.
Read more...

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

 

 FSCThe Forest Stewardship Council's mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world's forests.Their vision is to meet the current needs for forest products without compromising the health of the world’s forests for future generations.

Today the FSC is headquartered in Bonn, Germany, operating in more than 80 countries, wherever forests are present.   In 1995, the US chapter of the FSC was established, and is now headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

How to become FSC Certified

The FSC has developed a set of 10 principles and 57 Criteria that apply to FSC-certified forests around the world.  Forest management operations that meet the principles and criteria for the environmental, economic and social standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are awarded certification.

WHY FORESTS ARE IMPORTANT

The FSC is helping protect forests for future generationsThe Forest Stewardship Council logo indicates to the buyer that the product they are buying came from a responsibly managed forests

The FSC is helping protect forests for future generations
The Forest Stewardship Council logo indicates to the buyer that the product they are buying came from a responsibly managed forests

  • Deforestation and forest destruction is the second leading cause of carbon pollution, causing 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Forests filter the water we drink and the air we breathe.
  • Worldwide, 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods, including food, clothing, or shelter.
  • Forests are home to nearly half of the world's species, including some of the most endangered birds and mammals, such as orangutans, gorillas, pandas, Northern Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets.

   
Read more...

Forward Price to Earning (P/E)

Forward price to earnings (forward P/E) is a measure of the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio using forecasted-estimated-predicted earnings per share (after-tax net income).  Analysts to the company itself determine the forecasted, or estimated, earnings. The forward P/E is used to compare a company’s current share price to its expected per-share earnings. The forward P/E is calculated using the current stock price over its "predicted" earnings per share.  For example, if the stock price is 20 and the predicted EPS is 3, the predicted forward P/E would be 20/3 = 6.66 The current P/E ratio is calculated using today's stock price against historical earnings per share for the last 12 months or the last fiscal year.
  • If the forward P/E ratio is lower than the current P/E ratio, it means analysts are expecting earnings to increase;
  • If the forward P/E is higher than the current P/E ratio, analysts expect a decrease in earnings.

Read more...

Friction

A force that resists the relative motion of two bodies or substances in contact.  For instance, a ball rolling down a hill is will eventually loose all its kinetic energy  come to a stop because of the force of friction. Whatever energy is left is called potential energy.
Read more...

Full-time equivalent (FTE)

Determining FTEs and Average Annual Wages for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

All employees of the eligible small employer are taken into account when determining FTEs except:

  • owners of the small business, such as sole proprietors, partners, shareholders owning more than 2% of an S corporation or more than 5% of a C corporation;
  • spouses of these owners
  • family members of these owners, which include a child, grandchild, sibling or step-sibling, parent or ancestor of a parent, a step-parent, niece or nephew, aunt or uncle, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
  • A spouse of any of these family members should also not be counted as an employee.
  • seasonal worker  that provide services to the employer for no more than 120 days during the taxable year

Example of how to Calculate FTE

For the 2014 taxable year, an employer pays 1 FTE = 2080 hours in one year
  • five employees wages for 2,080 hours each,
  • three employees wages for 1,040 hours each
  • one employee wages for 2,300 hours
SO:
  • 10,400 hours for the five employees paid for 2,080 hours (5 x 2,080)
  • 3,120 hours for the three employees paid for 1,040 hours (3 x 1,040)
  • 2,080 hours for the one employee paid for 2,300 hours (lesser of 2,300 and 2,080)
The total hours counted is 15,600 hours. 15,600/2080 = 7.5  This is rounded to the next lowest whole number  = 7

This employer has seven FTEs

 
Read more...

Gasoline

Gasoline is a transparent liquid derived from the  fractional distillation of crude oil.    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) one barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil will produce 19 gallons of motor gasoline. Gasoline utilizes hydrocarbons with chains in the C7 to C1 range and is the primary fuel used in internal combustion engines.    
Read more...

Geopolitical Instability

Political instability is a situation where by a country is going through political turmoil, which can negatively impact its GDP. Businesses rarely gain from political instability so trying to predict unrest is a critical activity for any entity investing in a volatile corner of the world. One of the factors most often cited as contributing to unrest is high oil prices. Drawing a link between rising oil prices and political instability is not particularly novel. Indeed, it has been pointed out by countless observers who see anger with rising costs leading to political activism. They note that oil is linked to higher costs across the board. The most direct interaction with oil for many people is at a gas station. But oil prices affect the cost of nearly everything else.
Read more...

Global warming

Global warming refers to the rise in global temperature near the earth's surface due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorbing more infrared radiation.   According to the National Climatic Data Center, before the Industrial Revolution (about the year 1800), levels of carbon dioxide were about 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv); current levels are greater than 380 ppmv and increasing at a rate of 1.9 ppm yr-1 since 2000. This increase is attributed to burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil), solid waste, trees and wood products, and as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement).  Furthermore, because plants absorb CO2 (thus remove it from the atmosphere) as part of their biological carbon cycle, deforestation further leads to increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Read more...

Green Building

Green building, also known as sustainable or high performance building, is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance and deconstruction. A green building may incorporate sustainable materials (recycled) in their construction, create healthy indoor environments with minimal pollutants, and/or feature landscaping that reduces water usage; all with the goal of designing a structure that efficiently use energy, water, and other resources, protects the occupants health and reduces waste. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) the green building movement arose out of the need for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly building practices.  Specifically the increase in oil prices in the 1970s initiated significant research to improve energy efficiency and find renewable energy sources; together, with the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s, led to the earliest attempts at modern green building.  It wasn't however until the 1990s that the green building field began to come together. In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2010, ENERGY STAR has successfully delivered energy and cost savings across the country, saving businesses, organizations, and consumers about $18 billion. In 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was established whose purpose is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green building.  In 1998, the  USGBC launched their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which is  a voluntary, consensus-based, market­-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. The green building market has continued to grow over the last 20 years. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, in 2005, the green building market for commercial construction starts was 2%; in 2008 it was 12%; and in 2010 it was 28%-35%.  By 2015, an estimated 40-48% of new nonresidential construction by value will be green, equating to a $120-145 billion opportunity for builders.
Read more...

Greenhouse Effect

The Green­house Effect is a nat­ural and nec­es­sary phe­nom­e­non to sup­port life on earth. Sim­ply put, the earth absorbs energy from the sun as sun­light. The earth cools down by releas­ing infrared radi­a­tion (another energy) into the atmos­phere. How­ever, before the infrared radi­a­tion can escape to outer space, green­house gases in the atmos­phere absorb some of it. This keeps the atmos­phere and the earth’s sur­face warm.
Read more...

Greenhouse Gases

The four main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide(N2O) and fluorinated gases. They basically act like a blanket around the earth to keep it warm. In 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, CO2 represented 84% of the U.S, Greenhouse Gas emissions, CH4 10%, N2O 4% and fluorinated gases 2%.
Read more...

Growth Stocks

Shares in a company whose earnings are expected to grow at an above-average rate relative to the market.
Read more...

Halogenated Flame Retardants

Halogenated flame retardants

periodic.jpgBromine, chlorine, fluorine and iodine, are the elements in the chemical group known as halogens.  Halogen is derived from Greek, meaning 'salt-former', referring to elements which produce a salt in union with a metal. For example, sodium chloride, or table salt, is the most common example of a halogen salt. Halogenated (those containing bromine and chlorine)flame retardants interfere with the chemistry of the flame. Halogenated flame retardants  function primarily by removing the H and OH radicals during the ignition phase of a fire; acting directly on the flame.  When heated, halogenated flame retardants release bromine or chlorine radicals; these react with the hydrocarbon molecules in the flammable gas mixture (smoke) to create hydrogen bromide (HBr) or hydrogen chloride (HCl). These gases then react with the high-energy H and OH radicals, releasing water vapor and the lower-energy Br and Cl radicals—which may remain available to repeat the cycle. To summarize, the halogen radicals released as the material heats up interfere with gas-phase combustion, slowing or blocking ignition.

Flame retardant chemicals  are associated with a variety of serious health  and environmental concerns

Halogenated flame retardants have been  associated with a variety of serious health concerns, including disruption of hormones, developmental and reproductive problems; create toxic, carcinogenic byproducts if burned, which may be associated with higher rates of cancer in firefighters; halogenated flame retardants build up in wildlife and are found throughout freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems globally, with the highest levels in top of the food chain predators like birds of prey and marine mammals and are associated with altered behaviors and decreased reproductive success in some species.

Read more...

Hartmann-Hirschman-Egan Award

ACPAThe award is one of the most coveted awards presented by the American Concrete Pavement Association. The award recognizes individuals and companies, as well as other organizations, for unparalleled commitment, dedication, participation, and leadership in the concrete pavement community. First presented in 1968, the award was originally named in honor of Harold W. Hartmann, who served as the Association’s Secretary-Treasurer from 1964 until 1974. In 1987, Robert E. Hirschman’s name was added in recognition of his term as the Association’s Chairman (then President) in 1967, as well as his tenure as Secretary-Treasurer from 1975 to 1987.  In 2007, the name of Edward A. Egan was added in recognition of his steadfast leadership and dedication to the Association and the industry it serves.  Among the stations he occupied was the ACPA’s chairman in 1986, as well as Secretary-Treasurer—from 1988 to 2007, making him the longest-serving person in that capacity in the Association’s history. These individuals demonstrated leadership and tireless dedication to the concrete pavement industry, which helped shape the ACPA and the industry it serves. The award is presented to individuals or groups that demonstrate the same level of dedication as Hartmann, Hirschman, and Egan.  
Read more...

Home Afford­able Mod­i­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram (HAMP)

The Home Afford­able Mod­i­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram (HAMP), as part of the Making Home Affordable program, assists home­own­ers in cri­sis to mod­ify their mort­gage to make their pay­ments more afford­able.  So far, more than 1 mil­lion home­own­ers have received a per­ma­nent mod­i­fi­ca­tion through the Home Afford­able Mod­i­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram (HAMP).  Home­owner should con­tact their mort­gage com­pany to see if they par­tic­i­pate in the HAMP pro­gram. If they don’t, home­owner should asked their mort­gage com­pany if they have an alter­na­tive program.
Who is Eli­gi­ble for HAMP?
  • You obtained your mort­gage on or before Jan­u­ary 1, 2009.
  • You owe up to $729,750 on your pri­mary res­i­dence or sin­gle unit rental property
  • You owe up to $934,200 on a 2-unit rental prop­erty; $1,129,250 on a 3-unit rental prop­erty; or $1,403,400 on a 4-unit rental property
  • The prop­erty has not been condemned
  • You have a finan­cial hard­ship and are either delin­quent or in dan­ger of falling behind on your mort­gage pay­ments (non-owner occu­pants must be delin­quent in order to qualify).
  • You have suf­fi­cient, doc­u­mented income to sup­port a mod­i­fied payment.
  • You must not have been con­victed within the last 10 years of felony lar­ceny, theft, fraud or forgery, money laun­der­ing or tax eva­sion, in con­nec­tion with a mort­gage or real estate transaction.Homeowners who are apply­ing for a mod­i­fi­ca­tion on a home that is not their pri­mary res­i­dence, but the prop­erty is cur­rently rented or the home­owner intends to rent it.

Read more...

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD), established in 1965, is a cabinet of the United States federal government responsible for a number of federal housing agencies and programs.  Two of its main functions are as a lending facilitator and to provide counseling services to potential and current homeowners.

HUD AS A LENDING FACILITATOR

HUD assists people of low- and mid-level incomes to acquire loans to purchase housing primarily through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage programs. The FDA, which is part of HUD, administers various single family mortgage insurance programs. These programs operate through FHA-approved lending institutions which submit applications to have the property appraised and have the buyer's credit approved. These lenders fund the mortgage loans which the Department insures. HUD does not make direct loans to help people buy homes.

COUNSELING SERVICES

HUD offers counseling services for potential homeowners and supports organizations that offer advice on renting, default, foreclosure avoidance, credit issues or reverse mortgage
Read more...

Housing Bubble

The housing bubble began in the late 1990 to early 2000, when inflation-adjusted house prices starting to move up sharply.  In fact, the average U.S. home price doubled in value on an inflation-adjusted basis from 2000 to 2006.  It is widely suggested that the government's efforts to promote homeownership is to blame for this - 1992 legislation required the government-backed mortgage investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to guarantee more loans for people with shaky credit and an inability to make substantial down payments. The housing bubble began to deflate in 2006, when housing sales began to  decline. The housing bubble burst in late 2007 when the number of homes sold in the United States  dropped to 776,000.  This was a 40 percent drop in home sales from  2005 when 1,283,000 sold.
Read more...

Hydraulic Hybrid

A hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) uses an internal combustion engine and a hydraulic motor to power the wheels.  Basically, the hydraulic system captures the energy when the brakes are applied. This energy is subsequently used to propel the vehicle the next time it needs to accelerate.  This is called regenerative braking. The hydraulic hybrid system consists of two key components that converts kinetic energy into reusable potential energy.
  • Accumulators -  High pressure hydraulic fluid vessels used to store pressurized fluid.
  • Hydraulic drive pump/motors -  the hydraulic drive uses the pressurized fluid to rotate the wheels. The hydraulic drive re-pressurizes the hydraulic fluid by using the momentum of the vehicle.

A Hydraulic Hybrid has -

  • Higher Fuel efficiency
  • Lower emissions
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Better acceleration performance

Read more...

Hydrocarbon Gas

 A hydrocarbon is an organic compound containing only carbon and hydrogen.  Examples of hydrocarbon gases include:
  • methane (CH4), also known as natural gas,
  • ethane (C2H6)
  • propane (C3H8)
  • butane (C4H10)

Read more...

ICC-700 National Green Building Standard®

The ICC-700 National Green Building Standard® In 2007, the NAHB and the International Code Council (ICC) partnered to establish a nationally-recognizable standard definition of green building. The resulting ICC 700 National Green Building Standard® is the first and only residential green building rating system to undergo the full consensus process and receive approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Read more...

Infill synthetic turf product

Infill is either an black crumb rubber particles or acrylic coated, green colored sand with antimicrobial properties. Either infill product is put between the blades of the artificial grass lawn products Infill provides a structure for the artificial grass fibers, helping the fibers to stand. Infill also provides a cushion when stepping over the turf. This protects the roots of the yarn fibers and at the same time adding flexibility to the whole artificial turf system. Generally speaking, infill artificial grass system could bear more traffic than non-infill artificial grass system under the same situation.  
Read more...

Inflation Rate

Inflation is an increase in the price of goods and services or a decline in the purchasing power of money. Annual Inflation rates are calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U), which includes 80,000 good and services.
inflation ratesUS.jpg

Rates of inflation are calculated using the current Consumer Price Index published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 21t Century Builder

  Types of Inflation
  • Price Inflation is when prices get higher or it takes more money to buy the same item.
  • Monetary Inflation is an increase in the money supply commonly referred to as the government (printing money) which generally results in price inflation.

Calculation the annual inflation rate of a loaf of bread:

  • January 2014 - cost of loaf of bread is $1.00
  • January 2015 - cost of loaf of bread is $1.02
  • 1.02 - 1.00 / 1.02 = .02  X 100 =
  • 2% inflation rate of a loaf of bread over this 12 month period.
The Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States which meets 8 times a year, utilizes the BLS statisics to attempt to control inflation and deflation and sustain an annual inflation ratio of about 2%.  They do this by:
  • Managing the nation's money supply through monetary policy to achieve the sometimes-conflicting goals of maximum employment
  • Stabilizing prices, including prevention of either inflation or deflation
  • Controlling long-term interest rates. For example, since 2008 interest rates have been kept low in order to increase consumer spending and stimulate economic growth.
What Can Increase Inflation:
  • Increases in the money supply.  Long Term.
  • Temporary shortage of goods, either due to a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.   Short Term.
  • The effects of an organized cartel that is purposely restricting supply and artificially raising prices.  Short Term.  For instance, in 2008,  OPEC exerted its influence by cutting production and driving up prices.
  • Too much money, not enough goods
  • Company's costs go up so they increase prices.
What are the Impacts of Healthy Inflation
  • Interest Rates go up
  • Employment goes up
  • Sign of growing/good economy
Deflation or low inflation caused by
  • Productivity induced - such as when there are major productivity enhancements like the invention of the assembly line or the completion of the transcontinental railroad or the onset of cheap productive capacity in China.
  • Collapsing stock market  which destroy paper assets - 2008
  • Plugging oil prices
  • Reduction in supply of money
  • Reduction in available credit
  •  When the GDP is growing fast in terms of real money
What is the impact of deflation or low inflation
  • weak economy
  • falling prices
  • shrinking employment
  • shrinking income
  • lack of spending power
Rapidly rising or falling inflation often a sign of suffering economy with high unemployment and a lack of spending power. The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) Consumer Price Index is a measure of change in consumer goods and services. Producer Price Indexes (PPI) often will increase before CPI. The government chose an arbitrary date to be the base year and set that equal to 100. Currently that date is the average of the years 1982-1984; previously the base year was 1967. Index numbers are not dollar values, but measures of the change over time relative to their base period value of 100.0. How the CPI is caluculated? The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is published as an index number that shows the change in the price of a defined market basket of goods and services over time from a base period which is defined as 100.0. An increase of 7 percent from that base period, for example, is shown as 107.0. Alternately, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period "market basket" of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. Currently, the reference base for most CPI indexes is 1982- 84=100 but some indexes have other references bases. The reference base years refer to the period in which the index is set to 100.0. In addition, expenditure weights are updated every two years to keep the CPI current with changing consumer preferences.  

Read more...

Inflation-Adjusted

Removes the effects of inflation from the return of an investment  and allows the investor to see the true earning potential Investment Rate   -   Inflation Rate   =   Inflation-Adjusted Rate For example a house increases in value by 10% in one year.  However, inflation for that year was 5%.  So the real return on the homes value is actually only 5%.    
Read more...

Initial public offering (IPO)

  • An IPO is when a company initially offers shares of stocks to the public (going public).Through this process, a private company transforms into a public company.
  • IPOs can be issued by smaller, younger companies seeking the capital to expand, but can also be done by large privately owned companies looking to become publicly traded.
  • A company can raise money by issuing either debt or equity.
  • Initial public offering (IPO) or stock market launch is a type of public offering in which shares of stock in a company are usually sold to institutional investors, who help determine what type of security to issue (common or preferred), the best offering price and the time to bring it to market,  in turn sell to the general public, on a securities exchange, for the first time.
 
Read more...

Internal Combustion Engine

An internal combustion engine is any engine that operates by igniting a high-energy fuel (gasoline, diesel, hydrogen, methane, propane, etc.) inside a engine; this consequently releases energy in the form of expanding gas which sets the vehicle into motion.  
Read more...

Kinetic Energy

The energy of motion.  An object that has motion - whether it is vertical or horizontal motion - has kinetic energy.
Read more...

Latex

Latex describes any polymer in a water-based liquid or viscous state Polymers are made up of many repeated small molecules (momomers) all strung together to form really long chains (and sometimes more complicated structures, too).  Polymers can be both natural and synthetic. Example: Natural Rubber is made from the latex produced by plants.  
Read more...

Lead­er­ship in Energy and Envi­ron­men­tal Design (LEED®)

Lead­er­ship in Energy and Envi­ron­men­tal Design (LEED®)–cer­ti­fied build­ings are designed to lower oper­at­ing costs and increase asset value, reduce waste sent to land­fills, lower oper­at­ing costs, con­serve energy and water and reduce harm­ful green­house gas emis­sions. The Lead­er­ship in Energy and Envi­ron­men­tal Design (LEED®) green build­ing rat­ing pro­gram was estab­lished in 1998 by the U.S. Green Build­ing Coun­cil (USGBC) to pro­vide vol­un­tary third-party cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of green build­ings, homes, neigh­bor­hoods and communities The LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram was devel­oped and is admin­is­tered by the U.S. Green Build­ing Coun­cil, a non­profit coali­tion of build­ing indus­try lead­ers estab­lished in 1993.  In the United States, and 135 coun­tries around the world, LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is now the rec­og­nized global stan­dard for mea­sur­ing build­ing sustainability. To earn LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, com­mer­cial build­ings and neigh­bor­hood projects must sat­isfy all LEED pre­req­ui­sites and earn a min­i­mum 40 points on a 110-point LEED rat­ing sys­tem scale. Homes must earn a min­i­mum of 45 points on a 136-point scale. For more infor­ma­tion on the LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram visit their web­site.
Read more...

LEED AP Credential

LEEDAPLeadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) The LEED AP credential affirms your advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in a particular LEED rating system. All LEED AP with specialty credential holders are required to maintain their credential by earning 30 continuing education hours every two years.

LEED specialties

Building Design and Construction
      LEED AP Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C)
Operations and Maintenance   LEED AP Operations + Maintenance (LEED AP O+M)  Interior Design and ConstructionLEED AP Interior Design + Construction (LEED AP ID+C) Homes LEED AP Homes  Neighborhood Development LEED AP Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND)

Read more...

LEED Fellows

LEEDfellow.jpb

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Fellow The LEED Fellow designates the most exceptional professionals in the green building industry. LEED Fellows are highly accomplished class of individuals nominated by their peers and distinguished by the caliber of their contributions to advancing the field of green building.

The criteria for assessing LEED Fellow nominees are based on five major dimensions of green building and sustainability that have been identified as mastery elements.

  • Technical Proficiency
  • Education and Mentoring
  • Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Advocacy

Read more...

LEED Green Associate

LEEDGREENASScA LEED Green Associate credential demonstrates a solid, current understanding of green building principles and practices. LEED Green Associates earn their credential by passing a two-hour, computer-based exam comprising 100 randomly delivered multiple-choice questions. All LEED Green Associates are required to maintain their credential through continuing education.
Read more...

Leverage

The amount of debt used to finance a firm's assets. A firm with significantly more debt than equity is considered to be highly leveraged.
Read more...

Light-emitting diodes (LED)

Light-emitting diodes (LED)  are electrical semiconductors that produce light through the movement of elections. More specifically, the diodes have a positive and a negative charged layer.   The positive layer has openings for the electrons; the negative layer contains free floating electrons. When an electric charge strikes the diode, it activates the flow of electrons from the negative to the positive layer. The excited electrons emit light as they flow into the positively charged openings. LED Cool to the Touch Because only a small amount of heat is released backwards during this process, LED’s are basically cool to the touch. LED lighting is a form of solid-state lighting (SSL), illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in the diodes; therefore they last just as long as a standard transistor - the lifespan of a LED surpasses lifespan of an incandescent bulb by thousands of hours.  
Read more...

linear correlation coefficient, r

A measures the strength and direction of a linear relationship between two variables or two data sets  The linear correlation is sometimes referred to as the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient in honor of its developer Karl Pearson. When two sets of data are strongly linked together we say they have a High Correlation.The word Correlation is made of Co- (meaning "together"), and Relation
  • Correlation is Positive when the values increase together, and
  • Correlation is Negative when one value decreases as the other increases
Correlation can have a value:
  • 1 is a perfect positive correlation
  • 0 is no correlation (the values don't seem linked at all)
  • -1 is a perfect negative correlation
The value shows how good the correlation is (not how steep the line is), and if it is positive or negative. How to calculate
  • Step 1: Find the mean of x, and the mean of y
  • Step 2: Subtract the mean of x from every x value (call them "a"), do the same for y (call them "b")
  • Step 3: Calculate: a × ba2 and b2 for every value
  • Step 4: Sum up a × b, sum up a2 and sum up b2
  • Step 5: Divide the sum of a × b by the square root of [(sum of a2) × (sum of b2)]

Read more...

Loads - the costs of buying a fund

Loads are sales commissions paid to the financial planners, brokers or investment advisors and cover the cost of marketing and advertising of the fund and/or the expertise of the investment intermediary Sales commission fees (loads) are paid either when you purchase the fund (front-end load) or when you redeem your shares (back-end load). Funds that do no charge additional fees outside of the expense ratio are called no load funds.
Read more...

Loss Mitigation

Loss mitigation is when a homeowner is defaulting on their mortgage and facing foreclosure and,  in response,  their mortgage lender attempts by to recoup as much of the loan value as they can, knowing they will suffer some financial loss, but that the loss will be smaller than if the loan goes into foreclosure.
Read more...

Market Capitalization

Market Capitalization (CAP) is the total dollar market value of all a companies outstanding shares.
Market capitalization =  company's shares outstanding  X  current market price of one share.  
  • Outstanding shares are stocks currently held by investors, including restricted shares owned by the company's officers and insiders, as well as those held by the public.
  • Restricted shares are insider holdings that are under some other kind of sales restriction.
Stocks of large, medium and small companies are referred to as large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap, respectively
  • Large Cap:     $10 billion and greater
  • Mid Cap:        $2 billion to $10 billion
  • Small Cap:     Less than $2 billion

Read more...

Mason Tender

A Mason Tender, also known as a hod carrier, is an assistant to the Mason. He is mainly responsible for stocking supplies, build scaffolding and mixing mortars. He doesn't lay bricks but can perform saw cuts and do the general cleanup.
Read more...

Medical Cost Ratio

Compares a health insurance company’s costs to its premium revenues (income insurance company receives from customers for insurance products).
Read more...

Medicare "donut hole" or Coverage Gap.

Some Medicare drug plans have a coverage gap. This means that after you and your drug plan have spent a certain amount of money for covered drugs, you may have to pay more for your prescription drugs up to a certain limit.
Read more...

Methane

A colorless, flammable, odorless hydrocarbon gas (CH4) which is the major component of natural gas.  
Read more...

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

narThe National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members, including NAR’s institutes, societies and councils, involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.  Their membership is composed of residential and commercial REALTORS®, who are brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry that all pledge to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.  The NAR provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property.
Read more...

Natural Gas

Natural gas is colorless, shapeless, and odorless.  Natural gas is a combustible mixture of hydrocarbon gases, consisting primarily of methane, with other hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide. Natural gas is the energy source often used for heating, cooking, and electricity generation. It is also used as fuel for vehicles and as a chemical feedstock in the manufacture of plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals.
Read more...

Net Asset Value

"Net asset value," or "NAV," of an investment company is the company's total assets minus its total liabilities. For example,
NAV = Assets - Liabilities
  • Assets  = $100
  • Liabilities = $10
  • NAV = $90
To calculate the NAV per share simply divide the NAV by the huber of shares that are outstanding.
  • Mutual funds and Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) generally must calculate their NAV at least once every business day, typically after the major U.S. exchanges close.
  • A closed-end fund, whose shares generally are not "redeemable"—that is, not required to be repurchased by the fund—is not subject to this requirement.
  • That is, the price that investors pay to purchase mutual fund and most  UTI shares is the approximate per share NAV, plus any fees that the fund imposes at purchase (such as sales loads or purchase fees).
  • The price that investors receive on redemptions is the approximate per share NAV at redemption, minus any fees that the fund deducts at that time (such as deferred sales loads or redemption fees).
  • The redemption is the return of an investor's principal in a fixed income security, such as a preferred stock or bond; or the sale of units in a mutual fund.

Read more...

Net Income

Net income is the bottom line, net profit or net earnings.

Net income is the main source of compensation to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.
  • If a company does not generate enough profits to compensate owners, the value of shares will drop.
  • If a company is profitable and growing, stock prices will increase.  
Net Income = Total Revenue - Total Expenses 
Example  Total revenue - $100
  • Subtract cost of Goods Sold - $10
Gross Profit - $90
  • Subtract operating expense: rent, salary, utilities, depreciations, preferred stock dividends - $20
  • Subtract interest expense - $5
  • Subtract taxes - $5

NET INCOME - $60


Read more...

Net Income Margin

Net Income Margin (NIM) is a ratio that compares net income to sales and sums up how effectively managers are running a business; more specifically, how good a company is at converting revenue into profits and how effective a company is at cost control.

 Net Income Margin = Net income x 100 ÷ Total Sales Revenue.

 Total Sales Revenue = total sales revenue and other revenue for a particular period.

A high net profit margin indicates a profitable company that is effective at converting revenue into actual profit.  It is often recommend that when considering purchasing a stock, the NIM  should be 20% above the industry average Net Income A company's total earnings (or profit). Net income is calculated by taking revenues and adjusting for the cost of doing business, depreciation, interest, taxes and other expenses.
Net Income = Total Revenue  - Cost of inventory - Operating Expenses - Interest Expenses - Taxes   
  • Revenue is the amount of money a company is allowed to recognize from the sale of its goods, services, or intellectual property.
  • Interest expense is the cost of debt that has occurred during a specified period of time.

Read more...

Net Profit Margin

Indicator of a company's efficiency.  

A good company has constant strong earnings and cash flow.

The higher the Net Profit Margin, the better it is

Net Profit Margin = net profits/sales

= bottom line/total sales

Net profit margin is the ratio of net profits to sales.  It is a good indicator of a company's efficiency because it takes into account all expenses of the company.  A high ratio indicates a more profitable company.

For example, if a company has a 20% profit margin, it means the company has a net income of $.20 for each $1.0 of sales.


Read more...

NGO - Non-Governmental Organization

A non-governmental organization (NGO)  voluntary citizen- based group which is organized on a local, national or international level and operates independently of government, usually to deliver resources or serve some social or political purpose. Although some NGOs are for-profit corporations, the vast majority are nonprofit organizations.
Read more...

Non-infill synthetic turf product

Non-infill turf refers to artificial turf with short pile height, narrow gauge (distance between rows) and high stitch rate. Non-infill is often used to construct a football pitch, tennis court or some other sport applications, play areas for children and pets, and areas around a swimming pool.  Non-infill does not increase in temperature and requires less maintenance than infill turf.  
Read more...

Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)

kkThe pending home sale index was  created by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and tracks homes sales in which a contract is signed but the sale has not yet closed. It is a leading indicator of future existing home sales; an increase in the index, and thus housing demands, infers that people are more in a position to make mortgage payments. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined.  
Read more...

Polyisocyanurate Foam

Polyisocyanurate, also referred to as PIR, polyiso, or ISO, is a closed-cell, rigid foam board insulation used primarily on the roofs and walls of offices, health facilities, warehouses, retail and industrial manufacturing facilities and educational institutions. Because of its high thermal performance, it is the product of choice for energy-aware homebuilders and consumers. Polyiso roof insulation offers:
  • The highest R-value per inch, which means the greatest energy efficiency performance or R-value of any building insulation product on the market
  • Polyiso on a roof deck significantly reduces energy costs
  • Exclusive third-party, thermal performance certification
  • Only high-thermal foam to meet both FM 4450 and UL 1256 fire tests
  • Nationwide availability
          Superior Performance in Fire Tests Polyiso passes both the ANSI UL 1256 and FM 4450 fire tests without a thermal barrier. Polyiso, a thermoset material, stays intact during fire exposure in the ASTM E84 or "Tunnel Test.” It forms a protective char layer and remains in place during the test, thereby meeting all building code requirements and contributing to a fire-safe building.  Compressive Strength Compressive strength refers to the ability of a rigid foam board to resist deformation and maintain its shape when subjected to a force or load. Common construction compressive strength applications require polyiso to maintain its shape during installation as well as during use. Polyiso insulation boards are available in a range of compressive strengths. The ASTM Specification of Polyiso Insulations, C 1289, states that all Polyiso products should have a minimum stated compressive strength of 16 psi. For more information on Polyiso’s compressive strength, please consult Compressive Strength. Environmentally Responsible All Polyiso insulation manufactured by PIMA members utilizes an EPA compliant hydrocarbon-based blowing agent which has zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and virtually no Global Warming Potential (GWP); it also meets both CFC- and HCFC-free specification requirements. Other Unique Properties
  • Polyiso is stable over a large temperature range (-100°F to +250°F) and can be used as a component in roof systems utilizing hot asphalt.
  • Polyiso has low density, good adhesion to facers, low water absorption and low vapor transmission.
  • Polyiso is not affected by oil-based waterproofing compounds, insecticides or fertilizers when properly protected.
 
QualityMarkcm  Certification Program
The PIMA QualityMarkcm certification program allows participating Polyiso manufacturers to certify the Long Term Thermal Resistance (LTTR) values of their Polyiso insulation products through an independent, third-party. This program was designed to be a benchmark for all roof insulations. The certification gives consumers an easy way to identify quality products that meet or exceed listed LTTR values.
For over ten years, LTTR values for roof insulation under the QualityMarkcm certification program have been reported and certified in accordance with the testing requirements of ASTM C1289 "Standard Specification for Faced Rigid Cellular Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board.” This latest update of ASTM C1289-11 features important improvements regarding the prediction of long-term thermal resistance ("R”) value for a variety of polyiso insulation boards primarily used in roofing applications.
The PIMA QualityMarkcm certification program will begin reporting LTTR values in accordance with ASTM C1289-11 on January 1, 2014.  To participate in the Certification program, a Class 1 roof is suggested to have a design R-value of 5.7 per inch. Polyiso is unique in that the R-value increases with the thickness of the foam, so three inches of polyiso has a higher R-value per inch than two inches.
The following is a list of polyiso manufacturers participating in the PIMA QualityMarkcm certification progra

Read more...

polymer backbone

The polymer backbone chain or main chain of a polymer is the series of covalently bounded atoms that together create the continuous chain of the molecule A polymer, both natural and synthetic, is a large molecule, or macromolecule, composed of many repeated subunits, known as monomers. polymer
Read more...

Potential Energy

Potential energy is the stored energy of position possessed by an object
Read more...

Preferred stock

A preferred stock is a class of ownership in a corporation.

  • Preferred dividends are paid before common stock dividends.
  • If the company enters into bankruptcy, preferred stock shareholders are paid from company assets first.
  • Most  preferred stocks have fixed dividends; common stocks dividends are usually not fixed.
  • Preferred stock owners do not have voting rights; common shareholders have voting rights.
  • Preferred shares are typically less volatile than common shares and offer investors a steadier flow of dividends.
  • Preferred stocks are less risky than common stock.
  • Preferred stock owners often have the right to convert that preferred stock into common stock at a prearranged price.

Read more...

Price to Book Ratio – P/B (price-equity ratio)

Price to Book Ratio – P/B  (price-equity ratio) A ratio used to compare a stock’s market value to its book value. It is calculated by dividing the current closing price of the stock by the latest quarter’s book value per share. According to Benjamin Graham, investors should pay no more than 1.5 times a stock’s book value. If a company’s book value per share is $20, then the maximum  an investor should pay is $30 per share.
  • Companies trading below one and a half times book value are deemed to be value stocks.
  • Companies trading higher than one and a half times book value should be considered expensive.
A lower P/B ratio could mean that the stock is undervalued. However, it could also mean that something is fundamentally wrong with the company. The Book Value  of a business is calculated from the balance sheet, and it is the difference between a company’s total assets and total liabilities.  So, if a company has $10 in assets and $5 in liabilities, the book value or net value of the business is $5. The Market Value is the value of a company according to the stock market and calculated by multiplying a company’s shares outstanding by its current market price. If the business has 10 shares outstanding and each share trades for $2, then the company’s market value is $20.
Read more...

Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E)

The Price to Earnings Ratio tells you what the market is willing to pay for the company’s earnings and is commonly used to determine if a company's stock price is over or undervalued.
  • 1 year P/E should be LT 10
  • 5 year P/E should be LT 20
For instance, if a stock has a P/E of 15, then the market is willing to pay 15 times its earnings for the stock.  Often a P/E of no more than 15 is considered a good value.
P/E = Stock Price per Share/ Earnings per Share (EPS) for a 12 month period (usually the last 12 months, or trailing twelve months (TTM))
High P/E - Companies with a high P/E ratio are typically growth stocks.  A high P/E indicates companies with good growth potential because investors are willing to pay a premium for future profits. Often these stocks are considered overvalued. Low P/E - A lower P/E ratio indicates either a bargain, a troubled company, or a very steady consistent company. Zero P/E - Companies with a zero P/E  are losing money Forward P/E The forward P/E uses the estimates of Wall Street analysts of what the company’s next earnings per share report will be instead of using the company’s last reported earnings per share (TTM).
  • If the forward P/E is lower than the P/E TTM it means future earnings are expected to be higher than the recently completed annual earnings and the stock is about to become a bargain.
  •  If the forward P/E is higher than the P/E TTM, it means the company is expected to earn less over the coming year than it did in the past year.


Read more...

Price/Earnings to Growth Rate (PEG Ratio)

The price/earnings to growth (PEG) ratio is used to determine a stock's value while taking the company's earnings growth into account. Or, the PEG is used to determine if a stock has a low value competed to future growth. The lower the PEG ratio, the more the stock may be undervalued given its earnings performance.
  • Generally a PEG of less than 1 is considered an undervalued stock.
  • While a higher PEG indicates that the stock is overvalued
PEG Ratio =  P/E ratio/Annual EPS Growth
 
Read more...

Privately-Owned Housing

pubilchous.jpbA privately-owned housing structures is not owned by any federal, state, or local government. Units in structures built by private developers with partial public subsidies or which are for sale upon completion to local public housing authorities under the HUD "Turnkey" program are all classified as private housing. A privately owned housing unit is a house, an apartment, a group of rooms or a single room intended for occupancy as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other individuals in the building and which have a direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall. In accordance with this definition, each apartment unit in an apartment building is counted as one housing unit.
Read more...

Proprietary Loan Modifications or Private Loan Modifications

Proprietary Loan Modifications or Private Loan Modifications. These loan modifications are plans mortgage lender established to meet the individual home owner’s financial needs and avoid foreclosure.
Read more...

R-Value

The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry.  Insulation level are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value the better the thermal performance of the insulation.
Read more...

Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite

The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite is a weighted average of the prices of 15 key framing lumber items produced in North America and is a broad measure or indicator of price behavior in the U.S. framing lumber market. Typically, 33% of the composite is composed of Southern Pine prices, 33% comes from Western U.S. prices, and 34% comes from Canadian prices. The Composite does not include prices from the small volumes produced elsewhere in the U.S. (Midwest and Northeast) or the relatively small offshore sources.      
Read more...

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a good way to measure the health of the country's economy. Real gross domestic product -- the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes -- increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent.
realGDP.jpg

Data take from the BEA. 21st Century Builder.

  The real gross domestic product is the market value of all goods and services produced by the economy during the period measured, including personal consumption, government purchases, private inventories, paid-in construction costs and the foreign trade balance (exports are added, imports are subtracted) in the United States, adjusted for inflation. Calculate Real GDP (Nominal GDP) - (Nominal * Inflation Rate) = Real GDP
  • Inflation Rate of 2.5%
  • Nominal GDP = 10 million
  • Real GDP = $10 million - ($10 million * .025) = 9.75 million
  BEAThe Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is the research arm of the Department of Commerce that quarterly reports the Real GDP. The Real GDP (vs. Nominal GDP)  allows a more accurate measure of how well the economy is doing. Without Real GDP, it might seem like the country is producing more when the GDP is only higher because prices are rising.

FACTS ABOUT THE REAL GDP

  • Real GDP is an indicator of the health of the economy.
  • The consensus is that 2.5-3.5% per year growth in real GDP is the range of best overall benefit; enough to provide for corporate profit and jobs growth yet moderate enough to not incite undue inflationary concerns.
  • If the economy is just coming out of recession, it is OK for the GDP figure to jump into the 6-8% range briefly, but investors will look for the long-term rate to stay near the 3% level.
  • The general definition of an economic recession is two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth.

Read more...

Regenerative Braking

When brakes slow a car down, the kinetic energy that was propelling it forward usually dissipates as heat. Regenerative braking is system designed by automotive engineers to recapture the car’s kinetic energy and convert it into electricity, so that it can be used to recharge the car’s batteries.  
Read more...

Retail Sales

census-logo.jpg

Consumer expenditures generally make up about two-thirds of total gross domestic product

In the U.S., the Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report (retail sales report) is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce. The retail sales report estimates consumer retail spending (in-store sales as well as catalog and other out-of-store sales) but not service spending. Responses from 5,000 surveys sent to retailers around the U.S. Companies of all sizes, from Wal-Mart to independent, small-town businesses determine consumer retail spending. The report also breaks down sales figures into groups such as food and beverages, clothing, and autos. Two ways report the results of the surveys: with and without auto sales because their high sticker price can add extra volatility to the data. Numbers are nominal (not adjusted for inflation). Year-over-year historical comparisons are the most-reported metric because they account for the seasonality of consumer-based retail.
Estimates are of the U.S. Census Bureau and are shown in millions of dollars. 21st Century Builder.

Estimates are of the U.S. Census Bureau and are shown in millions of dollars. 21st Century Builder.

Retail Sales is closely watched by both economists and investors

Retail Sales reflects the current state of the economy (coincident indicator); it is also considered an indicator of impending inflation.

  1. Increasing retail sales indicates the economy is up, which means better business for retailers, their suppliers and the manufacturers of those goods. Ultimately this leads to more employment and better wages, and ultimately more consumer spending and better retail sales.
  2. When Retail Sales are down, this indicates a slow economy; in other words, if consumers feel uncertain about their financial future and decide to hold off buying new stoves or sweaters, and the economy slows down, which can lead to recession.
  When there is a threat of recession, the Central Banks (in the U.S. it is the Federal Reserve Board) uses three methods to increase (or decrease) the amount of money in the banking system. A monetary policy refers to the following actions:
  1. The Fed can influence the money supply by modifying reserve requirements, which is the amount of funds banks must hold against deposits in bank accounts. By lowering the reserve requirements, banks can loan more money, which increases the overall supply of money in the economy. Conversely, by raising the banks' reserve requirements, the Fed can decrease the size of the money supply.
  2. The Fed can also alter the money supply by changing short-term interest rates. By lowering (or raising) the discount rate that banks pay on short-term loans from the Federal Reserve Bank, the Fed can effectively increase (or decrease) the liquidity of money. Lower rates increase the money supply and boost economic activity; however, declines in interest rates fuel inflation.
  3. The Fed can affect the money supply by conducting open market operations, which affects the federal funds rate. In open operations, the Fed buys and sells government securities in the open market. If the Fed wants to increase the money supply, it buys government bonds, which supplies the securities dealers who sell the bonds with cash, increasing the overall money supply. Conversely, if the Fed wants to decrease the money supply, it sells bonds from its account, thus taking in cash and removing money from the economic system.

Read more...

Retained Earnings

The percent of net earnings not out as dividends.
Retained Earnings = Initial RE + Net Income - Dividends

 

Read more...

Return on Asset (ROA)

Return on Equity shows how efficiently a company utilizes profits from its assets.  A high ROA indicates a company is financially solid.  The ROA reveals:
  • How much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested
  • The amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders equity.
  • A firm's efficiency at generating profits and using investment funds to generate earnings growth.
  • A ROA of five percent is considered good.
ROA = (Net Income/Average Total Assets)  
  • Net income is derived from the income statement of the company and is the profit after taxes.
  • Total assets are read from the balance sheet and include cash and cash-equivalent items such as receivables, inventories, land, capital equipment as depreciated, and the value of intellectual property such as patents.
  • Average Total Assets =  (beginning of the assets + end of year assets)/2
  • A ROA of 20% means that the company produces $1 of profit for every $5 it has invested in its assets
  • An increasing ROA indicates a business is continuing to earn an increasing profit on each dollar of investment.
  • A falling ROA indicates trouble in a company.

Read more...

Return on Equity (ROE)

The ROE Reveals
  • How much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested
  • The amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders equity.
  • A firm's efficiency at generating profits and using investment funds to generate earnings growth.
  • ROE tends to tell us how effectively an organization is taking advantage of its base of equity, or capital.

A ROE of 15-20% is considered good.

ROE = Net Income After Taxes for past 12 months / Stockholders' Equity  
  • Stockholders' Equity = total assets - total liabilities   OR
  • Stockholders' Equity = share capital + retained earnings - Treasury Shares.
  • Shareholder's equity does not include preferred shares
  • Net income is for the full fiscal year (before dividends paid to common stockholders but after dividends to preferred stock).
 
Read more...

Revenue

Revenue or sales is the amount of money - top line, gross income -  that is brought into a company by its business activities.
Read more...

Revenue Growth TTM

Revenue Growth Revenue growth is a measure used  to see how good a company is at bringing in sales and a measure of how fast a business is growing. A good company should have 5 consecutive years of revenue growth.   In addition, growth rates should be equal or higher than its P/E.  If the P/E is more than 2 times the growth rate, avoid buying the stock stocks.  (example: 8 % growth rate, P/E 16). All things being equal, stocks with higher revenue growth rates are generally more desirable than those with slower revenue growth rates; however if the EPS growth has not increased proportionately, it’s likely due to a decrease in profit margin and an indication that a company is becoming less efficient at using its resources.
(Sales year 2 – Sales year 1) / Sales year 1 = Sales Growth
Revenue per Share – Revenue per share does not take into account expenses or taxes. It is a helpful ratio when comparing sales return per share between companies in a similar industry, where companies with higher revenue per share ratios earn more money on their equity.
Read more...

RH Reading

Relative Humidity is the actual amount of moisture in the air compared to the amount of moisture that the air could hold if saturated, expressed as a percent.
Read more...

RH Testing

Relative humidity testing is conducted through the use of in situ probes that measure relative humidity (RH) within the slab. Their depth-specific application has proven to provide an accurate representation of moisture conditions within the concrete slab. Their very location within the concrete means they are less susceptible to environmental or ambient changes at the surface. And contrary to some opinions, RH testing is not a long involved process. Some RH testing systems seem complex with repeated equilibration times or cables and meters to carry around. But not all RH systems are cumbersome. For example, with the Rapid RH 4.0 from Wagner Electronics, the sensor is pre-calibrated and is installed directly into the slab where it stays equilibrated. Tracking or monitoring the relative humidity in the slab becomes fast, accurate and, after the initial ASTM-required equilibration period, takes only minutes to ensure that the concrete is truly ready for the flooring application. The pen-style Reader has touch-and-go capabilities so you’re not wasting time at each test hole. When the results indicate the slab is at installation conditions, the probe is simply skim coated into the slab and installation can proceed.  
Read more...

Richter Scale

The scale by which earthquakes are rated is called the Richter Scale. This scale provides a value of the magnitude, or potential seriousness of an earthquake. Earthquakes with a magnitude above 5.0 can cause damage to buildings and structures (NOAA). In 2012 there were 16,667 earthquakes worldwide, with 1523 above 5.0 on the Richter Scale (USGS).  In the United States in 2012 there were 3836 earthquakes with 32 above 5.0 on the Richter Scale (USGS).
Magnitude Effect Estimated Number Per Year
2.5 or less Usually not felt ~3,300,000
2.5 to 5.4 Often felt, but only causes minor damage. ~49,000
5.5 to 6.0 Slight damage to buildings and other structures. ~6,200
6.1 to 6.9 May cause a lot of damage in very populated areas. 800
7.0 to 7.9 Major earthquake. Serious damage. 120
8.0 or greater Can totally destroy communities near the epicenter. ≤1

Read more...

Same-Store Sales or Comps

Compares the sales/revenues of retail stores (retail chain's established outlets) that have been open for at least one year.

  • Same-store sales allow investors to determine what portion of new sales has come from sales growth and what portion can be attributed to the opening of new stores.
  • An increase in same-store sales may indicate that existing customers are coming back more frequently.
  • The key is that the firm is seeing an increase in revenue without resorting to opening new stores.
 
Read more...

Shadow Inventory

Real estate properties that have not been put up for sale. Typically these include foreclosed houses being held on to while real estate prices are  low.  Shadow inventory can also include homes that owners are delaying putting on the market until prices improve. Shadow inventory creates uncertainty as to when the best time to sell is since it causes the actual number of housing units in the market to be understated.
Read more...

Short-Term Interest Rate

Interest rates on loan contracts-or debt instruments such as Treasury bills, bank certificates of deposit or commercial paper-having maturities of less than one year. Short-term interest rates are also called money market rates.
Read more...

Single-Family Home

house.jpbA single-family home includes fully detached, semi detached (semi attached, side-by-side), row houses, and townhouses. In the case of attached units, each must be separated from the adjacent unit by a ground-to-roof wall to be classified as a single-family structure. Also, these units must not share heating/air-conditioning systems or utilities, such as water supply, power supply, or sewage disposal lines. Units built one on top of another and those built side-by-side that do not have a ground-to-roof wall and/or have common facilities (i.e., attic, basement, heating plant, plumbing, etc.) are not included in the single-family statistics.
Read more...

Softwood Lumber

Softwood is wood from gymnosperm trees such as conifers. Evergreen trees are often called softwoods with the notable exceptions being bald cypress and the larches. Softwood is a good environmental and economical choice because it uses less energy to produce than hardwoods (deciduous, loses its leaves annually) and it grows quicker and larger than hardwood.
Read more...

Solid-State Lighting (SSL)

Solid-state lighting (SSL) is a type of lighting that uses semiconductor light- emitting diodes (LEDs)
Read more...

Tax Cost Ratio

The Tax Cost Ratio measures how much a fund's annualized return is reduced by the taxes investors pay on  stock dividends, bond dividends and capital gains distributed to the shareholders. Typically this is between 0-5%.  A 3% tax cost ratio for a three-year-period means that on average each year, investors  will lose 3% of their assets to taxes.
Read more...

Tax Credit Verses a Tax Deduction

Basically, a Tax Credit is worth more that a Tax Deduction

  • A tax credit lowers your tax bill dollar for dollar.
  • A deduction shaves money off your taxable income, so the value depends on your tax bracket.  So, how much you get back with a deduction, depends on your tax bill.
DEDUCTION _-If you're in the 25% bracket, a $1,000 deduction lowers your tax bill by $250. CREDIT - But a $1,000 credit lowers the bill by the full $1,000, no matter in which bracket you are.
Read more...

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

fairlaborstdact.jpbThe Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was established to provide fair labor standards in employments in and affecting interstate commerce, and for other purposes.
    The Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) basic requirements are: The FLSA applies to all businesses that meet the following criteria:
  • A Federal, state, or local government agency
  • A hospital; or an institution primarily engaged in the care of the sick, the aged, or the mentally ill or developmentally disabled who live on the premises; (it does not matter if the hospital or institution is public or private or is operated for profit or not-for-profit)
  • A pre-school; elementary or secondary school or institution of higher learning (e.g., college); or a school for mentally or physically handicapped or gifted children (it does not matter if the school or institution is public or private or operated for profit or not for profit)
  • A company/organization with annual dollar volume of sales or receipts in the amount of $500,000 or more
 
Read more...

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was created in 1934 and became part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Housing in 1965.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was created in 1934 and became part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Housing in 1965.

The FHA provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. FHA insures mortgages on single family and multifamily homes including manufactured homes and hospitals. It is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world, insuring over 34 million properties since its inception in 1934. FHA-insured loans require very little cash investment to close a loan and there is more flexibility in calculating household income and payment ratios than conventional loans. FHA mortgage insurance provides lenders with protection against losses as the result of homeowners defaulting on their mortgage loans. FHA  operates entirely from its self-generated income and costs the taxpayers nothing. The proceeds from the mortgage insurance paid by the homeowners are used to operate the program entirely.
Read more...

Tier 4 Final/Stage IV

Tier 4 Final/Stage IV emissions standards for reducing levels of particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen  (NOx) takes effect in 2014 and will reduce NOx by an additional 80 percent taking PM and NOx emissions to near zero levels. The Emission Standards Reference Guide contains the complete listings of federal emission standards for on-road and nonroad vehicles and engines, and related fuel sulfur standards
Read more...

Transformative Products

Transformative products are products that have made a dramatic change in form, appearance, performance or character.  For example, transformative green products might eliminate toxic chemicals and fossil fuels, and improve building and site performance.
Read more...

Transformer

The transformer aids a low-voltage lighting system. A transformer is an electrical device that transfers energy between two circuits through electromagnetic induction and raises or reduces the wattage of lamps in a lighting system.  It is a device that converts normal house current to the current required by a lamp. There are two types of transformers, magnetic and electric:

Electric Transformer

Electronic transformers can be used both in commercial and in your homes, its usually used in the residential arena because it only allows so much support to the lighting system before needing additional transformers. Advantages:
  • it is much smaller in size than a magnetic transformer and aesthetically more pleasing
  • compatible with dimming options
  • less expensive
  • more versatile in use, you can fit them in smaller places
Disadvantages:
  • has a shorter life span than a magnetic ballast
  • can not have long runs of lights; without additional support the electronic transformer can push enough power down the line for 6-8 ft from the source
 
Magnetic Transformer
Though magnetic transformers can be used in both the residential and commercial applications they are most often used in commercial spaces. It steps down 120VAC or (277+ for commercial) line voltage to 12VAC or 24VAC. Advantages:
  • provides additional boosts
  • has a higher capacity to support more circuits than that of an electronic transformer
  • a longer life span
Disadvantages:
  • aesthetically not pleasing; its heavy, big and harder to hide
  • has to be closer to the source

Read more...

Transistor

transistor is a solid state, semiconductor device that controls the movement of electrons, and consequently, electricity.  They do not have electro-mechanical components, thus they are solid and do not move.
Read more...

Treasury Notes, Bonds and Bills

Treasury notes and bonds are sold by the U.S. Treasury Department to pay for the U.S. debt.  Essentially they are loans to the government.

  • Treasury notes are issued in terms of 2, 3, 5, and 10 years
  • Treasury bonds are issued in terms of 30 years.
  • Treasury bills are issued in terms of one year or less.
bondThe most popular Treasury product is the 10-year note. Treasury yields only affect fixed-rated mortgages. The 10-year note affects 15-year conventional loans, while the 30-year bond affects 30-year conventional loans. An advantage of investing in federal government securities, is that the interest payments are exempt from state and local income tax. However, they are still taxable at the federal level.

Treasury note and yields can impact mortgage rates

Treasury note and bond yields change every day and are resold on the open market. If the bond prices drops, this indicates there is not a lot of demand for Treasury notes and bonds, and that the yields increased. This makes it more expensive to buy a home, because mortgage interest rates rise. That lessens demand for homes, which puts downward pressure on home prices. This slows economic growth.  Conversely, low yields on U.S. Treasury notes mean lower rates on mortgages, which can stimulate the real estate market, which stimulates the economy. Worth noting the Treasury Yields Only Affect Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Historical Fact

On June 1, 2012, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped briefly during intra-day trading to 1.442%, the lowest in 200 years. By the end of the day, the rate closed just a bit higher, at 1.47%. Nevertheless, this forced mortgage interest rates down to record lows. Why was the Treasury yield so low? Investors were panicked by a lower-than-expected U.S. employment report, and by ongoing worries about the eurozone debt crisis. They sold stocks, driving the Dow down 275 points. They put their cash into the only safe haven, U.S. Treasury notes. (Gold, the safe haven in 2011, was down thanks to lower economic growth in China and the other emerging market countries.)  
Read more...

TREASURY YIELD

usdepttrea

Treasuries are considered to be a low-risk investment because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government

Treasury yields is the percentage return on U.S. Treasury notes or bonds. U.S. Treasury notes or bonds are sold by the U.S. Treasury Department to pay for the U.S. debt.  Buyers buy the bonds at a fixed interest rate (the yield or coupon rate); however the value of their bonds will vary depending on the current yield prices, which change daily. The U.S. Treasury publishes the yields for all of these securities daily on its website.
yieldrates.jpg

U.S. Department of Treasury, 21st Century Builder

                  Why does the bond's value change?
downaaron

Yields

Bonds are initially sold at auction by the Treasury Department, which sets a fixed face value and interest rate (yield).  However yield prices change daily depending the demands of the bonds.  For instance,  when the demand for bonds drop, bond prices drop; as a consequent, yields  increase because the government will only pay back the original face value plus the stated interest rate.
Demand for Bonds

Demand for Bonds

What is the Purpose of Bonds? Bond buyers are lending money to bond's issuer (in the case of U.S. Treasury notes or bonds, the US government), who promises to pay back the principal (or par value) when the loan is due (on the bond's maturity date) and also pay periodic fixed rate interest payments (based on the fixed rate yield or coupon rate at time of purchase). What happens to the value of the buyer's bond if the market's interest/yield rate goes up (yet the buyer's bond's coupon rate/yield rate remains fixed)?
  • Buyer purchases a bond at its par value (principle value) of $1000 carrying a 7% yield or coupon.  Meaning the bond would pay $70 in interest.
  • Later in the year, interest rates (yeilds) go up to 8% on the $1000 bonds ($80 a year in interest).
  • The bond the buyer purchased at 7% yield is now valued at a lower price -a discount - of only $875.

What happens to the economy when Treasury Yields go up

  • Interest rates on consumer and business loans go up
  • Higher yields can increase the value of the dollar
  • Higher fixed-rate mortgages (10-year yield affects 15-year mortgages, and the 30-year yield impacts 30-year mortgages) housing less affordable, depressing the housing market because it means you have to buy a smaller, less expensive home.
  • Slows GDP
Yield Rates go up when
  • Feds raise the Fed funds rate.
  • When Federal Reserve increases its target for the federal funds rate (in other words, if it tightens monetary policy), or even if investors merely expect the fed funds rate to go up
  • In 2013, yields rose 75% between May and August alone. Investors sold off Treasuries when the Federal Reserve announced it would taper its Quantitative Easing policy. In December, it began reducing its $85 billion a month purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. The Fed cut back as the global economy improves.
  • When yields are high, it means investors don't want the debt, so the country must pay more to get them to buy it.  This can be a downward spiral. High interest rates make it more expensive for the country to borrow. This increases fiscal spending, which creates a larger budget deficit, which creates more debt.Yield Rates stay low when
  • Foreign investors, notably China, Japan and oil-producing countries, need dollars to keep their economies functioning. The best way to collect dollars is by buying Treasury products. The popularity of Treasuries have kept yields below 6% for the last five years.
  • There is economic uncertainty
  • mortgage interest rates are low
  • There s a lot of demand for the debt

Read more...

U.S. National Dept

The U.S. national/public/national debt is the total amount of money that the United States federal government owes to creditors  as a result of federal government shortfalls, or deficit budgets in which the government's expenses exceed its revenues.  Government's creditors include all individuals, businesses, governments and other organizations that own U.S. government debt securities (Treasuries notes, bills, bonds).  

FFBThe Federal Financing Bank (FFB) is a government corporation, created by Congress in 1973 under the general supervision of the Secretary of the Treasury. The Federal Financing Bank was created to centralize, reduce the cost of, and efficiently manage federal borrowing.   FFB was established to centralize and reduce the cost of federal borrowing as well as federally-assisted borrowing from the public. Obligations are issued to the public by the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) to finance its operations. Obligations are limited to $15 billion unless otherwise authorized by the Appropriations Acts, (the legislative motion (bill) that authorizes the government to spend money).  Currently the U.S. debt limit is $17.2 trillion debt; until 15 March 2015.

The Current National Debt is almost $18 Trillion Dollars (Feb. 2015)
Data from TreasuryDirect 21st Century Builder

Data from TreasuryDirect
21st Century Builder

There are two components of gross national debt:
  • Debt held by the public. This includes is all federal debt securites issued by the U.S. Treasury that is held by individuals, corporations, state or local governments, Federal Reserve Banks, foreign governments, and other entities outside the United States Government less Federal Financing Bank securities.  Types of securities held by the public include, but are not limited to, Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds, TIPS, United States Savings Bonds, and State and Local Government Series securities.  Debt held by the public excludes the portion of the debt that is held by government accounts.
  • Debt held by government accounts or intergovernmental debt/holdings.  Government Account Series Treasuries (GAS) are the principal form of intergovernmental debt holdings - the loans to the government agencies the government borrowed from.   When there is a federal government budget deficit, the government borrows from agencies that have a surplus, like the Social Security fund, promising to repay the money at a later time.

Read more...

Unearned Premium

  The premium (amount paid to an insurance company) corresponding tot he time prior remaining on the insurance policy.  This amount appears as a liability on the insurer’s  (insurance carrier’s) balance sheet. Example:  The insured (customer) prepays a five-year insurance policy for $100, or $20 a year.  At the end of the year, the insurer would have earned a premium of $20 and an unearned premium of $80.
Read more...

Unemployed persons

As defined by the Bureau of labor Statistics, an unemployed persons is aged 16 years and older who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.
Data from BLS.  21st Century Builder

Data from BLS. 21st Century Builder


Read more...

Unemployment rate

As defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate represents the number unemployed as a percent of the labor force.
Read more...

Wholly Owned Subsidiary

A company whose common stock is 100% owned by another company, called the parent company.  
Read more...

Wythe

wythe is a continuous vertical section of masonry one unit in thickness.
Read more...

Yield Curve

The yield curve is an indicator of future interest rates, which are indicators of the economy's expansion or contraction.
The U.S. Department of Treasury reports Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates

The U.S. Department of Treasury reports Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates

Example Curve

Yield Curves can be used to predict future economic conditions….

The yield curve is a line that plots the interest rates or yield values, at a set point in time, of Treasury securities  (bonds) having equal credit quality, but differing in maturity dates. Currently the U.S. Department of Treasury reports 1, 3 and 6 months and 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30 year bonds. The most common type of yield curve plots are Treasury securities because they are considered risk-free and are thus a benchmark for determining the yield on other types of debt. The curve is used to predict changes in economic activity and interest rate change.  There are three main types of yield curve shapes: normal, inverted and flat (or humped).

Normal Yield Curve

normalyeildA normal yield curve is one in which longer maturity bonds have a higher yield compared to shorter-term bonds due to the risks associated with time.  Normally the yield curve is upward sloping showing that, all else being equal, a bond with a longer maturity pays a higher yield than the same bond with a shorter maturity.  From the great depression through to today, the yield curve has spent the majority of its time in the shape of a normal upward sloping curve.

Inverted Yield Curve

INVERTED YIELD CURVE

An inverted curve may occur when long-term investors believe that this is their last chance to lock in current rates before they fall even lower, so they’ve become slightly less demanding of lenders.

An inverted yield curve is one in which the shorter-term yields are higher than the longer-term yields.  An inverted yield curve, particularly a sharply inverted curve, is often followed by economic slowdown—or an outright recession —as well as less future demand for money and lower interest rates along all points of the yield curve.      

Flat or Humped Yield Curve

E_01_9fA flat (or humped) yield curve is one in which the shorter- and longer-term yields are very close to each other, this is generally a sign of a pending, or ongoing economic slowdown and that investors are unsure about future economic growth and inflation.   Historically, economic slowdown and lower interest rates (and thus an inverted curve) follow a period of flattening yields. THE STEEP YIELD CURVE The slope of the yield curve is also important: the greater the slope, the greater the gap between short- and long-term rates.  A steep positive curve may indicates that investors are expecting strong future economic growth and higher future inflation (and thus higher interest rates).  If interest rates are predicted to rise in the future, investors will demand a higher rate of return when buying longer term bonds.  If the longer term bonds are not paying a higher rate of interest , investors will just buy shorter term bonds.  Often times, when the economy is coming out of a recession, future interest rate expectations will increase.  This is because economic recoveries are normally accompanied by corporations wanting to borrow more (for investment) which increases the demand for money, putting upward pressure on interest rates. Since 1990, a normal yield curve has yields on 30-year Treasury bonds typically 2.3 percentage points (also known as 230 basis points) higher than the yield on three-month Treasury bills, according to data from the U.S. Treasury. When this “spread” gets wider than that—causing the slope of the yield curve to steepen—long-term bond investors are sending a message about what they think about economic growth and inflation. A steep yield curve is generally found at the beginning of a period of economic expansion. At that point, economic stagnation will have depressed short-term interest rates, which were likely lowered by the Fed as a way to stimulate the economy. But as the economy begins to grow again, one of the first signs of recovery is an increased demand for capital, which many believe leads to inflation. At this point in the economic cycle long-term bond investors fear being locked into low rates, which could erode future buying power if inflation sets in. As a result, they demand greater compensation—in the form of higher rates—for their long-term commitment. That’s why the spread between three-month Treasury bills and 30-year Treasury bonds usually expands beyond the “normal” 230 basis points. After all, while short-term lenders can wait for their T-bills to mature in a matter of months, giving them the flexibility to buy higher-yielding securities should the opportunity arise, longer term investors don’t have that luxury. TREASURY YIELD Curves PREDICTED THE 2008and 2001 Recessions In January 2006, the yield curve started to flatten. This meant that investors did not require a higher yield for longer term notes. On January 3, 2006 the yield on the 1-year note was 4.38%, a bit higher than the yield of 4.37% on the 10-year note. This was the dreaded inverted yield curve. It predicted the 2008 recession. In April 2000, an inverted yield curve also predicted the 2001 recession. When investors believe the economy is slumping, they would rather keep the longer 10-year note than buy and sell the shorter 1-year note, which may do worse next year when the note is due.
Read more...

Your thoughts and comments are appreciated