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Date of Record
Date on which a shareholder must officially own shares in order to be entitled to a dividend.


Dated date (or issue date)
The date of a bond issue from which the first owner of a bond is entitled to receive interest.


Debenture
Unsecured debt obligation, issued against the general credit of a corporation, rather than against a specific asset.


Default
Failure to pay principal or interest when due. Defaults can also occur for failure to meet nonpayment obligations, such as reporting requirements, or when a material problem occurs for the issuer, such as a bankruptcy.


Defensive Securities

Stocks and bonds that are more stable than average and provide a safe return on an investor's money. When the stock market is weak, defensive securities tend to decline less than the overall market.


Delisting:
Removal of a company's security from an exchange because the firm did not abide by some regulation or the stock does not meet certain financial ratios or sales levels.


Depreciation
Amortization of fixed assets, such as plant and equipment, so as to allocate the cost over their depreciable life.


Deregulation

Greatly reducing government regulation in order to allow freer markets to create a more efficient marketplace.


Derivative Instrument

A contract whose value is based on the performance of an underlying financial asset, index, or other investment.


Devaluation
Lowering of the value of a country's currency relative to gold and/or the currencies of other nations.


Discount
The amount by which the purchase price of a security is less than the principal amount, or par value.


Discount note
Short-term obligations issued at discount from face value, with maturities ranging from overnight to 360 days. They have no periodic interest payments; the investor receives the note's face value at maturity.


Discount rate

The rate the Federal Reserve charges on loans to member banks.


Diversification
Spreading of risk by putting assets in several categories of investments.


Dividend
A company's payment of profits to its stockholders.


Dividend Payout Ratio

Percentage of earnings paid to shareholders in cash. In general, the higher the payout ratio, the more mature the company.


Dividend Yield
Ratio between the dividend per share and price per share. It is a percentage expression of the yield an investor obtains each year by receiving the dividend paid by the company.


Duration
The weighted maturity of a fixed-income investment's cash flows, used in the estimation of the price sensitivity of fixed-income securities for a given change in interest rates.