Glossary

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Look up the meaning of hundreds of trading terms in our comprehensive glossary.

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  • SEC
    The Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Sector
    A group of securities that operate in a similar industry.
  • Sell
    Taking a short position in expectation that the market is going to go down.
  • Settlement
    The process by which a trade is entered into the books, recording the counterparts to a transaction. The settlement of trades may or may not involve the actual physical exchange of the asset, but can be settled in cash instead.
  • SHGA.X
    Symbol for the Shanghai A index.
  • Short position
    An investment position that benefits from a decline in market price. When the base currency in the pair is sold, the position is said to be short.
  • Short squeeze
    A situation in which traders are heavily positioned on the short side and a market catalyst causes them to cover (buy) in a hurry, causing a sharp price increase.
  • Short-covering
    After a decline, traders who earlier went short begin buying back.
  • Shorts
    Traders who have sold, or shorted, a product, or those who are bearish on the market.
  • Sidelines, sit on hands
    Traders staying out of the markets due to directionless, choppy or unclear market conditions are said to be on the side lines or sitting on their hands.
  • Simple moving average SMA
    A simple average of a pre-defined number of price bars. For example, a 50-period daily chart SMA is the average closing price of the previous 50 daily closing bars. Any time interval can be applied.
  • Slippage
    The difference between the price that was requested, and the price obtained typically due to changing market conditions.
  • Slippery
    A term used when the market feels like it is ready for a quick move in any direction.
  • Sloppy
    Choppy trading conditions that lack any meaningful trend and/or follow-through.
  • SNB
    Swiss National Bank, the central bank of Switzerland.
  • SOFR
    The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) is the overnight interest rate used for US dollar-denominated loans and derivatives in the overnight market. It indicates how much a bank will have to pay to borrow cash from another institution.

    The rate is underpinned by US treasury securities, which a bank will offer as collateral to secure their overnight cash loans. These loans are a vital part of trading derivatives, as they allow parties to speculate on interest rates and borrowing costs.
  • SONIA
    The Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA) is the effective overnight interest rate that banks pay to borrow sterling overnight from other financial institutions. It’s used for overnight funding of trades that occur in off-hours and indicates the depth of business in the marketplace in these hours.

    SONIA is calculated using data from banks across the UK on any transactions completed in the previous trading day. The BoE filters out unusual patterns and calculates a weighted average of all transactions over £25 million. The top and bottom 25% are removed, and a mean is taken from the middle 50%. This is rounded to the nearest four decimal places, which is the SONIA rate.
  • Sovereign names
    Refers to central banks active in the spot market.
  • Spot market
    A market whereby products are traded at their market price for immediate exchange.
  • Spot price
    The current market price. Settlement of spot transactions usually occurs within two business days.
  • Spot trade
    The purchase or sale of a product for immediate delivery, as opposed to a date in the future. Spot contracts are typically settled electronically.
  • Spread
    The difference between the bid and offer prices.
  • SPX500
    A name for the S&P index which tracks 500 of the largest companies on the NYSE and Nasdaq stock exchanges.
  • Square
    Purchase and sales are in balance and thus the dealer has no open position.
  • Sterling
    A nickname for the British pound or the GBP/USD (British pound/US dollar) currency pair.
  • Stock exchange
    A market on which securities are traded.
  • Stock index
    The combined price of a group of stocks - expressed against a base number - to allow assessment of how the group of companies is performing relative to the past.
  • Stop entry order
    This is an order placed to buy above the current price, or to sell below the current price. These orders are useful if you believe the market is heading in one direction and you have a target entry price.
  • Stop loss order
    This is an order placed to sell below the current price (to close a long position), or to buy above the current price (to close a short position). Stop loss orders are an important risk management tool. By setting stop loss orders against open positions you can limit your potential downside should the market move against you. Remember that stop orders do not guarantee your execution price – a stop order is triggered once the stop level is reached and will be executed at the next available price.
  • Stop order
    A stop order is an order to buy or sell once a pre-defined price is reached. When the price is reached, the stop order becomes a market order and is executed at the best available price. It is important to remember that stop orders can be affected by market gaps and slippage and will not necessarily be executed at the stop level if the market does not trade at this price. A stop order will be filled at the next available price once the stop level has been reached. Placing contingent orders may not necessarily limit your losses.
  • Stop-loss hunting
    When a market seems to be reaching for a certain level that is believed to be heavy with stops. If stops are triggered, then the price will often jump through the level as a flood of stop-loss orders are triggered.
  • Stops building
    Refers to stop-loss orders building up; the accumulation of stop-loss orders to buy above the market in an up move, or to sell below the market in a down move.
  • Strike price
    The defined price at which the holder of an option can buy or sell the product.
  • Support
    A price that acts as a floor for past or future price movements.
  • Support levels
    A technique used in technical analysis that indicates a specific price ceiling and floor at which a given exchange rate will automatically correct itself. Opposite of resistance.
  • Suspended trading
    A temporary halt in the trading of a product.
  • Swap
    A currency swap is the simultaneous sale and purchase of the same amount of a given currency at a forward exchange rate.
  • Swissie
    The nickname for the Swiss franc or the USD/CHF (U.S. Dollar/Swiss Franc) currency pair.