(1) The gap between bid and ask prices of a stock or other security. (2) The simultaneous purchase and sale of separate futures or options contracts for the same commodity for delivery in different months. Also known as a straddle. (3) Difference between the price at which an underwriter buys an issue from a firm and the price at which the underwriter sells it to the public. (4) The price an issuer pays above a benchmark fixed-income yield to borrow money. The New York Times Financial Glossary

* * *

I. spread spread 1 [spred] verb spread PTandPP
1. [transitive] to share work, responsibility, or money among several people:

• Companies may want to spread their equity widely among stable, long-term shareholders.

2. [transitive] also spread out to pay for something gradually over a period of time:

• Can I spread out the repayments?

spread something over something

• Spread your premium payments over 12 monthly instalments.

• The cost is spread out over ten years.

3. [intransitive] to become widely used or known about:

• Deregulation is spreading across the whole of Europe.

4. spread a risk INSURANCE to reduce the chance of a large loss by sharing the risk of insuring someone or something with other insurance companies
  [m0] II. spread spread 2 noun
1. [singular] a range of people or things, especially investments:
spread of

• The bank is keen to broaden its spread of risks.

• The assets represent a wide spread of fixed interest stocks, UK and overseas equity shares and property.

2. [countable] BANKING the difference between the interest rate a bank pays on deposit S (= money put in the bank) and the interest rate it charges on loans:
spread between

• Banks must maintain an adequate spread between borrowing and lending rates.

ˈyield ˌspread
1. [countable] BANKING the difference between the amount it costs banks to borrow money and the price they charge for lending it:

• When the economy is sluggish (= less active ) it's not unusual to see the yield spread at around 2 percentage points.

2. [countable] FINANCE the difference in the amount of money you get from different types of investments:

• The yield spread between two-year notes and 30-year bonds widened 6 basis points today.

3. [countable] FINANCE the difference between two rates of interest. Interest on company bonds is often set in relation to the interest on particular government bonds:

• The noncallable notes were priced at a spread of 87.5 basis points (= 0.875% ) over the yield on the Treasury's 10-year note.

4. [countable] FINANCE the difference between the buying price and the selling price of shares, unit trust S etc:

• The spread between the bid and ask prices for the options is ¼ to ½ point $25 to $50 an option.

5. [countable] FINANCE the difference between the buying price and the selling price of a currency, or between two rates for a currency:

• The policy of frequent devaluations of the Nicaraguan currency is designed to eliminate the spread between official and black-market exchange rates.

6. [countable] also underwriting spread FINANCE the difference between the price a financial institution pays to buy shares from the company that issue S them (= makes them available) and the higher price the firm charges to investors who buy them:

• The underwriting spread can range from 3.5% to 7% of the offering price.

ˌbid-ˈoffer ˌspread also ˌbid-ˈask ˌspread [countable] FINANCE
the difference between the prices at which a dealer will buy and sell something
7. [countable] FINANCE in a monetary system (= an arrangement where the values of currencies move in relation to each other within certain limits), the difference between the highest valued currency and the lowest:

• The dollar remained the grid's strongest currency, with the spread between it and the weakest currency widening to 11%.

* * *

   The word 'spread' has several different meaning:
   1) The difference in a price quotation between the bid, the price at which a dealer is prepared to buy, and the ask, the price at which a dealer will sell. A large spread usually means the market lacks liquidity. When a market lacks liquidity dealers often cannot buy and sell quickly and so they widen the spread to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the market.
   2) Spread can also be used to express the difference in yields between two fixed income securities of the same quality but different maturities, or of different quality but the same maturities.
   3) Often 'spread' refers to the difference in yield between a bond and a reference government bond, which is regarded as relatively risk-free.
   4) A futures spread is the difference in prices between delivery months in the same or different markets.
   5) Spread can also refer to the difference between borrowing and lending rates by which a financial intermediary makes profits.

* * *

spread UK US /spred/ noun
[C] STOCK MARKET, FINANCE the difference between a trader’s buying price and selling price for particular shares, currencies, etc.
See also AGIO(Cf. ↑agio), BID-OFFER SPREAD(Cf. ↑bid-offer spread)
[C] FINANCE the difference between two interest rates : a spread of sth »

The issue was priced at a spread of 115 basis points above Treasury bonds.

[S] a number of different things or people: »

If you do not need immediate access to your money, why not diversify into a wider spread of investments?


a geographic/demographic spread

[S or U] an increase in effect or influence, so that something affects more people or places: the spread of sth »

Corporations have a crucial influence on the global spread of a homogenized culture.

[S] the different areas or numbers of people that are affected by something: »

Given the size and spread of the American economy, the whole world has an economic interest in the US.

[C] MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS an advertisement or article in a newspaper or magazine that covers two pages that are opposite each other: »

a double-page spread

a spread on sth »

A magazine for Japanese businesspeople recently did a spread on the resort.

See also YIELD SPREAD(Cf. ↑yield spread)
spread UK US /spred/ verb (spread, spread)
[I or T] to affect more people or different areas, or to make something do this: »

In the fall of 2007, the subprime lending crisis really began to spread.


High oil prices can spread inflation throughout the economy if companies decide to boost the prices of many other goods and services.

spread through/across/around sth »

A recruitment crisis is currently spreading through the public sector.

spread to »

Job cuts are spreading to big manufacturers.

[T] to share something among a group of people or things, so that no one person or thing has too much: spread the costs/risks/load »

Include different types of income-yielding investments in your portfolio in order to spread the risk.

[I or T] to cover a particular area or a number of different areas, or to make something or someone do this: be spread over/throughout/across sth »

The company employs 2,100 people spread over five locations.

spread payments/repayments/costs — Cf. spread repayments/costs
spread the word/message — Cf. spread the word/message

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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