Window dressing

Definition:

Trading activity near the end of a quarter or fiscal year that is designed to improve the appearance of a portfolio to be presented to clients or shareholders. For example, a portfolio manager may sell losing positions so as to display only positions that have gained in value. Financial institutions have also been criticized for a different type of window dressing as many moved debt off the balance sheet near the end of the quarter in a temporary manner. This made the bank appear to have less leverage than it actually did.

Investing Essentials


Copyright © 2011 Campbell R. Harvey, Professor of Finance, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University

Term of the Day

Tax loss carryback, carryforward

A tax benefit that allows business losses to be used to reduce tax liability in previous and or following years.

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