Leverage

1. The use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital, such as margin, to increase the potential return of an investment.

2. 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.

Leverage is most commonly used in real estate transactions through the use of mortgages to purchase a home.

1. Leverage can be created through options, futures, margin and other financial instruments. For example, say you have $1,000 to invest. This amount could be invested in 10 shares of Microsoft stock, but to increase leverage, you could invest the $1,000 in five options contracts. You would then control 500 shares instead of just 10.

2. Most companies use debt to finance operations. By doing so, a company increases its leverage because it can invest in business operations without increasing its equity. For example, if a company formed with an investment of $5 million from investors, the equity in the company is $5 million - this is the money the company uses to operate. If the company uses debt financing by borrowing $20 million, the company now has $25 million to invest in business operations and more opportunity to increase value for shareholders.

Leverage helps both the investor and the firm to invest or operate. However, it comes with greater risk. If an investor uses leverage to make an investment and the investment moves against the investor, his or her loss is much greater than it would've been if the investment had not been leveraged - leverage magnifies both gains and losses. In the business world, a company can use leverage to try to generate shareholder wealth, but if it fails to do so, the interest expense and credit risk of default destroys shareholder value.


Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Synonyms:
(obtained by the lever)


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Leverage — Título Leverage(Estados Unidos) Las Reglas del Juego(España) Género Drama Creado por John Rogers Chris Downey Reparto Timothy Hutton …   Wikipedia Español

  • Leverage — (engl. für Hebelwirkung) bezeichnet: Leverage Effekt, einen Begriff der Finanzwirtschaft Leverage (Band), eine finnische Rockband Leverage (Fernsehserie), eine US amerikanische Fernsehserie Diese Seite ist eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leverage — Lev er*age (l[e^]v [ e]r*[asl]j or l[=e] v[ e]r*[asl]j), n. The action of a lever; mechanical advantage gained by the lever. [1913 Webster] {Leverage of a couple} (Mech.), the perpendicular distance between the lines of action of two forces which …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • leverage — /ˈlivəredʒ, ingl. ˈliːvərɪdʒ/ [ingl. leverage propr. «azione di una leva, leveraggio»] s. m. inv. (econ.) leva finanziaria …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • leverage — ► NOUN 1) the exertion of force by means of a lever. 2) the power to influence: political leverage …   English terms dictionary

  • leverage — (n.) 1724, action of a lever, from LEVER (Cf. lever) (n.) + AGE (Cf. age). Meaning power or force of a lever is from 1827; figurative sense from 1858. The financial sense is attested by 1933, Amer.Eng.; as a verb by 1956. Related: Leveraged;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • leverage — The first syllable is pronounced leev in BrE and lev in AmE …   Modern English usage

  • leverage — [n] influence advantage, ascendancy, authority, bargaining chip*, break, clout, drag, edge, grease*, jump on*, power, pull, rank, ropes*, suction, weight; concepts 687,693 …   New thesaurus

  • leverage — [lev′ərij, lē′vərij] n. 1. the action of a lever 2. the increased force resulting from this 3. means of accomplishing some purpose vt. leveraged, leveraging to speculate in (a business investment) largely through the use of borrowed funds, or… …   English World dictionary

  • leverage — The ability to control large dollar amounts of a commodity with a comparatively small amount of capital. Chicago Board of Trade glossary The control of a larger sum of money with a smaller amount. By accepting the liability to purchase or deliver …   Financial and business terms

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