Trick or treat? Seven spooky investment terms explained

Sarah Culver 23/10/2017 in Best performing funds

Knock, knock, knock. Cautiously, you open the door. In front of you stands a kid dressed as Dracula, another dressed as a witch and bizarrely, one dressed as a princess asking if you “wanna build a snowman?” “Trick or treat?” It must be Halloween.

The witching hour is almost upon us – but what does that even mean? The investment world isn’t immune to trickery, so we take a quick look at seven spooky investment terms.

  1. Witching hour

It was believed, in medieval times, that the ‘witching hour’ was when witches took to the skies and abducted children who wandered out after dark. Think Bette Midler and Hocus Pocus. But, when it comes to investing, the ‘witching hour’ refers to the last hour of stock trading in the US – between 3pm eastern standard time (EST), when the bond market closes, and 4pm EST, when the stock market closes. Volatility in this 60 minutes can be higher than at other times during the day.

  1. Graveyard market

The term ‘graveyard market’ is used to describe the period after stock markets have been falling for a long time and those still invested do not want to sell and crystalise losses, but neither are new investors rushing in to buy at bargain prices. The fear of further declines is stopping both sets of investors from acting and trading activity is very low: quiet and eerie like a graveyard.

  1. Ghosting

Not quite ‘The Poltergeist’, but hardly ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’ either. The practice of ‘ghosting’ is  illegal and is when two or more market makers (dealers buying or selling stocks or other assets) attempt to influence the price of a company share in order to make a profit. It is illegal because market makers are required by law to act in competition with each other and not collude. The term ghosting is used as it is a practice that is difficult to detect.

  1. Zombie funds

This is a UK-centric colloquialism and refers to with-profits life insurance funds that are closed to new investments. They are funds that are basically only being run until the policy matures, which could be a long period of time. Child Trust Funds (CTFs) are also sometimes referred to as a ‘zombie’ product, as they have been replaced by the Junior ISA and existing accounts will only be held until the child reaches the age of 18 – no new CTF products will be launched.


This alarming acronym was coined to refer to four of the US’s top tech giants: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. Somewhat inconveniently for this article, the FAANGs have now become the FAAAs. Netflix – always an outsider in the group given its comparatively tiny market capitalisation – was dropped in favour of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, which is listed in the US. Google became known as Alphabet in listing terms, after it announced the latter would be the name of its holding company.

  1. Halloween Indicator

This is just another version of the St Leger’s Day investment strategy. Instead of “Sell in May and go away until St Leger’s Day (16 September this year)” it is “Sell in May and buy on Halloween”.

  1. Corporate cannibalism

Dr Hannibal Lecter is probably one of the most famous of fictional cannibals, but there is a different type of cannibalism popular in the corporate world, which could be slightly more palatable with that ‘nice Chianti’. The ‘corporate cannibal’ is a company which launches a new product into a market where it already has an established product offering. It will effectively compete with itself. The aim is to create a product that sells better, or to increase the market share and put competitors at a disadvantage.

So don’t be tricked this Halloween, by making the wrong investment decisions. Let FundCalibre treat you to some quality research!

To get you started, we’ve highlighted our ten best-performing Elite Rated funds since last Halloween*.

*Source: FE Analytics, all Elite Rated funds, total returns in sterling 31 October 2016 to 11 October 2017

This article is provided for information only. The views of the author and any people quoted are their own and do not constitute financial advice. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any fund or trust, or to adopt a particular investment strategy. However, the knowledge that professional analysts have analysed a fund or trust in depth before assigning them a rating can be a valuable additional filter for anyone looking to make their own decisions.Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. Market and exchange-rate movements may cause the value of investments to go down as well as up. Yields will fluctuate and so income from investments is variable and not guaranteed. You may not get back the amount originally invested. Tax treatment depends of your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. If you are unsure about the suitability of any investment you should seek professional advice.Whilst FundCalibre provides product information, guidance and fund research we cannot know which of these products or funds, if any, are suitable for your particular circumstances and must leave that judgement to you. Before you make any investment decision, make sure you’re comfortable and fully understand the risks. Further information can be found on Elite Rated funds by simply clicking on the name highlighted in the article.