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Underwriters, actual or potential, often seek out and "circle" investor interest in a new issue before final pricing. The customer circled has basically made a commitment to purchase the issue if it is available at an agreed-upon price. If the actual price is other than that stipulated, the customer supposedly has first offer at the actual price.
Informal; to attempt to find investors for underwriting purposes. Before a new issue, underwriters circle potential investors, who may or may not book an order to buy a portion. Potential investors are provided with a preliminary prospectus if they are circled and indicate interest. It is important to note that circling is non-binding because it is illegal to sell a security that has not been issued. See also: Overbooked, Underbooked, Fully Subscribed, Indication of Interest.
A process used in finding interested buyers of a new security issue before determining the final price. A potential customer will be given a preliminary price (for example, the interest rate for a bond or the selling price for a stock) and will commit to a purchase if the issue is actually priced at the preliminary estimate. A different price permits the customer to back out or to get the first chance to buy the issue at the new price. Compare indication of interest.