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Currency: Exchange rate policy that does not limit the range of the market rate.
Equities: Number of shares of a corporation that are outstanding and available for trading by the public, excluding insiders or restricted stock on a when-issued basis. A stock's volatility is inversely correlated to its float.


1. The number of shares of a publicly-traded company available to trade. It is important to note that this may be different from the shares outstanding: some shareholders may buy and hold, reducing the size of the float. The size of a float greatly affects a stock's volatility. If a float is small, any number of activities could affect greatly its price, especially a single large order to buy or sell it. This would greatly alter the number of shares available to trade, creating too little or too much supply and therefore drive the price up or down. A large float tends to have less volatility because large orders do not affect the supply as much. It is also called a floating supply. See also: Technical condition of a market.

2. In foreign exchange, a currency that is not pegged to another currency's value.


1. Funds that are on deposit at two institutions at the same time because of inefficiencies in the collection system. This situation permits a person or firm to earn extra income because the two institutions are paying interest on the same funds. As an example, a person writes a check on a money market fund in order to make a deposit in a local financial institution. Until that check gets back to the bank on which it was written (a transit often entailing two or three days), the investor receives interest on his or her funds from both institutions. See also fail float.
2. The number of shares in public hands and available for trading. Institutional investors require that a security have a large float before they will take a position in it. The large float guards against a substantial price change in the security while the institution is buying. Also called floating supply.


To permit a country's currency to change freely in value against foreign currencies.


In investment terms, a float is the number of outstanding shares a corporation has available for trading.

If there is a small float, stock prices tend to be volatile, since one large trade could significantly affect the availability and therefore the price of these stocks. If there is a large float, stock prices tend to be more stable.

In banking, the float refers to the time lag between your depositing a check in the bank and the day the funds become available for use. For example, if you deposit a check on Monday, and you can withdraw the cash on Friday, the float is four days and works to the bank's advantage.

Float is also the period that elapses from the time you write a check until it clears your account, which can work to your advantage. However, as checks are increasingly cleared electronically at the point of deposit, this float is disappearing.

In a credit account, float is the amount of time between the date you charge a purchase and the date the payment is due. If you have paid your previous bill in full and on time, you don't owe a finance charge on the amount of the purchase during the float.


(1) The amount of movement in a variable-rate mortgage,as in “the loan can float 1 percent per year or a maximum of 5 percent in a lifetime.” (2) The period of time after a check is deposited but before the funds have been collected or credited.If a depositor receives credit immediately,even though it may take several days for the maker's bank to transfer funds to the depositor's bank,then the depositor takes advantage of the float because it has use of the money.If a depositor does not receive credit for several days, but the bank has already received its money from the maker's bank, then the bank takes advantage of the float.


Allowing the interest rate and points to vary with changes in market conditions,as opposed to “locking” them.

Floating may be mandatory until the lender's lock requirements have been met. After that, the borrower may elect to lock the rate and points at any time but must do so a few days before the closing.

Allowing the rate to float exposes the borrower to market risk and also to the risk of being taken advantage of by the loan provider. See Locking the Loan/Choosing When to Lock.

References in classic literature ?
His only resource on such occasions, either to drown thought or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their doors of an evening, were often filled with awe at hearing his nasal melody, "in linked sweetness long drawn out," floating from the distant hill, or along the dusky road.
The day's fishing finished, they came floating downstream in their skiff, talking national politics and other high matters, and presently met a skiff coming up from town, with a man in it who said:
There was a long silence, profound and unbroken; then a deep, sullen boom came floating down out of the distance.
And then at length the glorious mad descent down three plunging cataracts of rocky road, the exciting rattling of the harness, the grinding of the strong brakes, the driver's soothing calls to his horses, and the long burnished horn trailing wild music behind us, like invisible banners of aerial brass,--oh, it stirred the dullest blood amongst us thus as it were to tear down the sky towards the white roofs of Yellowsands, glittering here and there among the clouds of trees which filled the little valley almost to the sea's edge, while floating up to us came soft strains of music, silken and caressing, as though the sea itself sang us a welcome.
And presently she saw it, a long way off, floating on the water like a toy-boat.
Then the gentle Fairy folded her little arms around Annie's neck, laid a soft kiss on her cheek, and, spreading wide her shining wings, flew singing up among the white clouds floating in the sky.
Soon a torrent of vivid sparks fell around them -- then, at last, the volcano was extinguished -- then all was dark and still -- the floating bark and heaving ocean.
There was something pleasingly solemn and mysterious in thus floating down these wild rivers at night.
At times, some shapeless monster of the deep, floating on the surface, would, as we approached, sink slowly into the blue waters, and fade away from the sight.
Discipline, order, method, common care, we brought none of these things with us from our floating furnace; but we fought to be first over the bulwarks, and in the bottom of the long-boat we fought again.
The consumption of these articles would necessarily, little by little, diminish the weight to be sustained, for it must be remembered that the equilibrium of a balloon floating in the atmosphere is extremely sensitive.
He thought it was a piece of floating paper, perhaps part of the kite, and wondered idly how long it would take to drift ashore.