(redirected from floats)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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 ?
From the molten-golden notes, And all in tune, What a liquid ditty floats To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats On the moon
But the echoes of the chime die away--they have endured but an instant--and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart.
I see his solemn little face looking at me through the scented smoke as it floats upward, and I smile at him; and he smiles back at me, but his is such a grave, old-fashioned smile.
It is no longer anything but a mass of sonorous vibrations incessantly sent forth from the numerous belfries; floats, undulates, bounds, whirls over the city, and prolongs far beyond the horizon the deafening circle of its oscillations.
On these floats we tried to exhibit not only the present work of the school, but to show the contrasts between the old methods of doing things and the new.
Ja asked me what Sheol was, and when I explained, as best I could, he said, "You are speaking of Molop Az, the flaming sea upon which Pellucidar floats.
That's the last, she said to the three soaks, 'till the Martha floats and you're back in Guvutu.
By a simple system of floats, weights, and anchors, thousands of hooks, each on a separate leader, are suspended at a distance of from six inches to a foot above the bottom.
If the Reindeer still floats, the dent of the iron bar remains in the hard-wood rail of her cockpit.
See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo.
Yet have I lived, and I kiss my hand to the dear dust of my Princess long asleep in the great mausoleum of King John that looks across the Vale of Manona to the alien flag that floats over the bungalow of the British Government House.
Lawrence Gulf, on which floats, like a jewel, Abegweit, whose softer, sweeter Indian name has long been forsaken for the more prosaic one of Prince Edward Island.