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The creation of more money through the use of capital.


The act of placing capital into a project or business with the intent of making a profit on the initial placing of capital. An investment may involve the extension of a loan or line of credit, which entitles one to repayment with interest, or it may involve buying an ownership stake in a business, with the hope that the business will become profitable. Investing may also involve buying a particular asset with the intent to resell it later for a higher price. Many types of investing exist, and each is subject to greater or lesser regulation in the jurisdiction in which it takes place. Legally, investing requires the existence and protection of individual property rights. Investing wisely requires a combination of astuteness, knowledge of the market, and timing.


1. Property acquired for the purpose of producing income for its owner. Just as plants and equipment are investments for manufacturers, stocks and bonds are investments for individuals.
2. Expenditures made for income-producing assets.


  1. physical or real investment: capital expenditure on the purchase of assets such as plant, machinery and equipment (FIXED CAPITAL assets) and STOCKS or INVENTORY (WORKING CAPITAL assets). Fixed capital investment is undertaken by firms, both to replace worn-out and obsolete capital items (see DEPRECIATION) and to increase the firm's total assets (see CAPITAL EMPLOYED), so as to enable it to produce a greater volume of products, and, by investing in the latest technology, to remain competitive. In aggregate terms, net additions to the country's CAPITAL STOCK increase the economy's productive capacity, thus making an important contribution to the achievement of higher rates of ECONOMIC GROWTH and improved living standards.
  2. financial investment: expenditure on the purchase of financial securities such as SHARES and BONDS. PORTFOLIO investment is undertaken by individuals, companies and financial institutions as a means of earning income in the form of dividend, interest and rent payments and through capital appreciation. See CAPITAL ALLOWANCES, ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SCHEME, ENTERPRISE GRANT SCHEME, STOCK MARKET, FINANCIAL SYSTEM, FOREIGN INVESTMENT, SAVINGS, INVESTMENT INCENTIVE, INVESTMENT APPRAISAL, ACCOUNTING RETURN, PAYBACK METHOD, DISCOUNTED CASH FLOW.


  1. expenditure on the purchase of FINANCIAL SECURITIES such as STOCKS and SHARES. Also called financial investment. PORTFOLIO investment is undertaken by persons, firms and financial institutions in the expectation of earning a return in the form of INTEREST or DIVIDENDS, or an appreciation in the capital value of the securities.
  2. capital expenditure on the purchase of physical ASSETS such as plant, machinery and equipment (FIXED INVESTMENT) and STOCKS (INVENTORY INVESTMENT), i.e.physical or real investment. In economic analysis, the term ‘investment’ relates specifically to physical investment. Physical investment creates new assets, thereby adding to the country's productive capacity, whereas financial investment only transfers the ownership of existing assets from one person or institution to another.
Investment requires that an amount of current CONSUMPTION is forgone (i.e. saved, see SAVINGS) so as to release the resources to finance it. Investment expenditure is a component of AGGREGATE DEMAND and an INJECTION into the CIRCULAR FLOW OF NATIONAL INCOME. In 2003, investment expenditure accounted for 13% of gross final expenditure (GFE) on domestically produced output (GFE minus imports = GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT). See Fig. 133 (b) , NATIONAL INCOME ACCOUNTS. In NATIONAL INCOME analysis, investment in the provision of SOCIAL PRODUCTS such as roads, hospitals and schools undertaken by the government is counted as part of GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE; thus, investment expenditure is normally defined as consisting only of private sector investment spending.

Investment can be split up into gross and net investment:

  1. gross investment is the total amount of investment that is undertaken in an economy over a specified time period (usually one year);
  2. net investment is gross investment less replacement investment or CAPITAL CONSUMPTION, i.e. investment that is necessary to replace that part of the economy's existing capital stock that is used up in producing this year's output. (See DEPRECIATION 2.)

The amount of fixed investment undertaken is dependent on a number of factors other than capital consumption considerations. In national income analysis, the MARGINAL EFFICIENCY OF CAPITAL/INVESTMENT and the INTEREST RATE are important determinants of the level of investment.

The marginal efficiency of capital/investment itself is dependent upon business confidence and expectations about future demand levels and, therefore, plant utilization. The volatility of business expectations in the short run means that planned levels of fixed investment can vary significantly over time, leading to large changes in the demand for capital goods (see ACCELERATOR), that is, large fluctuations in the investment component of aggregate demand leading to larger fluctuations in output and employment through the MULTIPLIER effect (see BUSINESS CYCLE).

In order to stimulate investment, governments provide tax writeoffs on plant and equipment (see CAPITAL ALLOWANCES for details).

Similar considerations apply to inventory investment, with stock levels being increased or decreased over time with changing business expectations.

The long-term significance of investment lies in the contribution it makes to ECONOMIC GROWTH and economic prosperity. Building new factories, adding new machinery and equipment, and investing in new techniques and products enables industry to supply a greater quantity of more sophisticated products and services to the consuming public, while similar investments in the provision of social capital (schools, health, etc.) contribute vitally to the upgrading of general living standards.

At the micro-level a firm's investment decisions depend upon the profitability or cash flow implications of particular investment projects (see DISCOUNTED CASH FLOW) and are considered as part of its CAPITAL BUDGETING procedures. Compare DISINVESTMENT.


References in periodicals archive ?
One interesting finding (in terms of the raw number of occurrences) was that many misclassifications of cash flows had the end result of overstating cash flows from operations--if the cash flows were inflows, they tended to be placed in operating activities when they should have been recorded as financing activities; if they were outflows, they tended to be placed in investing activities rather than operating activities.
Statement of Cash Flows January 1, 2012 through september 30, 2012 Operating Activities: Net Income $20,000 Plus Expenses Not Using Cash: Depreciation $10,000 Plus Increases/(Decreases) in Current Liabilities: Trade Payables $20,000 Other Payables ($4,000) Accrued Liabilities $2,000 Less Decreases/(Increases) in Current Assets other Than Cash: Accounts Receivable ($30,000) Inventory ($10,000) CASH FLOW FROM OPERATIONS $8,000 Investing Activities: Plus Sale of Equipment $25,000 Less Purchase of Equipment ($150,000) CASH FLOW FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES ($125,000) Financing Activities: Plus Borrowing $150,000 Minus Repayment of Debt ($50,000) Minus Dividends ($10,000) CASH FLOW FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES $90,000 NET CHANGE IN CASH ($27,000) BEGINNING CASH $50,000 ENDING CASH $23,000
Sales and purchases are not netted and are reported in the statement of cash flows as investing activities.
This need, as well as any requirement for financing derived from budgeted operating and/or investing activities, leads to the forecast of financing requirements.
Net cash flow used in operating activities was MXN 136 million, in conjunction with cash flow provided by investing activities of MXN 20 million, net cash flow used in financing activities of MXN 247 million, and a negative net foreign exchange difference of MXN 326 million; the net cash decrease in the third quarter was MXN 689 million.
The bank attributed the surge to a continued growth in the financing and investing activities. Financing activities have now reached QR104.6 billion, having grown by 5.2 percent when compared with the same period last year.
We are confident that he will make a significant contribution to growing H.I.G.s distressed investing activities.
During fiscal years ended March 31, 2017 and 2016, the company generated net cash from operating activities of USD29.8m and USD253.4m, respectively, and generated net cash in investing activities of USD14.9m and used net cash in investing activities of USD135m respectively.
Income from financing and investing activities reached QAR 1,107 million at the end of March 2016 compared to QAR 817 million for the three month period ended March 2015.
This increase was driven by both new contributions and the successful investing activities of the funds.
Income from investing activities nearly doubled to Dh65.4 million in first half 2014 compared to Dh33.6 million in the same period last year, on the back of improved performance of UAE stocks.
Income from investing activities also grew at a healthy rate compared to the same period in the previous year, on the back of improved performance of UAE stocks, profitable exit from a private equity investment and profitable disposal of an investment property.