Prospect News Style Guide:
The information provided below highlights Prospect News writing style as it has evolved. For issues not detailed here, consult The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage or the AP Stylebook. Several points of style detailed below, however, may differ from the style adopted by the NY Times or the AP and are intended to instead meet the needs specifically of Prospect News.
News Criteria for Individual Markets
Covered by Prospect News
News covers agency debt offerings sold in the
Bank Loans (BK)
Prospect News covers U.S. dollar-denominated leveraged bank loans rated below investment grade or which otherwise have an interest rate that is Libor plus 150 basis points or greater. Also includes European loans. Combined credit facilities of an issuer must be $75 million or greater.
Includes coverage of new and amended loans, the secondary loan market, paydowns or draws on existing credit facilities, and general news affecting the bank loans of a company. Also includes coverage of new loans for distressed issuers, including debtor-in-possession financing and exit financing, but in general, excludes all other distressed loan news (which is covered by the distressed debt newsletter).
• The company must have bank debt of at least $75 million outstanding (including unused portions of revolvers)
• The company’s loans must be rated speculative-grade by Moody’s Investors Service or Standard & Poor’s or, if unrated, the interest rate margin must be 150 bps or higher.
• Include stories about DIP loans, if the loan size qualifies and if it is the first mention of the loan. Also include major revisions to the DIP loan but not small amendments.
Canadian debt (CA)
Prospect News covers all bonds issued by Canadian government, municipal and corporate entities, regardless of the currency type, and all bonds denominated in Canadian dollars issued by non-Canadian businesses or entities. Includes corporate bonds, government debt, asset-backed securities and private placements. Excludes coverage of bank loans, convertibles and structured products. Coverage includes tenders and redemptions of bonds but excludes shelf filings.
Prospect News covers convertible debt news and issuance globally from all issuers, regardless of the size of the convertible issue. Includes both industrialized and emerging market issuers. Includes debt convertible into stock and also equity-linked securities.
• Includes all underwritten
dollar-denominated offerings sold in the
• Bonds are included that convert into the issuer’s or another company’s stock or the cash equivalent; bonds that convert into other bonds are excluded.
• Excludes structured products.
• Units made up of a bond and stock are included; units made up of a bond and warrants are excluded.
• Preferred issues are included using the same criteria as for bonds.
Distressed Debt (DD)
Prospect News covers distressed debt, including bonds, loans and equipment financing, of issuers of public debt. Includes issuers that have missed a payment, defaulted on their debt or which are in bankruptcy proceedings involving at least $50 million of liabilities. Also includes stories about trades of claims valued at $1 million or more. Includes both industrialized and emerging market issuers.
Emerging Markets (EM)
Prospect News covers the secondary and primary markets for straight bonds of issuers located in emerging market countries. Convertibles are excluded as well as local-currency bond issues with a maturity of less than one year. (See entry “EMERGING MARKET COUNTRIES” for a list of countries included.)
• Include all underwritten EM offerings sold in the international bond markets.
• Units made up of a bond and a warrant are included; other units are excluded.
• Emerging markets are all countries except: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium, Finland and Iceland.
European Investment Grade (EU)
Prospect News covers all European investment-grade bonds of 75 million in any currency unit, excluding U.S. dollars.
High Yield (HY)
Prospect News covers all primary and secondary activity of debt issued globally that is rated below investment grade. Generally focused on industrialized counties (non-emerging-market countries) but includes new issues of emerging market issuers rated below investment grade, if the issue is Rule 144A. Excludes Regulation S-only offerings of emerging market issuers.
• All underwritten junk-rated bond offerings sold in industrialized countries.
• EM non-sovereign junk-rated
issues sold under Rule 144A in
• Includes junk-rated or unrated preferred stock.
Investment Grade (IG)
Prospect News covers all primary and secondary activity of
dollar-denominated investment-grade debt that is offered in the
• The company must have $75 million of combined investment-grade public or Rule 144A bonds outstanding.
• If the
company is an EM issuer, then the bonds must have been sold in the
• Deals rated investment grade by either Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s Investors Service are included.
• Units made up of a bond and a warrant are included; other units are excluded.
• Dollar-denominated sovereign issues are included if the issue is rated IG by either Moody’s or S&P.
• Passthroughs, collateral trust and equipment trust certificates are included.
• Exclude convertibles, trust preferreds and preferred stock.
Liability Management (LM)
Prospect News covers tenders and redemptions of all preferreds and corporate, municipal, convertible and government bonds from both domestic and international issuers, regardless of the credit rating, if the news item qualifies for coverage in one of Prospect News’ bond publications. Excludes bank loans and structured products.
Prospect News covers all primary and secondary activity of
municipal debt issued in the
Prospect News covers private placement in public equity, i.e., unregistered sales of equity. Deals must be a minimum of 1 million of whatever currency is relevant. This includes private placements of trust preferreds, private placements of convertibles and private placements of units of stock and warrants, regardless of currency type. Also includes notes with warrants. Equity is usually but not always sold at a discount to market price. There is no limitation on the size of the issuance, although the size is usually small.
• Include all offerings sold as private placements, excluding Rule 144A deals, or direct placements.
• Stock must be listed on an exchange or trade on the Bulletin Board or Pink Sheets.
• Includes stock, securities convertible into stock, units of these securities and equity lines of credit.
• Minimum issue size $1 million (all tranches combined) or C$1 million.
Prospect News covers the preferred stock
market. Includes all dollar-denominated preferreds, regardless of rating, and
emerging market preferreds if the offerings are also sold in the
• Include stories about all dollar-denominated IG and HY preferred issues, and EM issues, if they are also sold in the United States, regardless of size.
• Include trust preferred securities;
• Include retail bonds that typically have a $25 par value.
• Include stories about shelf filings if preferreds are included in shelf registration.
Excluded from the newsletter are all CV, PP and PV preferreds.
Private placements (PV)
Prospect News covers all primary and secondary activity in the private placement debt markets, including market commentary and news on offerings, price talk and pricings. Includes coverage of mezzanine financing, project financing and private preferreds.
Structured Products (SP)
Prospect News covers all offering announcements and new issue terms for notes and warrants issued that are linked to the value of the stock of another company or that are linked to stock indexes, commodities or commodity indexes, exchange rates, interest rates, inflation rates, or any similar assets or indexes.
Structured Products Weekly (SW)
Prospect News publishes a weekly version of its structured products newsletter summarizing the week’s SP news and commentary.
Bond Market Weekly (BW)
Prospect News publishes a weekly newsletter covering highlights of the past week’s news in the AG, CV, EM, HY, IG, MU, PF and Treasury bond markets. Includes commentary and selected stories from the past week.
ABBREVIATIONS – Avoid as much as possible, both in headlines and text, unless otherwise advised. Only use abbreviations if they are well-known or necessary to avoid clumsiness.
ACRONYMS – Upper case all letters when the acronym is four letters or less. Capitalize only the first letter when the acronym is five letters or longer. For example, “PETA” and “Libor.” Some exceptions may be made to capitalizing only the first letter in long acronyms when the acronyms have no vowels or appear otherwise odd looking. Always upper case EBITDA for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.
ADD-ON – Always hyphenate. The word describes an additional amount to be added to an existing debt instrument or security.
ADVISER/ADVISOR – Both words are acceptable spellings, but AP style and NY Times style both say the preferred spelling is “adviser.” If a proper name includes the word “advisor,” leave the spelling as is.
AMERICAN DEPOSITARY RECEIPT – Capitalize as “American Depositary Receipt” and spell out on first reference. Abbreviation ADR acceptable on second reference and in headlines.
AMID/AMIDST – Say “amid,” not “amidst.”
AMONG/AMONGST – Say “among,” not “amongst.”
BANKRUPTCY COURT FILINGS – When used as a source of information, give the date of the bankruptcy filing in the story. Also include a reference to the specific district bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy case number in the story.
BASIS POINT – One one-hundredth of 1 percent. Spell out in stories on first reference. May be abbreviated as “bps” in headlines and on second reference when it follows a numeral. Example: “Libor plus 100 basis points” on first reference in a story but “Libor plus 100 bps” in a headline and on second reference in a story.
BERHAD – Generally used in Malaysian company names; roughly equivalent to “plc.” Always abbreviate as “Bhd.”
BHD. – Abbreviation Bhd. for “Berhad.” Generally used in Malaysian company names; roughly equivalent to plc. Always abbreviate in company names. See also “Sdn. Bhd.”
BID and ASK/OFFER – In securities trading, a bid price is what a prospective buyer is willing to pay for a security, and the ask price or the offer price is what a prospective seller is willing to accept.
BOND DESCRIPTION ORDER – When describing a bond, place adjectives in the following order: Amount, Coupon, Structure (i.e. senior notes, subordinated notes, bonds, convertibles, etc.), Maturity date or Term. For example: The company sold $100 million 5.375% senior notes due 2040. (correct). The company sold $100 million two-year 5.375% senior notes (incorrect).
BONDHOLDER – Not bond holder.
BOOKRUNNER – Not sole bookrunner. If there is only one bookrunner, it’s stating the obvious to say “sole” bookrunner.
BRACKETS – Use square brackets “[ ]”when making editorial adjustments or additions within a direct quote. Do not use parenthesis “( )” for this purpose.
BULLET POINTS – For bullet points in a story, do not use an asterisk. Instead, use the symbol •, which is created on a PC by holding down the [ALT] key and typing 0149.
BUYBACK – buyback (n. or adj.); buy back (v.).
BUYOUT – buyout (n. or adj.); buy out (v.)
BUYSIDE – Not buy-side or buy side.
BYLINES – Generally, use a byline. An exception is if the story is trivially short. Prospect News bylines are placed on a separate line immediately below the headline, are not indented and begin with a capital letter. The byline should be in italics: “By Jane Doe”; Reporters who contribute material to a story but who do not write the story should receive recognition in a line of text placed at the bottom of the story. The text should be on a separate line immediately below the story, in italics type and flush left. No period should follow the text. Use the following format: Jane Doe contributed to this report
CANADIAN PROVINCES – Spell out Canadian
provinces when they follow a city, with these exceptions: Abbreviate British
Columbia as B.C., abbreviate
Nunavut No abbreviation (Use full name in all uses)
Prince Edward Island No abbreviation (Use full name in all uses)
CAPITALIZATION IN QUOTATIONS – Remove any unnecessary capitalized words in quotations. For example: “The Board agreed with the Company” (Wrong); “The board agreed with the company.” (Correct)
CLASS – Lower case when used to describe a particular class or series of securities. For example, “class A stock.” Similarly, “series B notes.”
COMPANY NAMES – Use full company names on first reference in a story and a shortened version of the name on second reference. Include any commas in the name, if the commas are part of the company’s legal name. Company names on first reference should include any references to Inc., Ltd., Co., Corp., etc. Also, do not use periods to separate letters in abbreviations such as LLC, LP, NA, etc.
COMPANY/COMPANIES – Abbreviate as
COMPANY DIVISIONS/GROUPS – Business groups within a company should be spelled in lower case when they adequately describe the business operations of that group. For example: “Ford Motor Co.’s commercial vehicles group performed poorly in the first quarter.” See also the entry for INDUSTRY SECTORS/SUBSECTORS.
CONSTANT MATURITY SWAP – Upper case as Constant Maturity Swap when describing the swap rate. Can be abbreviated as CMS on second reference and in headlines.
CONSTANT MATURITY TREASURY – Upper case as Constant Maturity Treasury. May be abbreviated as CMT on second reference and in headlines.
CONVERTIBLE BOND TERMINOLOGY:
Convertible bond – A bond that can be converted into a predetermined number of a company’s common shares at various times during the term of the bond.
Busted convertible – A convertible security that is trading well below its conversion value. In other words, the conversion price is well above the actual price of the issuer’s stock, making it unlikely the convertible bond will convert into stock before maturity. Busted convertibles often trade like normal straight bonds of the issuer.
Convertible preferred stock – Preferred stock that contains the option to convert the security into a set number of common shares.
Conversion ratio – The number of shares to be issued per bond, with each bond usually valued at $1,000. Generally expressed as a whole number with up to four digits to the right of the decimal.
Gray market – A forward market where commitments are made to trade the official bonds in the future at a prearranged price. Used as an indicator of the potential value of the bonds once they are issued and freed to trade.
Initial conversion premium – The percentage by which the conversion price of the convertible bond exceeds the price of the common stock on the pricing date.
Oceane – French acronym for Obligation Convertible en Action Nouvelle ou Existante. It is a type of convertible bond. Translated, the acronym means “Bond convertible into new or existing shares.” The conversion ratio of this security is usually 1.
Zero-coupon bond – A discount bond that does not allow for a coupon payment and pays no interest until maturity.
CORRECTIONS – In text, corrections to stories should refer to the newsletter publication date rather than the date a story was written. A paragraph should explain the correction without repeating the error that is being corrected. In most cases, a full and corrected version of the story should follow.
COUPONS – The annualized interest rate on a debt or convertible security. For securities with a term of less than one year, always express the annualized coupon in the headline and story and include a sentence within the story to explain. EXAMPLE: Within the story, include a phrase in the form “The three-month notes will pay 6% for an annualized rate of 24%”; in the headline for this example, refer to the “24% notes.”
CURRENCIES – Use the currency that
is relevant to the story. Do not convert other currencies into dollars. When
referring to U.S. dollars, say only $100. Do not say US$100. Also, say
“dollar-denominated” notes rather than “U.S. dollar-denominated” notes, unless
References to other currencies should appear in the following format:
A$100 for Australian dollar
R$100 for Brazilian real
£100 for British pound
C$100 for Canadian dollar
€100 for euro
DM 100 for German deutsche mark
Rp 100 Indonesia rupiah
NIS 100 Israeli shekel
¥100 for Japanese yen
RM 100 for Malaysian ringgit
S/. 100 for Peruvian nuevo soles
RUB 100 for Russian ruble; Also acceptable is spelling out as “100 rubles.”
CHF 100 for Swiss franc
NT$100 for New Taiwan dollar
baht 100” or “100 baht” for
DATELINES – All datelines for Prospect News stories should be indented with a tab and should begin with the city name and state abbreviation where the reporter is located, followed by the date the story was written, followed by an en dash as follows:
S: Sacramento; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis; St. Paul; Syracuse
NON-US CITIES THAT STAND ALONE IN DATELINES AND STORIES:
B: Bangkok; Beijing; Berlin; Bombay; Bonn; Brasilia; Brussels; Budapest; Buenos Aires
M: Macao; Madrid; Manila; Mexico City; Milan; Monaco; Montreal; Moscow; Munich
DAYS OF THE WEEK – As time elements in a story, spell out as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. when the day occurs six days before or after the date of the story. Otherwise, use months and dates in the form “Jan. 21”. Avoid the redundancy of saying “Tuesday Jan. 11.” NOTE: Distressed debt stories in general and tenders/redemption/paydown stories for BK, CV, DD, EM, HY and IG newsletters should use the date in the form “Jan. 21” regardless whether the date occurs within six days of the current date. (This exception helps to avoid confusion about correct dates where elements of these stories are often used in later updated stories.)
DEALER NAMES – The following are the
common spellings on first reference for underwriter names. Be aware, some banks
have more than one entity through which securities are underwritten,
particularly if the securities are placed outside the
ABN Amro Inc.
Barclays Capital Inc.
BB&T Capital Markets
BBVA Securities Inc.
Blaylock Robert Van, LLC
BMO Capital Markets Corp.
BNP Paribas Securities Corp.
BNY Capital Markets Inc.
BNY Mellon Capital Markets LLC
Gleacher & Co. Inc. (formerly Broadpoint Gleacher Securities Group, Inc.)
Cabrera Capital Markets LLC
Canaccord Genuity Corp.
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
CastleOak Securities LP
Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
City Securities Corp.
Coastal Securities Inc.
Commerzbank Capital Markets Corp.
Suisse Securities (
D.A. Davidson & Co.
Daiwa Securities America Inc.
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
DnB NOR Markets Inc.
Dresdner Kleinwort Securities LLC
Edward D. Jones & Co. LP
Estrada Hinojosa & Co.
Fidelity Capital Markets
Fifth Third Securities Inc.
First Southwest Co.
FTN Financial Securities Corp.
Gleacher & Co., Inc. (formerly Broadpoint Gleacher Securities Group, Inc.)
Goldman Sachs & Co.
Greenwich Capital Markets Inc. (Name no longer used. Now “RBS Securities Inc.”)
Jefferies & Co.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, but just JPMorgan on second reference (Formerly J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.)
KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc.
Lazard Capital Markets LLC
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.
Mesirow Financial Inc.
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International plc
Mizuho Securities USA Inc.
Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc.
Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc.
Muriel Siebert & Co.
NatCity Investments Inc.
Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.
Piper Jaffray & Co.
PNC Capital Markets LLC
Raymond James & Associates
RBC Capital Markets Corp.
RBS Securities Inc.
Rice Financial Products Inc.
Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.
Samuel A. Ramirez & Co. Inc.
Santander Investment Securities Inc.
SBK-Brooks Investment Corp.
Siebert Capital Markets
Southwest Securities Inc.
State Street Capital Markets LLC
Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc.
Stone & Youngberg LLC
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc.
UBS Securities LLC
Utendahl Capital Group LLC
Wachovia Capital Markets LLC
Wachovia Securities LLC
Wells Fargo Securities LLC
Williams Capital Group LP
Zions First National Bank, Capital Markets
DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE – Capitalize each word as Dow Jones Industrial Average.
DUTCH AUCTION – Dutch auction. Upper case “Dutch auction.”
EBITDA – Always use abbreviation EBITDA, in all capital letters, for references to “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.”
EBITDAR – Always use abbreviation EBITDAR, in all capital letters, for references to “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and rent or restructuring costs.
EBITDAX – Always use abbreviation EBITDAX, in all capital letters, for references to “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and exploration expenses. A variant of EBITDA used by companies in the oil & gas industry.
EMERGING MARKET COUNTRIES – The following countries are considered emerging market countries for the purposes of Prospect News:
Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Also, all former Soviet republics not listed here.
Also, all Central and South American countries.
ENDED/ENDING – Use “ended” for the past tense and “ending” for the future. This applies to fiscal periods. To describe a fiscal period in the past, say “for the fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 29.” To describe a fiscal period that has not yet ended, say “for the fiscal third quarter ending Jan. 29.”
EURO CONVERTIBLE BOND – A eurobond that is convertible. (Not a euro-denominated bond). Do not abbreviate as ECB.
EUROBOND – A bond denominated in U.S. dollars or other currencies and sold to investors outside of the country whose currency is used. Lower case “eurobond”
FILE NAME SUFFIXES – Certain file names use special suffixes, which identify where the stories should be placed in the newsletter. For example: “1025CV Bobs Gym new issue” The suffixes include the following:
“new issue” Placed at the end of a file name, it designates a pricing story in the CA, CV, EM, HY, IG, MU, PF, PP, PV and SP newsletters where a table is included. File names for stories that do not include a table should not have the “new issue” terminology in the file name.
FISCAL YEAR – A 12-month period used by companies for bookkeeping. When the fiscal year is different than the calendar year, always indicate when the fiscal year begins or ends. For example, “For the fiscal year ended July 1, the company earned $100 million.”
FITCH RATINGS – “Fitch Ratings” on first reference and just “Fitch” on second reference and thereafter.
FIXED RATE – Hyphenate when used as an adjective. For example: The fixed-rate notes. The notes have a fixed rate.
FLOATING RATE – Hyphenate when used as an adjective. Describes a debt instrument that has an interest rate that is adjusted over the term of the security according to an index, such as Libor, Prime rate, etc.
FLOW-THROUGH SHARE – Flow-through shares are issued by mining, petroleum and some types of renewable energy companies to finance exploration and project development activities. Canadian companies issue these shares to new investors, who receive an equity interest in the company and Canadian income tax deductions related to the company’s exploration and development.
FOLLOW-ON OFFERING – A stock offering by a company that follows an initial public offering, regardless of the length of time after the original IPO. It is not a secondary offering, which is where someone other than the company is selling stock.
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION – Food and Drug
Administration may be abbreviated as FDA on second reference and in headlines.
It is not necessary to include “
FRACTIONS VERSUS DECIMALS – follow these rules:
Generally: when fractions are required, use fractions for numbers divisible into halves (1/2), thirds (1/3, 2/3), fourths (1/4, 3/4) and eighths (1/8, 3/8, 5/8, 7/8). Use decimals for other non-standard fractions (i.e., two-tenths should be expressed as 0.2, not 2/10 or 1/5). For Treasuries, fractions may be expressed in 32nds (3/32, 5/32, etc.)
Coupons and yields: use fractions (i.e., “the 5¼% notes…”) for DD, EM and HY stories when possible; use decimals (i.e., “the 5.25% notes…”) for AG, CV, IG, MU, PP and SP stories; use decimals or fractions depending on the IG/HY rating of the debt for PV.
Bond or loan price movement: use decimals (i.e., “the notes climbed 1.5 points to…) for CA, CV, IG, MU, PP, PV and SP; use fractions (i.e., the notes were quoted down 1½ points to…) for BK, DD, EM, HY and PF.
Secondary bid/offer price quotes: Use fractions (i.e., 47½ bid, 49½ offered) for BK, DD, EM, HY; Use decimals (i.e., 87.875 bid, 88.125 offered; or, 450.5 bps bid, 430 bps offered) for CV, IG, MU, PP, PV, SP.
Bond spreads to a benchmark: Always use decimals (i.e., 450.5 bps over Treasuries, or mid-swaps plus 250 bps…)
Libor: Always express the rate using decimals. (i.e., a 1.875% Libor floor).
FREQUENTLY MISSPELLED WORDS (Spelled correctly below):
Automaker (one word)
Bondholder (one word)
Drug maker (two words)
Drugstore (one word)
Homebuilder (one word)
Midday (not mid-day)
Noteholder (one word)
Roadshow (one word), not road show
Website (one word)
GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND – A municipal bond backed by the full faith and credit of the issuer, which may have authority to use tax revenue to fund the bonds. Abbreviation “G.O.” is acceptable in headlines and on second reference in stories.
GLOBAL DEPOSITARY RECEIPT – Capitalize as “Global Depositary Receipt” and spell out on first reference. Abbreviation GDR acceptable on second reference and in headlines.
GMBH – Abbreviation GmbH for Gesellschaft mit beschrankter Haftung (German limited liability company). Use abbreviation in company names.
GREENSHOE – See entry for “OVER-ALLOTMENT OPTION”
HARD DOLLAR – Term “hard dollar” means “non flow-through.” Typically used to describe equity that is not subject to flow-through tax benefits under Canadian law.
HEADLINES – Headlines should be in Times New Roman style and 10-point font and generally be as near to but not more than 70 characters long. In all cases, no headline should run more than 94 characters. Some exceptions apply.
Market commentary headlines – Should be as near to but not more than 94 characters long. Short version market commentaries should be no more than 90 characters long.
New issue stories – Should have headlines that are 82 characters in length, but they can go up to a new maximum of 94 characters. Exception is PP new issue stories, which must be 70 characters or less.
Municipal ratings headlines – Should be no more than 92 characters long.
Structured products stories – Should not exceed 94 characters, though shorter headlines preferred.
HEADQUARTERS LOCATIONS – All stories
should indicate the location of relevant corporate headquarters. In the
HEALTH CARE – Not healthcare.
HIGH YIELD – Hyphenate as “high-yield” when used as an adjective. Used to describe debt instruments that are rated by the ratings agencies at a level that is below investment grade – Ba1 or lower by Moody’s and BB- or lower by S&P and Fitch.
INDEBTEDNESS – Better to say “debt.”
INDENTATIONS – Indent paragraphs with a single tab. (Do not use the space bar).
INDUSTRY SECTORS/SUBSECTORS – Lower case descriptions of industry sectors and subsectors within an industry. For example, “The oil industry’s pipelines sector faired well during the second quarter.” See also the entry for COMPANY DIVISIONS/GROUPS.
INTERNET – Always lower case as “internet.”
INTRA – Do not hyphenate compound words with “intra.” For example: “intraday.”
INTRADAY – Not “intra-day”
IPO – An acceptable abbreviation for “initial public offering” in headlines and stories. Spell out on first reference in stories.
LEGALESE – Translate from lawyers’ English to regular English. Avoid words like “requisite” (instead say needed, necessary, etc.); “thereof” (almost always redundant); “thereafter” (use onwards); and, if possible, avoid “certain” (often “some” can be used instead or it can be removed).
See comments above on “Capitalization in quotations.”
LEGISLATIVE PARTY AFFILIATION – In stories that mention a member of congress and where party affiliation is relevant in the story, a one-letter symbol (R, D, I) and a state abbreviation should be used to identify the party and home state of the elected official. Use your choice of the following forms:
- Sen. John Doe, D-N.Y., said…
- Democratic senator John Doe of New York said…
- Rep. John Doe, R-Wyo., said…
- Republican representative John Doe of Wyoming said…
LETTER OF CREDIT – Hyphenate when used as an adjective. May abbreviate as “LoC” when necessary in headlines and on second reference.
LEVERAGED BUYOUT – Spell out on first reference in a story. May abbreviate as “LBO” on second reference and in headlines.
LIBOR – Libor. Acceptable for all references to London Interbank Offered Rate. When the Libor reflects the three-month Libor, then express only as Libor. Otherwise, indicate as one-month Libor, six-month Libor, etc. Express Libor amount in decimal form.
LLC – The abbreviation for “limited liability company.” Use abbreviation when part of a company name.
LP – Abbreviation for “limited partnership.” Use abbreviation when used as part of a company name.
MIDDAY – Spelled midday, not mid-day.
MINUS SIGN - Spell out “minus” in headlines and stories. Where appropriate, say “negative.” Do not use a minus (-) symbol.
MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE – “Moody’s Investors Service” on first reference. Abbreviate as “Moody’s” on second reference.
MUNICIPAL ISSUER NAMES – Names of municipal
debt issuers should identify the city, state or county where the issuer is
located, but do not insert this information into the middle of a proper name.
If the proper name of the issuer is
Use the following formats:
Avoid the following formats:
MUNICIPAL NEWSLETTER TERMINOLOGY –
• Bond anticipation notes – Abbreviate as BANs in headlines and on second reference in stories.
• Certificates of participation – Abbreviate as COPs in headlines and on second reference in stories. May also refer to them generally as “certificates” on second reference.
• General obligation bond – Abbreviate as G.O. bonds in headlines and on second reference in stories.
• Independent school district – Abbreviate as ISD in headlines when necessary.
• Net interest cost – Abbreviate as NIC in headlines and one second reference in stories.
• Tax anticipation notes – Abbreviate as TANs in headlines and on second reference in stories.
• True interest cost – Abbreviate as TIC in headlines and on second reference in stories.
• SPUR – Abbreviation for Standard & Poor’s Underlying Rating. Avoid this abbreviation and instead refer generically to “underlying rating” in a story or headline.
NA – Abbreviation for “National Association.” Use abbreviation when used as part of a company name.
NASDAQ – The electronic stock market operated by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Spell as “Nasdaq” to refer to the stock market. Do not say “Nasdaq composite index.”
NET INTEREST COST – Abbreviate as NIC in headlines and on second reference in municipal bond news stories.
NON-CALLABLE – Always hyphenate. A bond deal that is non-callable is also called a “bullet.”
NUMBERS – In general, spell out all numbers less than 10; use numerals for all numbers 10 or larger. There are some exceptions to the rule.
BOND PRICE MOVEMENT – Express all bond price movements with a numeral, regardless whether the amount is greater or less than 10. Correct: “The bonds increased 2 points to 98 bid, 99.5 offered.” Wrong: “The bonds increased two points….”
STOCK PRICE MOVEMENT – Express stock price movement with numerals, regardless whether the amount is greater or less than 10. Correct: “The shares fell 3 cents, or 6%, to $0.47.” Wrong: “The shares fell three cents, or 6%, to $0.47.”
STOCK PRICES – Stock prices should be quoted in dollars and cents, or any other relevant currency, and rounded to two decimal places. Do not round the stock price, however, if a more precise stock quote is necessary to explain an exchange offer, acquisition offer or other technical transaction. Also, use commas to set off the price movement from the actual stock price. Example: “Fremont General Corp. shares dropped 51 cents, or 4.15%, to close Friday at $11.79. Also, “The company is offering $2.2154 for each share of ABC Corp.”
HEADLINE NUMBERS – Numbers in headlines should be spelled out if they are less than 10; use numerals for numbers 10 or larger. Also, round headline numbers to no more than two spaces past the decimal, except for references to true interest cost, yields or coupons.
FINANCIAL REPORTS – Company financial reports involving net income/loss, revenue, operating income and balance sheet items, etc., should express the information in numerals rounded to no more than two spaces past the decimal. For example, “ABC Corp. earned $25.35 million for the quarter on $100.12 million in revenues.” Do not say, “ABC Corp. earned $25,354,251 for the quarter on $100,123,001 in revenues.”
PRINCIPAL AMOUNTS OF SECURITIES IN TABLES – In tables, do not round a currency figure that expresses a principal amount or total amount of a security. Also, express the full dollar amount. For example, a PIPE, structured products, or high-yield table should express the total amount of the issuance in the form “$450,250,250.” Do not say “$450.25 million.” If there are two or fewer digits after the decimal, express in millions (or billions). E.g. $450.2 million for $450,200,000.
PRINCIPAL AMOUNTS OF SECURITIES IN STORIES AND HEADLINES – In stories and headlines, round currency figures to no more than two places past the decimal. For amounts of $1 million or more, express in the form “$20.25 million.” For amounts less than $1 million, express in the form “$250,000.” Do not say “$0.25 million.”
SHARE/UNIT/SUBSCRIPTION RECEIPT/WARRANT AMOUNTS – When an amount of shares, units, subscription receipts or warrants can be expressed with two or fewer places past the decimal, without rounding, then the amount should be expressed in the form 1.25 million shares instead of 1,250,000 shares. For amounts that would result in three or more places past the decimal to express, without rounding, use the form 1,255,000 shares. When expressing a number of shares, units, warrants or subscription receipts in a story or table, never round the figure. For example, an investor may acquire 45,251,502 shares of XYZ Corp.; do not round to 45.25 million shares.
SEE ALSO, entries for RATIOS, FRACTIONS versus DECIMALS, PERCENTAGES, PLUS and MINUS, ROUNDING NUMBERS, TELEPHONE NUMBERS
NV – Abbreviation for “Naamloze Vennootschap” (Dutch corporation). Should be abbreviated when used as part of a company name.
OAO – Abbreviation for “Otkrytoye
aktsionernoye obshchestvo.” Similar in meaning to “corporation” in the
OCEANE – French acronym Oceane, or Obligation Convertible en Action Nouvelle ou Existante, is a type of convertible bond. Translated, the acronym means “Bond convertible into new or existing shares.” The conversion ratio of this security is usually 1.
OK, OK’d, OK’ing, OKs – Do not use “okay.”
ONGOING – Can be avoided in most copy.
OOO – Abbreviation for “Obshchestvo s ogranichennoy otvetstvennostyu.”
Similar in meaning to “LLC” in the
OVER-ALLOTMENT OPTION – Not overallotment. Also known as a greenshoe. Avoid saying “greenshoe option,” which is redundant.
PARENTHESIS – Keep the use of parenthesis to a minimum. Most sentences can be rewritten to avoid the need for parenthesis.
PASSTHROUGH CERTIFICATE – Spell out as “passthrough certificate.” Do not hyphenate as “pass-through”
PCL – Abbreviation for “public company limited.” Should be abbreviated “PCL” when used in a company name.
PERCENTAGES – Use the percent symbol “%” with figures. For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero. For example, “10.5%” (Correct), “0.2%” (Correct), “20 percent” (Wrong).
PLC – Abbreviation for “public limited company.” Should be abbreviated and lower case as “plc” when used in a company name
PLUS and MINUS – Spell out in headlines and stories. Do not use symbols “+/-“. For example: “Libor plus 100 bps” (correct), “Libor +100 bps” (wrong).
PREFERRED STOCK – On second reference, refer to the securities as “preferreds,” not “stock.”
PRE-PACKAGED – Always hyphenate as “pre-packaged” when used as an adjective. A form of bankruptcy in which terms of the restructuring are agreed to by the creditors and the company in advance of the bankruptcy petition.
PT – Abbreviate as PT in company names. Stands for “persororan terbatas.” Generally used in Indonesian company names.
PTE LTD. – Abbreviate as “Pte. Ltd.” Stands for “private limited company.” Generally used in Australian company names.
PTY LTD. – Abbreviate as “Pty. Ltd.” Stands
for “proprietary limited.” Generally used by companies in
PUNCTUATION WITH QUOTATION MARKS –
Commas at the end of a quotation should always be placed inside of the quotation marks, regardless of whether the entire paragraph or a just a single word at the end of the paragraph is enclosed by quotation marks.
Colons and semi-colons should always be placed after quotation marks.
Exclamation points can be placed either inside or outside of quotation marks, depending on whether the exclamation symbol applies to the whole sentence or just the quoted material.
PUTABLE – Not puttable. Describes a debt instrument feature in which the holders have the option to redeem, or put back to the company, the debt before the maturity date.
RATIOS – Ratios involving numbers should be denoted in the form “1 to 1” (no hyphens are necessary). When space is limited, an alternative format uses a colon. For example: “1:1”
REOFFER – Not re-offer.
REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY – Spell out on first reference, unless the resulting sentence would be too unwieldy. May shorten to “revolver” on second reference.
ROLLOVER – rollover (n. and adj.); roll over (v.)
ROUNDING NUMBERS – If the next digit is 5 or higher, then the final digit you keep increases by one. Also, be consistent in the number of digits past the decimal that are used in a story. For example, if one number in a story uses three places past the decimal (i.e., 10.505), then any other number in the story also should use the same format (XX.XXX). BUT, if not needed for consistency, trailing zeroes should be removed, particularly for coupons. In headlines, round numbers to two places past the decimal, except for coupons, yields, net interest cost (NIC) and true interest cost (TIC), which should not be rounded.
RULE 144A – Spell as “Rule 144A.” Do not shorten to 144A.
SA – The abbreviation for “sociedad anonima” (Spanish corporation) or “societe anonyme” (French corporation) should not have periods when used in a company name.
SA de CV – The abbreviation for “sociedad anonima de capital variable.” Do not use periods in the form S.A. de C.V.
SAB de CV – Do no use periods in the form S.A.B. de C.V.
S de RL – The abbreviation for “sociedad de reponsabilidad limitada.” Abbreviate as S de RL in a company name. This is a form of limited liability company.
SDN. BHD. – Abbreviation “Sdn. Bhd.” stands for “Sendirian Berhad.” Used in Malaysian company names. Roughly equivalent to “Ltd.” Always abbreviate as “Sdn. Bhd.”
SEC FILINGS – Be specific about the type of filing when referring to SEC documents in a story. A quarterly earnings report should be called a 10-Q. An annual earnings report should be called a 10-K, and so on. Also refer to the date of the filing in the text of the story when referring to the filing as a source of information. NOTE: If the SEC filing refers to a news release, then it is OK to reference the news release in the story rather than the SEC filing.
SECONDARY OFFERING – An offering of securities by someone other than the company that issued the securities. It is not a follow-on offering. See also the entry for FOLLOW-ON OFFERING.
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION – Securities and Exchange Commission on first reference. Abbreviate as “SEC” on second reference and thereafter.
SELL-OFF – sell-off (n.); sell off (v.)
SELLSIDE – Not sell-side or sell side
SEMIANNUAL – Spelled semiannual, not semi-annual. Means twice a year.
SENDIRIAN BERHAD – Always abbreviate as “Sdn. Bhd.” Used in Malaysian company names; generally means “Ltd.”
SIZABLE – not sizeable.
SLOWDOWN – slowdown (n.); slow down (v.)
SOFOL – Abbreviation “Sofol” is always used for
“Sociedad Financiera de Objeto Limitado” (
SOME – Avoid use of word when intended to mean “about” or “approximately.” The preferred word is “about” because it is shorter. Also, do not use “about” or “approximately” when the dollar figure that it precedes includes a decimal amount after the whole number. For example: “I have about $100” but “I have $100.23.”
SPA – Abbreviation SpA for “Societa per Azioni” (Italian corporation). Always use abbreviation when used as part of a company name.
SPINOFF – Spinoff (n. and adj.); spin off (v.). A spinoff occurs when a company transforms a division or subsidiary into a separate entity and distributes shares of the new entity to the holders of the original company’s stock. A sale is not a spinoff, according to NY Times style.
STANDARD & POOR’S CORP. – Standard & Poor’s on first reference. Abbreviate as S&P on second reference.
STANDARD & POOR’S 500 – Spell as “Standard & Poor’s 500” on first reference and on second reference as just “S&P 500.”
stories and datelines, abbreviate state names when they appear after a city
name. Exceptions are
STOCK EXCHANGE ABBREVIATIONS: Exchanges should be written to avoid unnecessary abbreviations but without going too long. Acceptable abbreviations include:
AIM – The London Stock Exchange’s international market for young and growing companies.
Amex – for the American Stock Exchange
Nasdaq – for the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation. Do not say “NasdaqNM”
Nasdaq Capital – Do not say “NasdaqSC”
OTCBB – for the Over the Counter Bulletin Board
Pink Sheets – for the Pink Sheets. Do not use abbreviation “PNK”
TSX Venture – TSX Venture Exchange
STOCK PRICES – Stock prices should be quoted in dollars and cents, or any other relevant currency, and rounded to two decimal places. Do not round the stock price, however, if a more precise stock quote is necessary to explain an exchange offer, acquisition offer or other technical transaction. Also, use commas to set off the price movement from the actual stock price. Example: “Fremont General Corp. shares dropped 51 cents, or 4.15%, to close Friday at $11.79.
STOCK SYMBOLS – Stock ticker symbols in stories should be expressed in upper case letters enclosed within parenthesis. The symbol should be preceded within the parenthesis by the abbreviation for the stock exchange on which the stock trades. Example: (NYSE: CIT), (Nasdaq: AMGN). However, stock symbols that are included in a table rather than a story should not be enclosed in parenthesis.
STORIES THAT REQUIRE STOCK SYMBOLS: New-deal stories for equity and equity-related offerings. This means: Convertibles (but not investment bank exchangeables) and PIPEs stories; market commentaries for convertibles and PIPEs.
PLACEMENT: For new-issue stories, stock symbols should appear in the table on a separate line immediately above the line for the stock price. For market commentaries, the ticker symbols should be placed within the sentence in which the stock price is quoted. Example: “Shares of LifePoint closed down $6.87, or 19%, to $29.54 (Nasdaq: LPNT).
STOCKHOLDER – Not stock holder. Most words formed with “holder” are one word, with the exception of “preferred-stock holder.”
SUBHEADINGS – Use in stories to break up text when appropriate. Include a blank line before a subheading in a story, and do not indent the subheading. Subheadings should be very short, usually no more than four words.
SUBSECTOR – Not sub-sector.
SUKUK – lower case as “sukuk”
SWINGLINE LOAN – A loan that gives companies access to large amounts of cash on short notice to cover possible shortfalls from other debt commitments. Spell as “swingline,” not “swing line.”
TABLE – Do not use the expression “to table”
something. It has opposite meanings in the
TABLES – Tables can be used at the bottom of a story when necessary to provide additional information. When creating tables, always place a blank line between the text of the story and the table. Always use tabs (not spaces) to separate columns of the table. Row headings along the left column should begin with a capital letter for the first word only. Items in columns to the right should start with a capital letter.
TELEPHONE NUMBERS – For
THAT/WHICH – According to NY Times style: “Use
‘that,’ not ‘which,’ in a restrictive clause – a clause necessary to the
reader’s understanding of the sentence: ‘The town that the pitcher calls home
TIER 1 CAPITAL – Term used to describe capital
adequacy of a bank and defined by the
TIER 2 CAPITAL – Term used to describe capital
adequacy of a bank and defined by the
TIER 3 CAPITAL – Term used to describe capital
adequacy of a bank and defined by the
TIME – Denote as hours and minutes,
separated by a colon. Followed by a.m. or p.m. and the relevant time zone. For
example: 11:30 a.m. ET or 12:30 p.m. GMT. Avoid saying “
TITLES – Business and professional titles should always be lowercase, whether they appear before or after a person’s name. For example: “Company chief financial officer John Doe spoke to the crowd.”
TO/FROM – When showing change, always structure stories so that the “to” comes before the “from.” For example: “Moody’s Investors Service changed ABC Corp.’s senior rating to C from D.”
TOWARD – Not towards.
TRUE INTEREST COST – Abbreviate as TIC in headlines and on second reference in municipal bond news stories.
UNITED STATES – Spell out as “
UNITS OF MEASURE – Abbreviate the following units of measure in all uses when used with a specific number: mg (for milligram); mcg (for microgram) A blank space should be placed between the numeral and the abbreviation. For example, “The bottle contained 150 mg of solution.”
UTILIZE – An unwieldy word; say “use” instead
WEBSITE – Should be lower case and spelled as one word, not web site.
YEAR-END – Not yearend or year end.
YIELD TO WORST – For deals that price above par, the “yield” referenced in the headline should be the yield to worst, not the yield to maturity. Also, do not hyphenate “yield to worst” when used as a noun. Do not abbreviate as YTW.
YTM – Abbreviation for yield to maturity. Avoid its use in headlines and stories.