Baked In The Cake

DEFINITION of 'Baked In The Cake'

Projections, expectations and other news items that are already reflected in a security’s price. As a phrase, "baked in the cake" is used to indicate that something has already been taken into account, and that an investor just learning of the news is unlikely to be at an advantage by acting on it.

BREAKING DOWN 'Baked In The Cake'

Investors who try to profit from breaking news must answer a difficult question: How many other investors have already acted on the news? This fundamental issue is related to insider trading and asymmetric information. In order to profit from breaking news, an investor has to be one of the first to hear of it. Once a critical number of investors have traded on an earnings estimate, for example, the news will be considered baked in the cake.

Investors should be careful when it comes to what news they trade on, and where that news is coming from. The advent of the Internet has increased the availability of information, but the source and veracity of the information found on the Internet is difficult to ascertain. For example, if an investor is told material, non-public information by an employee of a company, trading that company’s shares may lead to an investigation by the SEC.