Primary Instrument

DEFINITION of 'Primary Instrument'

A financial investment whose price is based directly on its market value. Examples of primary instruments include stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, bills and anything else that has its own value. By contrast, the price of derivative instruments, such as options, swaps and futures, is based on the value of their underlying assets.

BREAKING DOWN 'Primary Instrument'

While the markets have established hundreds of instruments to facilitate the flow of capital and the management of risk, primary investments like stocks are what most beginning investors think of when they think about investing. This is because investing in primary instruments requires only basic knowledge of markets and investment principles.

A non-primary instrument would be something like a call option, which gives the owner the right to purchase the underlying stock at a certain price. So, if the price of the stock goes up, the call option's value also goes up. The call's value is based on the value of something else so it is not a primary instrument.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Derivative

    A security with a price that is dependent upon or derived from ...
  2. Negotiable Instrument

    A document that promises payment to a specified person or the ...
  3. Instrument

    1) A tradeable asset or negotiable item such as a security, commodity, ...
  4. Pure Discount Instrument

    A type of security that pays no income until maturity; upon expiration, ...
  5. Delivery Instrument

    A document given to the holder of a futures contact that may ...
  6. Financial Instrument

    A real or virtual document representing a legal agreement involving ...
Related Articles
  1. Bonds & Fixed Income

    A Guide To Real Estate Derivatives

    These instruments provide exposure to the real estate market without having to buy and sell property.
  2. Insurance

    How To Create A Laddered CD Portfolio

    Laddered certificates of deposit offer safe capital and predictable cash flow, while bringing simplicity to your portfolio.
  3. Insurance

    Taking The Bite Out Of A Bear Market

    Find out which financial instruments will protect you from bear market volatility.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The 4 Best T. Rowe Price Funds for Growth Investors in 2016 (TROW)

    Discover the four best mutual funds administered and managed by T. Rowe Price that specialize in investing in stocks of growth companies.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The 3 Best T. Rowe Price Funds for Value Investors in 2016

    Read analyses of the top three T. Rowe Price value funds open to new investors, and learn about their investment objectives and historical performances.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 3 Lazard Funds for Retirement Diversification in 2016

    Learn about Lazard Asset Management, its long history of strong performance and the top three Lazard funds to consider for retirement diversification.
  7. Investing Basics

    How liquid are Fidelity mutual funds?

    Review the liquidity features of mutual fund shares and an overview of Fidelity mutual funds. Most investors look for convenient access to their investments.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Which Fund Share Class is Best for Retirement?

    Mutual funds are a popular investment for retirement. Here's how to choose the best share class when investing in them.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 5 Wellington Funds for Retirement Diversification in 2016

    Discover the top five Wellington Management funds for retirement diversification in 2016, with a summary and performance details of each fund.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    3 Morgan Stanley Funds Rated 5 Stars by Morningstar

    Discover the three best mutual funds administered and managed by Morgan Stanley that received five-star overall ratings from Morningstar.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Are credit cards and debit cards considered debt instruments?

    Consumer debt instruments allow people to borrow money at specific interest rates. In recent years, the credit industry has ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is after-hours trading? Am I able to trade at this time?

    After-hours trading (AHT) refers to the buying and selling of securities on major exchanges outside of specified regular ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are target-date retirement funds good investments?

    The main benefit of target-date retirement funds is convenience. If you really don't want to bother with your retirement ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do mutual funds require a demat account?

    A dematerialized account enables electronic transfer of funds. The account is used so an investor does not need to hold the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How liquid are Vanguard mutual funds?

    The Vanguard mutual fund family is one of the largest and most well-recognized fund family in the financial industry. Its ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  4. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  5. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
Trading Center