What Is Across the Board?

"Across the board" is a term that refers to market-wide directional movement, or a market condition in which most stocks and sectors are moving in the same direction, either up or down.

These movements are usually caused by market-wide events, such as economic or geopolitical news, or in some cases, specific corporate news coming out of a leading company in a sector. The idiom has also come to refer to improved (or decreased) economic performance across all metrics for a particular company's stock, or across a certain portion of a national economy.

Key Takeaways

  • Across the Board is a term often used in reference to stocks or to broader stock market movement, indicating that a majority of the issues have moved one direction or another, often in response to macro issues.
  • Across the Board usually refers to a group of stocks or stock sectors that are moving in the same general direction, either up or down.
  • The term can also refer to the collective economic performance across all categories for a company's stock or a certain section of a broader economy.
  • The term originated from the NYSE's big board, in which stock prices were once written on a board. When the majority of stock prices either rallied or sold off, the movement was shown across the board.

Understanding Across the Board

If you hear in the financial media that the stock market is up "across the board", it means that most of the stocks in the market are up on that day's trading. The term comes from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Big Board, a large board on which stock prices were once written; when the majority of prices were up or down, the movement was shown across the board.

The Big Board is also used as a metonym for the New York Stock Exchange itself.

Examples of Across the Board

In addition to market-wide activity, the term is used often in the media to refer to strong stock performance for individual public companies.

For instance, there was a headline: "Improvement Seen Across The Board For Urban Outfitters In The First Quarter" from Forbes after the company beat expectations for both sales and earnings. Another headline was: "Burlington: Home a Hit Across the Board" from Home Textiles Today after "lower markdowns and slightly better markups delivered a strong quarter" for Burlington Stores.

The term is also used internationally, for instance, to show widespread improvements or tumult in certain sectors of the economy. For example, the headlines "Term deposit rates up across the board" in The Philippine Star or "Across-the-board selling pressure weighs on Qatar shares" in the Gulf Times.