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. These movements are usually caused by market-wide events. 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.

BREAKING DOWN '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 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.

Across the Board in the News

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, here are some recent headlines: "Improvement Seen Across The Board For Urban Outfitters In The First Quarter" from Forbes, after the company beat expectations for both sales and earnings, or "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 "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.

But journalism focusing on the stock market is still one of the most common places where they idiom is put to work, such as this article from Money: "In the first quarter, losses were felt across the board – not only in sectors that performed well at the start of 2017 but in both economically sensitive areas of the market, such as real estate and basic materials, and defensive areas, such as consumer staples and utilities.


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