A business or financial analysis technique that seeks to understand behavior by using complex mathematical and statistical modeling, measurement and research. By assigning a numerical value to variables, quantitative analysts try to replicate reality mathematically.

Quantitative analysis can be done for a number of reasons such as measurement, performance evaluation or valuation of a financial instrument. It can also be used to predict real world events such as changes in a share price.

In broad terms, quantitative analysis is simply a way of measuring things. Examples of quantitative analysis include everything from simple financial ratios such as earnings per share, to something as complicated as discounted cash flow, or option pricing.

Although quantitative analysis is a powerful tool for evaluating investments, it rarely tells a complete story without the help of its opposite - qualitative analysis. In financial circles, quantitative analysts are affectionately referred to as "quants", "quant jockeys" or "rocket scientists.

Quantitative Easing

A government monetary policy occasionally used to increase the money supply by buying government securities or other securities from the market. Quantitative easing increases the money supply by flooding financial institutions with capital, in an effort to promote increased lending and liquidity.

Central banks tend to use quantitative easing when interest rates have already been lowered to near 0% levels and have failed to produce the desired effect. The major risk of quantitative easing is that, although more money is floating around, there is still a fixed amount of goods for sale. This will eventually lead to higher prices or inflation.

Quantitative Easing 2 – QE2

The second round of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy used to stimulate the U.S. economy following the recession that began in 2007/08. QE2 was initiated in the fourth quarter of 2010 in order to jump-start the sluggish economic recovery. The Federal Reserve announced plans to buy $600 billion in long-term Treasuries, in addition to the reinvestment of an additional $250 billion to $300 billion in Treasuries from earlier proceeds from mortgage-backed securities. This, in theory, would push yields on Treasuries and bonds down, creating a surge in investment and consumption expenditures.

Quantitative easing was intended to stimulate an economy through a central bank's purchase of government bonds or other financial assets. Often, central banks use quantitative easing when interest rates are already zero bound, or at near 0% levels. This type of monetary policy increases the money supply and typically raises the risk of inflation. Quantitative easing is not specific to the U.S., however, and is used in a variety of forms by other major central banks.

Quantitative Trading

Trading strategies based on quantitative analysis which rely on mathematical computations and number crunching to identify trading opportunities. Price and volume are two of the more common data inputs used in quantitative analysis as the main inputs to mathematical models. As quantitative trading is generally used by financial institutions and hedge funds, the transactions are usually large in size and may involve the purchase and sale of hundreds of thousands of shares and other securities. However, quantitative trading is also commonly used by individual investors.

Quantitative trading techniques include high-frequency trading, algorithmic trading and statistical arbitrage. These techniques are believed to contribute to increased market volatility because of the rapid-fire nature of their trading and extremely short investment horizon. Many individual investors are more familiar with quantitative tools such as moving averages and oscillators.

Quantity Demanded

A term used in economics to describe the total amount of goods or services that are demanded at any given point in time. The quantity demanded depends on the price of a good or service in the marketplace, regardless of whether that market is in equilibrium. The quantity demanded is determined at any given point along a demand curve in a price vs. quantity plane.

When a given quantity of a good or service is demanded, as determined by its price, it will then impact the amount of goods or services that will be purchased. The degree to which the quantity demanded changes with respect to price is called elasticity of demand.