HIGH-LOW METHOD Definition

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HIGH-LOW METHOD of approximating cost behavior considers only two points of data, the highest and lowest, for activity within the relevant range. The method first focuses on cost changes, allowing an analyst to determine the presence of any variable cost. Next, fixed costs are determined by subtracting variable cost from the total cost at either of the two data points. The calculation is an algebraic procedure used to separate a semi-variable cost into the variable and fixed components. The method calls for using the extreme data points (highest and lowest x - y pairs) in the COST-VOLUME FORMULA y = a + bx; where a = fixed cost portion and b = the variable rate.

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UNDERLYING is the security, cash commodity, forward, futures contract, swap, or other contract or instrument that is the subject of a derivative contract or instrument.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE exists when the firm is able to deliver the same benefits as competitors but at a lower cost (cost advantage), or deliver benefits that exceed those of competing products (differentiation advantage). Thus, a competitive advantage enables the firm to create superior value for its customers and superior profits for itself. See also SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.

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