In C and C++, a type of integer variable usually containing 32 bits, but on some compilers it's more than that so keep that in mind if you want your code to be portable.

In simple finance, being long an asset, say a stock, means buying it. However, if we look a bit deeper into matters, the term long has a more general meaning:

A long exposure to an underlying means that you make money when the underlying rises in value, and lose money when it falls in value.

The term "underlying" here is a bit of an umbrella term that can mean things like stocks, bonds, commodities, or other assets. The most obvious way to be long is, indeed, by just buying the underlying. If I, for instance, buy 400 shares of Exxon, I am long 400 shares of Exxon. If the price of a share of Exxon rises by a dollar, I've made 400 x $ 1 = $ 400.

However, the definition is a bit more generic than that. Derivatives allow me to generate a long exposure without actually owning the asset. For instance, imagine I buy a call option on Exxon, allowing me to buy the share at a certain price, say $ 75 (The price of an Exxon share at the moment of making this WU is $ 76.11). Now, if the price of Exxon rises, buying a share at $75 becomes more attractive. If it rises to $ 80, I would make 5 dollars when I exercise the option. The precise relation between the price of an option and the price of the underlying is very complex, but we can state that a rising share price increases the value of the call, as seen above. When the Exxon share price drops, it will be less likely I can buy Exxon at a price below the current market price and make money. Hence, when the price of Exxon drops, my call will be worth less and I will lose money. Because I make money when Exxon rises and lose money when it falls, being long a call means I'm long Exxon.

A second example would be selling a put option. Imagine I sell the 75 put in Exxon. This means that I am obliged to buy Exxon at 75 if the person to whom I sold the put wants this. Now, as long as Exxon is above 75, I'm pretty much safe, and the more the price of Exxon rises, the less likely I am to have to buy the shares at 75 with a potential loss. Hence, if Exxon rises, I make money because the value of the option I am short diminishes: I am less likely to suffer a loss. By a similar argument, I am more likely to buy the Exxon shares at a loss if the shares fall; hence, when the price of Exxon drops, I lose money. Hence, I am long. Apart from these two examples, there are many, many more ways of generating a long exposure to an underlying using derivatives; you can make it as complex as you want.

Having established what a long position is and how to get one, the next step would be to identify why we want one. Essentially, one would want a long position if one would think that the price of an asset will go up. A very common position is being long shares, because for the last century or so, the long-term trend of shares is up. For a true investor, the long position is the natural position to be in. Another advantage of a (unleveraged long position is that your maximum loss is limited to the money you spent on the position.

Summarizing, being long an asset means that if the asset rises, you make money. This can be achieved by just buying the asset, but it can also be done with derivatives. In the latter case, it's not always easy to know exactly how much you are long. A long position is very common in investing, as many assets have a tendency to rise in price over time. The long position profits from this.

Long (?), a. [Compar. Longer (?); superl. Longest (?).] [AS. long, lang; akin to OS, OFries., D., & G. lang, Icel. langr, Sw. lång, Dan. lang, Goth. laggs, L. longus. √125. Cf. Length, Ling a fish, Linger, Lunge, Purloin.]

1.

Drawn out in a line, or in the direction of length; protracted; extended; as, a long line; -- opposed to short, and distinguished from broad or wide.

2.

Drawn out or extended in time; continued through a considerable tine, or to a great length; as, a long series of events; a long debate; a long drama; a long history; a long book.

3.

Slow in passing; causing weariness by length or duration; lingering; as, long hours of watching.

4.

Occurring or coming after an extended interval; distant in time; far away.

The we may us reserve both fresh and strong
Against the tournament, which is not long.
Spenser.

5.

Extended to any specified measure; of a specified length; as, a span long; a yard long; a mile long, that is, extended to the measure of a mile, etc.

6.

Far-reaching; extensive. " Long views." Burke.

7. (Phonetics)

Prolonged, or relatively more prolonged, in utterance; -- said of vowels and syllables. See Short, a., 13, and Guide to Pronunciation, §§ 22, 30.

Long is used as a prefix in a large number of compound adjectives which are mostly of obvious meaning; as, long- armed, long-beaked, long-haired, long- horned, long-necked, long-sleeved, long- tailed, long- worded, etc.

In the long run, in the whole course of things taken together; in the ultimate result; eventually. --
Long clam (Zoöl.), the common clam (Mya arenaria) of the Northern United States and Canada; -- called also soft-shell clam and long-neck clam. See Mya. --
Long cloth, a kind of cotton cloth of superior quality. --
Long clothes, clothes worn by a young infant, extending below the feet. --
Long division. (Math.) See Division. --
Long dozen, one more than a dozen; thirteen. --
Long home, the grave. --
Long measure, Long meter. See under Measure, Meter. --
Long Parliament (Eng. Hist.), the Parliament which assembled Nov. 3, 1640, and was dissolved by Cromwell, April 20, 1653. --
Long price, the full retail price. --
Long purple (Bot.), a plant with purple flowers, supposed to be the Orchis mascula. Dr. Prior. --
Long suit (Whist), a suit of which one holds originally more than three cards. R. A. Proctor. --
Long tom.
(a) A pivot gun of great length and range, on the dock of a vessel.
(b) A long trough for washing auriferous earth. [Western U.S.]

(c) (Zoöl.) The long-tailed titmouse. --
Long wall (Coal Mining), a working in which the whole seam is removed and the roof allowed to fall in, as the work progresses, except where passages are needed. --
Of long, a long time. [Obs.] Fairfax. --
To be, or go, long of the market, To be on the long side of the market, etc. (Stock Exchange), to hold stock for a rise in price, or to have a contract under which one can demand stock on or before a certain day at a stipulated price; -- opposed to short in such phrases as, to be short of stock, to sell short, etc. [Cant] See Short. --
To have a long head, to have a farseeing or sagacious mind.

 

© Webster 1913


Long (?), n.

1. (Mus.)

A note formerly used in music, one half the length of a large, twice that of a breve.

2. (Phonetics)

A long sound, syllable, or vowel.

3.

The longest dimension; the greatest extent; -- in the phrase, the long and the short of it, that is, the sum and substance of it. Addison.

 

© Webster 1913


Long, adv. [AS. lance.]

1.

To a great extent in space; as, a long drawn out line.

2.

To a great extent in time; during a long time.

They that tarry long at the wine.
Prov. xxiii. 30.

When the trumpet soundeth long.
Ex. xix. 13.

3.

At a point of duration far distant, either prior or posterior; as, not long before; not long after; long before the foundation of Rome; long after the Conquest.

4.

Through the whole extent or duration.

The bird of dawning singeth all night long.
Shak.

5.

Through an extent of time, more or less; - - only in question; as, how long will you be gone?

 

© Webster 1913


Long, prep. [Abbreviated fr. along. See 3d Along.]

By means of; by the fault of; because of. [Obs.] See Along of, under 3d Along.

 

© Webster 1913


Long, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Longed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Longing.] [AS. langian to increase, to lengthen, to stretch out the mind after, to long, to crave, to belong to, fr. lang long. See Long, a.]

1.

To feel a strong or morbid desire or craving; to wish for something with eagerness; -- followed by an infinitive, or by after or for.

I long to see you.
Rom. i. 11.

I have longed after thy precepts.
Ps. cxix. 40.

I have longed for thy salvation.
Ps. cxix. 174.

Nicomedes, longing for herrings, was supplied with fresh ones . . . at a great distance from the sea.
Arbuthnot.

2.

To belong; -- used with to, unto, or for. [Obs.]

The labor which that longeth unto me.
Chaucer.

 

© Webster 1913


Long, a. (Finance & Com.)

Having a supply of stocks or goods; prepared for, or depending for a profit upon, advance in prices; as, long of cotton. Hence, the phrases: to be, or go, long of the market, to be on the long side of the market, to hold products or securities for a rise in price, esp. when bought on a margin.

 

© Webster 1913

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