WASHINGTON - The Financial Accounting Standards Board on Tuesday issued its preliminary views on the methods - and practicality - of estimating the fair value of financial instruments.FASB project manager Ron Lott said in a statement that the agency is "committed" to resolving the conceptual problems associated with placing a value on financial instruments. The board's preliminary views address such questions as the meaning of fair value, what instruments should be reported at fair value, and how changes in fair value would be reported.

FASB rules already require U.S. firms to use fair-value accounting for some financial instruments. Under fair-value accounting, an asset or liability is valued on the basis of an estimate of what investors would pay for it on the open market. Under a cost-based value system, by contrast, the value is based on the item's original cost.

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