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Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis of a business involves analyzing its financial statements and health, its management and competitive advantages, and its competitors and markets. When applied to futures and forex, it focuses on the overall state of the economy, interest rates, production, earnings, and management. When analyzing a stock, futures contract, or currency using fundamental analysis there are two basic approaches one can use; bottom up analysis and top down analysis. The term is used to distinguish such analysis from other types of investment analysis, such as quantitative analysis and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis is performed on historical and present data, but with the goal of making financial forecasts. There are several possible objectives:

to conduct a company stock valuation and predict its probable price evolution, to make a projection on its business performance, to evaluate its management and make internal business decisions, to calculate its credit risk.

Two analytical models


When the objective of the analysis is to determine what stock to buy and at what price, there are two basic methodologies 1. Fundamental analysis maintains that markets may misprice a security in the short run but that the "correct" price will eventually be reached. Profits can be made by trading the mispriced security and then waiting for the market to recognize its "mistake" and reprice the security. 2. Technical analysis maintains that all information is reflected already in the stock price. Trends 'are your friend' and sentiment changes predate and predict trend changes. Investors' emotional responses to price movements lead to recognizable price chart patterns. Technical analysis does not care what the 'value' of a stock is. Their price predictions are only extrapolations from historical price patterns. Investors can use any or all of these different but somewhat complementary methods for stock picking. For example many fundamental investors use technicals for deciding entry and exit points. Many technical investors use fundamentals to limit their universe of possible stock to 'good' companies. The choice of stock analysis is determined by the investor's belief in the different paradigms for "how the stock market works". See the discussions at efficient-market hypothesis, random walk hypothesis, capital asset pricing model, Fed model Theory of Equity Valuation, Market-based valuation, and Behavioral finance.

Fundamental analysis includes: 1. Economic analysis 2. Industry analysis 3. Company analysis On the basis of these three analyses the intrinsic value of the shares are determined. This is considered as the true value of the share. If the intrinsic value is higher than the market price it is recommended to buy the share . If it is equal to market price hold the share and if it is less than the market price sell the shares.

Use by different portfolio styles


Investors may use fundamental analysis within different portfolio management styles.

Buy and hold investors believe that latching onto good businesses allows the investor's asset to grow with the business. Fundamental analysis lets them find 'good' companies, so they lower their risk and probability of wipe-out. Managers may use fundamental analysis to correctly value 'good' and 'bad' companies. Eventually 'bad' companies' stock goes up and down, creating opportunities for profits. Managers may also consider the economic cycle in determining whether conditions are 'right' to buy fundamentally suitable companies. Contrarian investors distinguish "in the short run, the market is a voting machine, not a weighing machine" Fundamental analysis allows you to make your own decision on value, and ignore the market. Value investors restrict their attention to under-valued companies, believing that 'it's hard to fall out of a ditch'. The value comes from fundamental analysis. Managers may use fundamental analysis to determine future growth rates for buying high priced growth stocks. Managers may also include fundamental factors along with technical factors into computer models (quantitative analysis)

Top-down and bottomup


Investors can use either a top-down or bottom-up approach.

The top-down investor starts his analysis with global economics, including both international and national economic indicators, such as GDP growth rates, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, productivity, and energy prices. He narrows his search down to regional/industry analysis of total sales, price levels,

the effects of competing products, foreign competition, and entry or exit from the industry. Only then he narrows his search to the best business in that area. The bottom-up investor starts with specific businesses, regardless of their industry/region

Procedures
The analysis of a business' health starts with financial statement analysis that includes ratios. It looks at dividends paid, operating cash flow, new equity issues and capital financing. The earnings estimates and growth rate projections published widely by Thomson Reuters and others can be considered either 'fundamental' (they are facts) or 'technical' (they are investor sentiment) based on your perception of their validity. The determined growth rates (of income and cash) and risk levels (to determine the discount rate) are used in various valuation models. The foremost is the discounted cash flow model, which calculates the present value of the future

Dividends received by the investor, along with the eventual sale price. (Gordon model) earnings of the company, or cash flows of the company.

The amount of debt is also a major consideration in determining a company's health. It can be quickly assessed using the debt to equity ratio and the current ratio (current assets/current liabilities). The simple model commonly used is the Price/Earnings ratio. Implicit in this model of a perpetual annuity (Time value of money) is that the 'flip' of the P/E is the discount rate appropriate to the risk of the business. The multiple accepted is adjusted for expected growth (that is not built into the model). Growth estimates are incorporated into the PEG ratio, but the math does not hold up to analysis. Its validity depends on the length of time you think the growth will continue. IGAR models can be used to impute expected changes in growth from current P/E and historical growth rates for the stocks relative to a comparison index. Computer modelling of stock prices has now replaced much of the subjective interpretation of fundamental data (along with technical data) in the industry. Since about year 2000, with the power of computers to crunch vast quantities of data, a new career has been invented. At some funds (called Quant Funds) the manager's decisions have been replaced by proprietary mathematical model.

Technical Analysis
The methods used to analyze securities and make investment decisions fall into two very broad categories: fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis involves analyzing the characteristics of a company in order to estimate its value. Technical analysis takes a completely different approach; it doesn't care one bit about the "value" of a company or a commodity. Technicians (sometimes called chartists) are only interested in the price movements in the market. What Is Technical Analysis? Technical analysis is a method of evaluating securities by analyzing the statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices and volume. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure a security's intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns that can suggest future activity.

Just as there are many investment styles on the fundamental side, there are also many different types of technical traders. Some rely on chart patterns, others use technical indicators and oscillators, and most use some combination of the two. In any case, technical analysts' exclusive use of historical price and volume data is what separates them from their fundamental counterparts. Unlike fundamental analysts, technical analysts don't care whether a stock is undervalued - the only thing that matters is a security's past trading data and what information this data can provide about where the security might move in the future. The field of technical analysis is based on three assumptions: 1. 2. 3. The market discounts everything. Price moves in trends. History tends to repeat itself.

1. The Market Discounts Everything A major criticism of technical analysis is that it only considers price movement, ignoring the fundamental factors of the company. However, technical analysis assumes that, at any given time, a stock's price reflects everything that has or could affect the company including fundamental factors. Technical analysts believe that the company's fundamentals, along with broader economic factors and market psychology, are all priced into the stock, removing the need to actually consider these factors separately. This only leaves the analysis of price movement, which technical theory views as a product of the supply and demand for a particular stock in the market. 2. Price Moves in Trends In technical analysis, price movements are believed to follow trends. This means that

after a trend has been established, the future price movement is more likely to be in the same direction as the trend than to be against it. Most technical trading strategies are based on this assumption. 3. History Tends To Repeat Itself Another important idea in technical analysis is that history tends to repeat itself, mainly in terms of price movement. The repetitive nature of price movements is attributed to market psychology; in other words, market participants tend to provide a consistent reaction to similar market stimuli over time. Technical analysis uses chart patterns to analyze market movements and understand trends. Although many of these charts have been used for more than 100 years, they are still believed to be relevant because they illustrate patterns in price movements that often repeat themselves.

Technical Analysis: The Use Of Trend


One of the most important concepts in technical analysis is that of trend. The meaning in finance isn't all that different from the general definition of the term - a trend is really nothing more than the general direction in which a security or market is headed. Take a look at the chart below:

It isn't hard to see that the trend in Figure 1 is up. However, it's not always this easy to see a trend:

There are lots of ups and downs in this chart, but there isn't a clear indication of which direction this security is headed. A More Formal Definition Unfortunately, trends are not always easy to see. In other words, defining a trend goes well beyond the obvious. In any given chart, you will probably notice that prices do not tend to move in a straight line in any direction, but rather in a series of highs and lows. In technical analysis, it is the movement of the highs and lows that constitutes a trend. For example, an uptrend is classified as a series of higher highs and higher lows, while a downtrend is one of lower lows and lower highs.

Figure 3 is an example of an uptrend. Point 2 in the chart is the first high, which is determined after the price falls from this point. Point 3 is the low that is established as the price falls from the high. For this to remain an uptrend, each successive low must not fall below the previous lowest point or the trend is deemed a reversal.

Types of Trend There are three types of trend:


Uptrends Downtrends Sideways/Horizontal Trends As the names imply, when each successive peak and trough is higher, it's referred to as an upward trend. If the peaks and troughs are getting lower, it's a downtrend. When there is little movement up or down in the peaks and troughs, it's a sideways or horizontal trend. If you want to get really technical, you might even say that a sideways trend is actually not a trend on its own, but a lack of a well-defined trend in either direction. In any case, the market can really only trend in these three ways: up, down or nowhere. (For more insight, see Peak-And-Trough Analysis.) Trend Lengths Along with these three trend directions, there are three trend classifications. A trend of any direction can be classified as a long-term trend, intermediate trend or a short-term trend. In terms of the stock market, a major trend is generally categorized as one lasting longer than a year. An intermediate trend is considered to last between one and three months and a near-term trend is anything less than a month. A long-term trend is composed of several intermediate trends, which often move against the direction of the major trend. If the major trend is upward and there is a downward correction in price movement followed by a continuation of the uptrend, the correction is considered to be an intermediate trend. The shortterm trends are components of both major and intermediate trends. Take a look a Figure 4 to get a sense of how these three trend lengths might look.

When analyzing trends, it is important that the chart is constructed to best reflect the type of trend being analyzed. To help identify long-term trends, weekly charts or daily charts spanning a five-year period are used by chartists to get a better idea

of the long-term trend. Daily data charts are best used when analyzing both intermediate and short-term trends. It is also important to remember that the longer the trend, the more important it is; for example, a one-month trend is not as significant as a five-year trend. (To read more, see Short-, Intermediate- And Long-Term Trends.) Trendlines A Trendline is a simple charting technique that adds a line to a chart to represent the trend in the market or a stock. Drawing a trendline is as simple as drawing a straight line that follows a general trend. These lines are used to clearly show the trend and are also used in the identification of trend reversals.

As you can see in Figure 5, an upward trendline is drawn at the lows of an upward trend. This line represents the support the stock has every time it moves from a high to a low. Notice how the price is propped up by this support. This type of trendline helps traders to anticipate the point at which a stock's price will begin moving upwards again. Similarly, a downward trendline is drawn at the highs of the downward trend. This line represents the resistance level that a stock faces every time the price moves from a low to a high. (To read more, see Support & Resistance Basics and Support And Resistance Zones - Part 1 and Part 2.)

Channels A channel, or channel lines, is the addition of two parallel trendlines that act as strong areas of support and resistance. The upper trendline connects a series of highs, while the lower trendline connects a series of lows. A channel can slope upward, downward or sideways but, regardless of the direction, the interpretation remains the same. Traders will expect a given security to trade between the two levels of support and resistance until it breaks beyond one of the levels, in which

case traders can expect a sharp move in the direction of the break. Along with clearly displaying the trend, channels are mainly used to illustrate important areas of support and resistance.

Figure 6 illustrates a descending channel on a stock chart; the upper trendline has been placed on the highs and the lower trendline is on the lows. The price has bounced off of these lines several times, and has remained range-bound for several months. As long as the price does not fall below the lower line or move beyond the upper resistance, the range-bound downtrend is expected to continue. The Importance of Trend It is important to be able to understand and identify trends so that you can trade with rather than against them. Two important sayings in technical analysis are "the trend is your friend" and "don't buck the trend," illustrating how important trend analysis is for technical traders

Technical Analysis: Conclusion


Technical analysis is a method of evaluating securities by analyzing the statistics generated by market activity. It is based on three assumptions: 1) the market discounts everything, 2) price moves in trends and 3) history tends to repeat itself. Technicians believe that all the information they need about a stock can be found in its charts. Technical traders take a short-term approach to analyzing the market. Criticism of technical analysis stems from the efficient market hypothesis, which states that the market price is always the correct one, making any historical analysis useless.

One of the most important concepts in technical analysis is that of a trend , which is the general direction that a security is headed. There are three types of trends: uptrends, downtrends and sideways/horizontal trends. A trendline is a simple charting technique that adds a line to a chart to represent the trend in the market or a stock. A channel, or channel lines, is the addition of two parallel trendlines that act as strong areas of support and resistance. Support is the price level through which a stock or market seldom falls. Resistance is the price level that a stock or market seldom surpasses. Volume is the number of shares or contracts that trade over a given period of time, usually a day. The higher the volume, the more active the security. A chart is a graphical representation of a series of prices over a set time frame. The time scale refers to the range of dates at the bottom of the chart, which can vary from decades to seconds. The most frequently used time scales are intraday, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. The price scale is on the right-hand side of the chart. It shows a stock's current price and compares it to past data points. It can be either linear or logarithmic. There are four main types of charts used by investors and traders: line charts, bar charts, candlestick charts and point and figure charts. A chart pattern is a distinct formation on a stock chart that creates a trading signal, or a sign of future price movements. There are two types: reversal and continuation. A head and shoulders pattern is reversal pattern that signals a security is likely to move against its previous trend. A cup and handle pattern is a bullish continuation pattern in which the upward trend has paused but will continue in an upward direction once the pattern is confirmed. Double tops and double bottoms are formed after a sustained trend and signal to chartists that the trend is about to reverse. The pattern is created when a price movement tests support or resistance levels twice and is unable to break through. A triangle is a technical analysis pattern created by drawing trendlines along a price range that gets narrower over time because of lower tops and higher bottoms. Variations of a triangle include ascending and descending triangles. Flags and pennants are short-term continuation patterns that are formed when there is a sharp price movement followed by a sideways price movement. The wedge chart pattern can be either a continuation or reversal pattern. It is similar to a symmetrical triangle except that the wedge pattern slants in an upward or downward direction. A gap in a chart is an empty space between a trading period and the following trading period. This occurs when there is a large difference in prices between two sequential trading periods. Triple tops and triple bottoms are reversal patterns that are formed when the price movement tests a level of support or resistance three times and is unable to break through, signaling a trend reversal.