By Ben McClure
Table Of Contents
1) Fundamental Analysis: Introduction 2) Fundamental Analysis: What is Fundamental Analysis? 3) Fundamental Analysis: Qualitative Factors - The Company 4) Fundamental Analysis: Qualitative Factors - The Industry 5) Fundamental Analysis: Introduction to Financial Statements 6) Fundamental Analysis: Other Important Sections Found in Financial Filings 7) Fundamental Analysis: The Income Statement 8) Fundamental Analysis: The Balance Sheet 9) Fundamental Analysis: The Cash Flow Statement 10) Fundamental Analysis: A Brief Introduction To Valuation 11) Fundamental Analysis: Conclusion
So, you want be a stock analyst? Perhaps not, but since you're reading this we'll assume that you at least want to understand stocks. Whether it's your burning desire to be a hotshot analyst on Wall Street or you just like to be hands-on with your own portfolio, you've come to the right spot. Fundamental analysis is the cornerstone of investing. In fact, some would say that you aren't really investing if you aren't performing fundamental analysis. Because the subject is so broad, however, it's tough to know where to start. There are an endless number of investment strategies that are very different from each other, yet almost all use the fundamentals. The goal of this tutorial is to provide a foundation for understanding fundamental analysis. It's geared primarily at new investors who don't know a balance sheet from an income statement. While you may not be a "stock-picker extraordinaire" by the end of this tutorial, you will have a much more solid grasp of the language and concepts behind security analysis and be able to use this to further your knowledge in other areas without feeling totally lost. The biggest part of fundamental analysis involves delving into the financial statements. Also known as quantitative analysis, this involves looking at revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities and all the other financial aspects of a company. Fundamental analysts look at this information to gain insight on a company's future performance. A good part of this tutorial will be spent learning about the
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balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement and how they all fit together. But there is more than just number crunching when it comes to analyzing a company. This is where qualitative analysis comes in - the breakdown of all the intangible, difficult-to-measure aspects of a company. Finally, we'll wrap up the tutorial with an intro on valuation and point you in the direction of additional tutorials you might be interested in. (Also, although it's not required, you might find it helpful to read our Investing 101 tutorial, as well as our tutorial on Stock Basics, before starting.) Ready? Let's dive into things with our first section, What Is It?
What is Fundamental Analysis?
In this section we are going to review the basics of fundamental analysis, examine how it can be broken down into quantitative and qualitative factors, introduce the subject of intrinsic value and conclude with some of the downfalls of using this technique. The Very Basics When talking about stocks, fundamental analysis is a technique that attempts to determine a security’s value by focusing on underlying factors that affect a company's actual business and its future prospects. On a broader scope, you can perform fundamental analysis on industries or the economy as a whole. The term simply refers to the analysis of the economic well-being of a financial entity as opposed to only its price movements. Fundamental analysis serves to answer questions, such as: Is the company’s revenue growing? Is it actually making a profit? Is it in a strong-enough position to beat out its competitors in the future? Is it able to repay its debts? Is...