The Very Basic of Fundamental Analysis

³ Fundamental Analysis

³ The Very Basics

³ Fundamentals: Quantitative and Qualitative

³ Quantitative Meets Qualitative

³ The Concept of Intrinsic Value

³ Criticisms of Fundamental Analysis

³ Business Model

³ Competitive Advantage

³ Management

³ Conference Calls & Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A)

³ Ownership and Insider Sales & Past Performance

³ Corporate Governance

³ Financial and Information Transparency & Stakeholder Rights & Structure of the Board of Directors

³ Customers & Market Share

³ Industry Growth & Competition

³ Regulation


Criticisms of Fundamental Analysis

The biggest criticisms of fundamental analysis come primarily from two groups: proponents of technical analysis and believers of the “efficient market hypothesis”.

Put simply, technical analysts base their investments (or, more precisely, their trades) solely on the price and volume movements of securities. Using charts and a number of other tools, they trade on momentum, not caring about the fundamentals. While it is possible to use both techniques in combination, one of the basic tenets of technical analysis is that the market discounts everything. Accordingly, all news about a company already is priced into a stock, and therefore a stock’s price movements give more insight than the underlying fundamental factors of the business itself.

Followers of the efficient market hypothesis, however, are usually in disagreement with both fundamental and technical analysts. The efficient market hypothesis contends that it is essentially impossible to produce market-beating returns in the long run, through either fundamental or technical analysis. The rationale for this argument is that, since the market efficiently prices all stocks on an ongoing basis, any opportunities for excess returns derived from fundamental (or technical) analysis would be almost immediately whittled away by the market’s many participants, making it impossible for anyone to meaningfully outperform the market over the long term.

Fundamental analysis seeks to determine the intrinsic value of a company's stock. But since qualitative factors, by definition, represent aspects of a company's business that are difficult or impossible to quantify, incorporating that kind of information into a pricing evaluation can be quite difficult. On the flip side, as we've demonstrated, you can't ignore the less tangible characteristics of a company.


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