Sunday, September 16, 2007

How To Conduct Successful Fundamental Analysis

When an investor is scouting for potential bargain's in the markets, fundamental analysis will always take a top-down approach. Fundamental analysis will generally look at a number of different area's and these will be the national economy, at industry level, and at company level. Generally the term simply refers to the analysis of the economic well-being of a specific entity as opposed to only price movements.

By no means take this article as a be all and end all explanation of the process as it is a very broad discipline, but use it as a guideline on how to conduct the basics. Below I will briefly set out the basis for fundamental analysis for the three area's mentioned above earlier.

National Economy
Fundamental analysis in this instance is likely to focus on economic data principally produced by governments to assess the present and future growth of the economy. There are a wide variety of factors relating to fundamental's within the economy. Obvious economic indicators would include inflation, exchange rates, interest rates, debt and saving levels and consumer confidence. If you are already an investor you will know that publication's from the Fed or the Treasury with reference to any of these can have a profound affect on the stock market as a whole.

At the Industry Level
Fundamentals within this area are likely to focus on an examination of supply and demand forces for the products or services offered. Although this may seem vague in essence what the investor will be doing is trying to ascertain if it is viable to enter (invest his money) within a certain sector or industry. For example here in Britain the coal mining as well as ship building industries are both in major decline but there are still companies out there. Now if an investor was not made aware of this or did not conduct the appropriate research with reference to these sector's then they would have a higher risk of losing money.

At the Company Level
When a potential investor is conducting fundamental analysis this is the area that they will want to dedicate most of their time too. That is the individual company (the stock) they are looking to invest in. What an investor will be trying to do is determine if a stocks price is over or undervalued by focusing on underlying factors that affect a companies actual business and its future prospects. There are a variety of factors that a potential investor will be investigating. Examples of these will include business concept, management, competition and financial data. The majority of this information is readily available in the public domain through a variety of sources helping the investor to make a more informed decision.

So in this article we have gone over briefly the top down approach that an investor savvy in the process of fundamental analysis would use to pick a stock that the data would lead him too.

Oliver Gillies is a Trainee Sales Trader who has been working for a firm of stockbrokers in the City Of London for the last year. He also trades his own successful portfolio (11.5% in the last two months June-August). You can learn more by visiting his blog successful investors