Fundamental Analysis: Introduction
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 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.)