A:

Fundamental analysis is the method of analyzing companies based on factors that affect their intrinsic value. There are two sides to this method: the quantitative and the qualitative. The quantitative side involves looking at factors that can be measured numerically, such as the company's assets, liabilities, cash flow, revenue and price-to-earnings ratio. The limitation of quantitative analysis, however, is that it does not capture the company's aspects or risks unmeasurable by a number - things like the value of an executive or the risks a company faces with legal issues. The analysis of these things is the other side of fundamental analysis: the qualitative side or non-number side.

Although relatively more difficult to analyze, the qualitative factors are an important part of a company. Since they are not measured by a number, they more represent an either negative or positive force affecting the company. But some of these qualitative factors will have more of an effect, and determining the extent of these effects is what is so challenging. To start, identify a set of qualitative factors and then decide which of these factors add value to the company, and which of these factors decrease value. Then determine their relative importance. The qualities you analyze can be categorized as having a positive effect, negative effect or minimal effect.

The best way to incorporate qualitative analysis into your evaluation of a company is to do it once you have done the quantitative analysis. The conclusion you come to on the qualitative side can put your quantitative analysis into better perspective. If when looking at the company numbers you saw good reason to buy the company, but then found many negative qualities, you may want to think twice about buying. Negative qualities might include potential litigations, poor R and D prospects or a board full of insiders. The conclusions of your qualitative analysis either reconfirms or raise questions about the conclusions of your quantitative analysis.

Fundamental analysis is not as simple as looking at numbers and computing ratios; it is also important to look at influences and qualities that do not have a number value.

For further reading, see Guide To Stock Picking Strategies, Putting Management Under The Microscope and Competitive Advantage Counts.

RELATED FAQS
  1. When does a growth stock turn into a value opportunity?

    A growth stock turns into a value opportunity when it trades at a reasonable multiple of the company's earnings per share ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is Fibonacci retracement, and where do the ratios that are used come from?

    Fibonacci retracement is a very popular tool among technical traders and is based on the key numbers identified by mathematician ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the formula for calculating EBITDA?

    When analyzing financial fitness, corporate accountants and investors alike closely examine a company's financial statements ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do I calculate the P/E ratio of a company?

    The price-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is a valuation measure that compares the level of stock prices to the level of corporate ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do you calculate return on equity (ROE)?

    Return on equity (ROE) is a ratio that provides investors insight into how efficiently a company (or more specifically, its ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do you calculate working capital?

    Working capital represents the difference between a firm’s current assets and current liabilities. The challenge can be determining ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Sirius XM's Return on Equity (ROE) (SIRI)

    Learn more about the Sirius XM's overall 2015 performance, return on equity performance and future predictions for the company's ROE in 2016 and beyond.
  2. Stock Analysis

    The Top Rated Dividend Paying Stocks for 2016 (ABBV, BA)

    Discover five of the top-rated stocks that pay investors solid dividends that you may want to consider adding to your investment portfolio in 2016.
  3. Stock Analysis

    Will Virtusa Corporation's Stock Keep Chugging in 2016? (VRTU)

    Read a thorough review and analysis of Virtusa Corporation's stock looking to project how well the stock is likely to perform for investors in 2016.
  4. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Porter's Five Forces on JPMorgan Chase (JPM)

    Examine the major money-center bank holding firm, JPMorgan Chase & Company, from the perspective of Porter's five forces model for industry analysis.
  5. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Dish Network's Return on Equity (ROE) (DISH, TWC)

    Analyze Dish Network's return on equity (ROE), understand why it has vacillated so greatly in recent years and learn what factors are influencing it.
  6. Stock Analysis

    If You Had Invested Right After Berkshire Hathaway's IPO (BRK.A)

    Learn how much you would now have if you had invested right after Berkshire Hathaway's IPO, and find out the classes of shares that you could invest in.
  7. Fundamental Analysis

    5 Must-Have Metrics For Value Investors

    Focusing on certain fundamental metrics is the best way for value investors to cash in gains. Here are the most important metrics to know.
  8. Investing

    What Investors Need to Know About Returns in 2016

    Last year wasn’t a great one for investors seeking solid returns, so here are three things we believe all investors need to know about returns in 2016.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Google's Return on Equity (ROE) (GOOGL)

    Learn about Alphabet's return on equity. How has its ROE changed over time, how does it compare to its peers and what factors are driving ROE for the company?
  10. Stock Analysis

    The Top 5 Micro Cap Alternative Energy Stocks for 2016 (AMSC, SLTD)

    Follow a cautious approach when purchasing micro-cap stocks in the alternative energy sector. Learn about five alternative energy micro-caps worth considering.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Value Investing

    The strategy of selecting stocks that trade for less than their ...
  2. IRR Rule

    A measure for evaluating whether to proceed with a project or ...
  3. Profit and Loss Statement (P&L)

    A financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and ...
  4. Percentage Change

    Percentage change is a simple mathematical concept that represents ...
  5. Qualitative Analysis

    Securities analysis that uses subjective judgment based on nonquantifiable ...
  6. Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

    Discounted cash flow (DCF) is a valuation method used to estimate ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center