Sensitivity Analysis

Definition of 'Sensitivity Analysis'


A technique used to determine how different values of an independent variable will impact a particular dependent variable under a given set of assumptions. This technique is used within specific boundaries that will depend on one or more input variables, such as the effect that changes in interest rates will have on a bond's price.

Sensitivity analysis is a way to predict the outcome of a decision if a situation turns out to be different compared to the key prediction(s).

Investopedia explains 'Sensitivity Analysis'


Sensitivity analysis is very useful when attempting to determine the impact the actual outcome of a particular variable will have if it differs from what was previously assumed. By creating a given set of scenarios, the analyst can determine how changes in one variable(s) will impact the target variable.

For example, an analyst might create a financial model that will value a company's equity (the dependent variable) given the amount of earnings per share (an independent variable) the company reports at the end of the year and the company's price-to-earnings multiple (another independent variable) at that time. The analyst can create a table of predicted price-to-earnings multiples and a corresponding value of the company's equity based on different values for each of the independent variables.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Effective Annual Interest Rate

    An investment's annual rate of interest when compounding occurs more often than once a year. Calculated as the following:
  2. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option is purchased and the lower premium option is sold - both at the same time. The higher the debit spread, the greater the initial cash outflow the investor will incur on the transaction.
  3. Odious Debt

    Money borrowed by one country from another country and then misappropriated by national rulers. A nation's debt becomes odious debt when government leaders use borrowed funds in ways that don't benefit or even oppress citizens. Some legal scholars argue that successor governments should not be held accountable for odious debt incurred by earlier regimes, but there is no consensus on how odious debt should actually be treated.
  4. Takeover

    A corporate action where an acquiring company makes a bid for an acquiree. If the target company is publicly traded, the acquiring company will make an offer for the outstanding shares.
  5. Harvest Strategy

    A strategy in which investment in a particular line of business is reduced or eliminated because the revenue brought in by additional investment would not warrant the expense. A harvest strategy is employed when a line of business is considered to be a cash cow, meaning that the brand is mature and is unlikely to grow if more investment is added.
  6. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will be executed at a specified price (or better) after a given stop price has been reached. Once the stop price is reached, the stop-limit order becomes a limit order to buy (or sell) at the limit price or better.
Trading Center