There is always a dilemma for investors when it comes to investing in equities, that is whether to use fundamental analysis or technical analysis. Private and institutional investors use fundamental analysis as their basis for stock purchases, while short-term traders use technical analysis. Since the risk-reward ratio and time horizons used in investing and trading are very different, it makes sense that these two different methods are employed. Investing and trading are very different animals, and their differences are characterized by the investing processes that fundamental and technical analysis illustrate.
Fundamental analysis relies on economic supply and demand information for the long term and company’s financial health in the short term. An investor is informed of these conditions by a stocks annual growth rate, five-year, one-year, and quarterly earnings records, and P/E (price-to-earnings) ratios. Investors reliant on fundamentals are more interested ina stock’s performance year to year than they are in market behavior. They do not fret when the market plunges one day and surges another, because their goal is the end result of steady, conservative growth.
Although fundamental analysis provides highly valuable information, many people do not have the time required to research the fundamentals. Taking an hour or more to research one company’s new product potential and compare present and past earnings is too much for some, but certain fundamental concepts are simply invaluable. One such statistic is the EPS, or earnings-per-share ranking. Earnings-per-share are calculated by dividing a company’s total after-tax profits by the company’s number of common shares outstanding. You’ll want to compare the EPS of the company in question to other comparable companies in the sector to see how your investment stacks up within the industry.
Technical Analysis is the alternate method of stock research, focused on the study of timing, price fluctuation, and investor sentiment. The most common method of technical analysis is conducted with a chart that shows a stock’s price history. We know that the prices represented in the chart do not occur randomly, and it is the collective mindset of all investors that creates prices. These buyers and sellers create patterns because they operate from memory. Different types of charts can be configured to show a wide variety of indicators and everyone has their personal favorites. By analyzing charts and price history a trader can attempt to predict market sentiment and stock price movement, but this is far from an objective science.
Technical analysis and fundamental analysis are the two basic sectors of reasoning that constitute the way investors and traders go about choosing stocks, and you must follow your own financial strengths in determining whether trading or investing, and technical or fundamental analysis are right for you.