October 11, 2018

Stock price cannot be disputed... a balance sheet can be disputed

...It's my belief that the picture of a stock's current price action and price history cannot be disputed – it is a 100 per cent certainty. A company's balance sheet, earnings and disclosures, however, can be disputed. 

Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, MF Global and Enron are some better known and recent examples where many  fundamental analysts got it plain wrong and, unfortunately, investors paid the price for the poor analysis. Other examples are just as bad and I collected a huge number of examples in the early 2008 deluge of earnings downgrades. We can see the same trend of poor disclosure throughout the world.

While an in-depth look at all of these examples is beyond the scope of this book, suffice to say I believe the reliance of many analysts on company disclosures is questionable.

People may be forewarned of situations such as the collapses of Bear Sterns and Enron by the deteriorating price action. Knowing when one is wrong using fundamentals, though, is a very grey area. Depending on the style of analysis employed, the lower a share price goes below its valuation may mean the better value the stock becomes. On the other hand, it may mean the valuation was incorrect to begin with. It's a hard ask for any analyst to amend his or her analysis and valuation in the face of a plunging share price – they are usually only forced do so after the fact and after the monetary damage is done.

From Successful Stock Trading by Nick Radge

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