A very successful investor was once asked “how do you make money in the stock market?” Buying on fundamentals. “Simple”, he said. “Buy low and sell high”.
Great advice, if only it were that simple. We all know that in order to make a profit you need to sell your stock at a higher price than you paid for it. But to do that, you have to pick the right stock and get the timing right.
This is where things get a little more difficult. How do you go about picking the right stock? And how do you know when is the right time to buy and when you should sell and close out your position?
One strategy that many successful investors follow is looking for stocks that are particularly undervalued or cheap, relative to the rest of the market. There could be a number of reasons why a company’s shares are cheap. The key thing is to find cheap stocks that are undervalued relative to what they should be be priced at.
If you can find a company with a strong balance sheet, with a good cash position, healthy revenues and decent profits, but with a share price that seems low, then you’ve probably found just such an undervalued stock, in which case it is probably worth investing in.
Ask yourself the question why is the stock priced low. If it’s for some inconsequential reason like a recent management change, a particularly strong competitor, the company not having the latest “hot product” or the sector itself being unfashionable for example, then you could be on to a winner. Whereas if the problems go deeper, such as heavy falls in revenues, profits turning to losses, significant debts, etc, then you are best to steer clear.
If you stick with the fundamentals and buy shares in healthy companies that just happen to be a little under priced right now, you will find that over time things will balance themselves out, the company’s price will get back in line with the market and your portfolio will benefit as a result.
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