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How Equity Analysts Can Improve Your Performance in 2023

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Equity Analysts* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)

Determining the potential of a company stock involves more time and perhaps more understanding than the average self-directed investor can provide. Fortunately, there are investment analysts that specialize in equities and spend their days staying current on the industry, individual companies, and the risks associated with the overall market. The investment world is becoming more transparent as the work of these well-educated professionals has become more accessible to DIY investors.

Just what is it that equity analysts do, and how do individual and professional investors benefit from their work?

The Value of Equity Analysts

Equity analysts have a deep understanding of company financials. This begins with formal education, as most true analysts have an accounting background that may include an MBA and, in many cases, the highly esteemed Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

In addition to being able to read and pull data for analysis from financials, they understand the industries they cover. This is important because external trends up or down in input prices or competition will impact the whole sector, including the companies they cover. A macro view of what is impacting the industry is foundational to understanding a company within the industry.

For individual investment opportunities, the analysts’ focus is on the equity portion of the capital structure, but understanding debt levels and factors that could impact debt financing is critical to building an overall financial picture. Comparing the financial structure to company goals and initiatives provides information on how realistic they may or may not be based on internal factors.

Using data from the past and present, an analyst will build a model tailored to the specific company. These models are usually detailed spreadsheets with many interconnections between the various categories. The models generally include industry growth trends, the company’s own numbers (past, current, and projected scenarios), and then what-if scenarios. Financial models are a tool used to estimate the valuation of the company, how it changes under various scenarios, and then compare the business to its peers.

Shocking a forecast for different risks is important to assess the overall risk to the forecast.

The main risks impact different industries differently. For example, a healthcare company may be more or less immune to inflation, a mining operation could benefit from it, and a hospitality-based business could be hurt by it. Analysts assess the potential impacts of known risks and weigh them into their evaluation.

Primary Risks

The primary risks impacting any industry could be thought of as Business Risks, the challenges of a particular company’s circumstances. This could include the ability to hire talent, legal changes that could be impactful, natural resource availability, etc.

Market Risk or systemic risk is the idea that a sinking stock market will weigh on all stocks. While an analyst may choose top performers if the price target assigned was from an evaluation under average market growth of X%, an actual experience of negative Y% is a risk to the forecast.

Sovereign Risk has become a much bigger concern as trading partners like Russia, and China has shown us that politics and business policies can greatly impact U.S. trading partners. This risk tends to be greater among large international companies.

Foreign Exchange Risk. An analyst will review the impact of conversion back to the native currency and profit impacts. They may even project whether customers could be lost if the U.S. dollar becomes too costly.

Inflation Risk, what might the impact be on the company under various possible scenarios? A company with a large inventory may actually go through a beneficial period while prices are rising.

Interest Rate Risk is the real threat of inflation because it typically raises the cost of money. If the company is a large borrower and will be rolling maturing debt at new interest rate levels, the analyst will determine how this impacts operating costs and profit going forward.

Liquidity Risk. If a company’s stock is not well followed and trades sporadically, selling shares to raise capital may be severely hindered and, therefore, negatively impact the company’s ability to finance its business plan. What is interesting to note here is that analyst coverage of a company by itself has been shown to improve a stock’s liquidity. This is because more information about companies, even if not positive, helps investors understand the company, its risks, and its value.

Equity analysts benefit investors (retail and institutional) that are looking for information and an evaluation from a professional to weigh against their own evaluation. But they also benefit issuers as their stock may get less attention if there is minimal quality information available.

Direct Access to Management

Analysts essentially have a hotline to the covered company’s CEO and CFO to ask questions and get details of any change within the company or outside change that may impact results. Most investors don’t have this, so relying on analysts takes on even more importance.

Nuances Known to Analysts

The best reason to check the thoughts and forecasts of a seasoned analyst as part of your own due diligence is that every company has so many moving parts. A good analyst will be aware of what a DIY investor won’t know about the company. For example, the veteran analysts that provide research to Channelchek. On an ongoing basis, they have their finger on the pulse of the companies they cover.

There’s an opportunity you will want to take advantage of on Wednesday, December 15. You will meet online the Wall Street Analysts who are behind the research published on Channelchek. During this no-cost meeting, the veteran analysts have been asked to uncover what they are looking at, especially as it relates to companies they are bullish on.

This could be a great kickoff to organizing your portfolio for 2023 as these analysts cover the less talked about and perhaps the most overlooked stocks – stocks with great potential and “nuance” that you may have missed.

Learn more by clicking here, or the banner above.

Paul Hoffman

Managing Editor, Channelchek 

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