# Top-Rated Stock Valuation Methods

The process of stock valuation is something that many investors go through on a daily basis. Learning how to value stocks properly could potentially make you a lot of money over the years. Here are the basics of stock valuation and a few methods that you could utilize.

Stock Valuation

In order to understand the basic methods of stock valuation, you first need to understand what stock valuation is overall. The process of stock valuation is a way to determine when to buy and sell stocks. You can use mathematical formulas and financial information to calculate whether a stock is overvalued or undervalued. If you determine that a stock is overvalued, then you would want to sell it. If you decide that a stock is undervalued, then you would want to buy. While this might be a simplified explanation of the entire process, it helps you understand the point of stock valuation.

Discounted Cash Flow

One of the best methods for valuing stocks is called the DCF, or discounted cash flow, method. With this method, you are going to take into consideration the potential profits that could be provided to the stockholders in the near future. You look at the earnings, the dividends, and cash flow and then discount them to provide a value to the stock. You use a discount rate that is determined by the investor and has their own risk premium included in the rate.

Average Growth Approximation

Another option that you have to value stocks is the average growth approximation method. This is also referred to as the P/E method, and it is the most common way to evaluate a stock in the market today. With this method, you use a target price and divide that by the earnings. Then you use estimated potential future earnings for the company based on historical data and their expected future growth. You take the estimated earnings and multiply it by the target P/E ratio that you have determined. This value will give you the fair price for the stock. You can then determine whether the current market price for the stock is overvalued or undervalued.

Efficient Markets

Other investors believe in what is called the efficient market hypothesis. This theory says that if you are dealing with a particular security that is readily available to investors, the price that it is offered at in the market is close to the value. Therefore, to value the stock, all you have to do is look at the price it is trading for at this exact moment. These investors believe that the price is all that you need to know. In order to determine whether to buy or sell the stock, they look at stock charts and use technical analysis. They believe that all of the fundamental information and earnings are already figured into the market price. Therefore, they do not need to analyze all of the other numbers.