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Pricing firms on the basis of fundamentals


  • Mark Kamstra


Determining the right or fair price of a stock is one of the oldest problems in finance. Business mergers and acquisitions rely on this information, but only in the last several decades have formal models been developed to address the question. This article focuses on fundamental valuation, a technique that determines the right price by forecasting cash flows from a stock market investment and calculating what that income is worth. ; The author first provides an overview of the literature and an illustration of commonly used fundamental valuation techniques based on relative valuation and the Gordon growth model and then discusses a valuation approach he developed in 2001. His work incorporates the proceeds from share liquidation into the cash flows that are used to value the firm, accounting for the reduction in future growth of cash flows from this liquidation of shares. The author demonstrates these methods by applying them to pricing BellSouth shares, the S&P 500 index, and some new-economy stocks. The discussion also looks at prices and estimated fundamental values during severe market turndowns. ; Pricing BellSouth using sales and sales growth is consistent with its dramatic rise and recent decline in price, the author finds; this method is also appropriate for a small group of high-growth stocks. Fundamental models, however, have more trouble explaining the price movements of the overall market. The author concludes that algorithmic valuation techniques provide, at best, a rough starting point for firm valuation.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Kamstra, 2003. "Pricing firms on the basis of fundamentals," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q1, pages 49-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:2003:i:q1:p:49-70:n:v.88no.1

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Brooks, Robert & Helms, Billy, 1990. "An N-Stage, Fractional Period, Quarterly Dividend Discount Model," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 25(4), pages 651-657, November.
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    1. Mark J. Kamstra & Robert J. Shiller, 2009. "The Case for Trills: Giving the People and Their Pension Funds a Stake in the Wealth of the Nation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1717, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

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