Fundamental analysis, in accounting and finance, is the analysis of a business’s financial statements (usually to analyze the business’s assets, liabilities, and earnings); health; and competitors and markets. It also considers the overall state of the economy and factors including interest rates, production, earnings, employment, GDP, housing, manufacturing and management. There are two basic approaches that can be used: bottom up analysis and top down analysis. These terms are used to distinguish such analysis from other types of investment analysis, such as quantitative and technical.
technical analysis is an analysis methodology for forecasting the direction of prices through the study of past market data, primarily price and volume. Behavioral economics and quantitative analysis use many of the same tools of technical analysis, which, being an aspect of active management, stands in contradiction to much of modern portfolio theory. The efficacy of both technical and fundamental analysis is disputed by the efficient-market hypothesis, which states that stock market prices are essentially unpredictable.
If you take a look at the FOREX quotes on your trading platform you will see that there are two prices for each currency pair. One is the price at which you can buy, referred to as the “ask price”, and the other is the price at which you can sell, referred to as the “bid price”. The difference between these two prices is known as the spread. The ask price is always higher than the bid price.
If your FOREX broker offers you a leverage of 1:100 you can trade with a 100 times more money than you have in your deposit. This means that if you want to buy 100 000 EUR/USD you only need to have a 1 000 actual euros. With this kind of leverage you can take a position that is a 100 times larger in value and expect a 100 times bigger profits or losses, therefore great care is advisable when placing your trade. Equities, on the other hand, are traded without leverage.
In the above example, we bet that the EUR will go up against the USD, so we bought EUR/USD hoping to sell it later at a higher price. This is called long position. What should you do if you expect the EUR to go down against the USD? Well, then you do the opposite – you sell the EUR/USD with the hope to buy it cheaper later on. This short trading is how you take advantage of exchange rates that are going down.
The Foreign Exchange market, also called FOREX or FX, is the global market for currency trading. With a daily volume of more than $5.3 trillion, it is the biggest and most exciting financial market in the world. Whether you sell EUR 100 to buy US dollars at the airport or a bank exchanges 100 million US dollars for Japanese yen with another bank, both are FOREX deals. The players on the FOREX market range from huge financial organizations, managing billions, to individuals trading a few hundred dollars.
On the FOREX market one currency is exchanged for another. The single most important thing with respect to FOREX market is the exchange rate between two currencies (a currency pair). If the economies of the Eurozone are doing better than the US economy, the euro will go up compared to the dollar (EUR/USD ↑) and vice-versa.
Here is an example of a FOREX trade. You decide to buy 1 000 euros against US dollars. Let’s say that currently, at the very moment the trade is executed, the EUR/USD exchange BUY rate is 1.100, so you pay $1 100 for your 1 000 euros.
Some time later, the EUR/USD exchange SELL rate (the rate at which you can sell euros for US dollars) is 1.200. You sell your €1 000 and get $1 200. Having started with $1100, you now have $1200 – you’ve made a profit of $100. Alternatively, the EUR/USD exchange SELL rate could be 1.050. If you sell your €1 000, you’ll get $1 050. Having started with $1 100, you now have $1 050 – you’ve made a loss of $50.
That’s how money is made or lost on the FOREX market.
The foreign exchange market is where currencies are traded. Currencies are important to most people around the world, whether they realize it or not, because currencies need to be exchanged in order to conduct foreign trade and business. If you are living in the U.S. and want to buy cheese from France, either you or the company that you buy the cheese from has to pay the French for the cheese in euros (EUR). This means that the U.S. importer would have to exchange the equivalent value of U.S. dollars (USD) into euros. The same goes for traveling. A French tourist in Egypt can’t pay in euros to see the pyramids because it’s not the locally accepted currency. As such, the tourist has to exchange the euros for the local currency, in this case the Egyptian pound, at the current exchange rate.
One unique aspect of this international market is that there is no central marketplace for foreign exchange. Rather, currency trading is conducted electronically over the counter (OTC), which means that all transactions occur via computer networks between traders around the world, rather than on one centralized exchange. The market is open 24 hours a day, five and a half days a week, and currencies are traded worldwide in the major financial centers of London, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Sydney—across almost every time zone. This means that when the trading day in the U.S. ends, the forex market begins anew in Tokyo and Hong Kong. As such, the forex market can be extremely active any time of the day, with price quotes changing constantly.
There are two distinct features to currencies as an asset class:
An investor can profit from the difference between two interest rates in two different economies by buying the currency with the higher interest rate and shorting the currency with the lower interest rate. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, it was very common to short the Japanese yen (JPY) and buy British pounds (GBP) because the interest rate differential was very large. This strategy is sometimes referred to as a “carry trade.”