Does Warren Buffett Use Technical Analysis?

Considered the guru of investment strategies, Warren Buffett has decades of experience teaching and writing about the best ways to invest your money. As someone interested in investment techniques, you may be wondering if Warren Buttett personally uses technical analysis as an investment strategy.

Warren Buffett does not use technical analysis. He used to use technical analysis many years ago, but after much research, he switched to fundamental analysis. In fundamental analysis, he focuses on a company’s financial trends, such as debts and profits.  

The rest of this article will explain a few topics related to this question in great detail, including technical analysis, why Buffett no longer uses it, and the type of analysis he currently uses. Read on to learn more about Buffett’s history with technical analysis!

What Is Technical Analysis?

Technical analysis is a way to evaluate potential investments and trading opportunities based on statistical trends. Specifically, technical analysis is data analysis focusing on price changes and patterns in an asset seen over time.

Technical analysis uses past trends in investment to look for future trading opportunities. The logic behind technical analysis is that if an investment had a positive return on investment in the past, it would likely follow a similar trend in the future.

In other words, technical analysis involves looking at the price movements of an investment opportunity. By analyzing past price movements, investors can decide if they think a future investment is wise. Technical analysis is a common way to study stocks and other assets. 

Why Doesn’t Warren Buffett Use Technical Analysis?

Warren Buffett used to rely on technical analysis for his analysis of stocks and investments. However, he now argues that technical analysis does not work and is not as reliable as other methods of analysis.

Buffett is well known for being an investor who has stepped away from technical analysis. Since technical analysis focuses on past trends, Buffett argues that analyzing the past is no way to get a fair reading of what kind of money and prices it will produce in the future. 

Buffett claims he stopped using technical analysis when he “realized that technical analysis didn’t work when I turned the chart upside down and didn’t get a different answer.” In other words, he feels that charts used in technical analysis are useless. They show you past trends but do not give you information on how investments will perform in the future. 

What Kind of Analysis Does Warren Buffett Use? 

Warren Buffett considers himself to align most closely with fundamental analysis practice. He also uses a specific analysis that follows the Benjamin Graham school of value investing. 

Fundamental analysis is a more holistic way to look at investment opportunities. In this kind of analysis, Buffett looks at the companies and evaluates their overall potential. Specifically, he is looking at how successful the company is at making money. 

By analyzing the company’s money-making potential and quality, Buffett eliminates the risk of waiting for market trends to shift in a company’s favor. Suppose the market does not favor a company. In that case, a successful company will make money regardless of the market’s favor or lack thereof. 

Analysis Points in Fundamental Approach

There are several points that Buffett, and other investors who choose to use a fundamental analysis approach, look for. They include company performance, debt, profit margins, public companies, competitive advantage, and undervalued companies. 

Company Performance

Buffett’s first analysis point when looking at a company is the company’s performance. This most commonly includes a company’s Return on Investment (ROI). ROI refers to the rate at which shareholders get money back on their initial investment. 

It is essential to look at a company’s ROI over the past year and their ROI over at least the past ten years. That’s because you want to see how the company has responded to various changes in the market and if they have continued to have good ROI during difficult financial times. 

Company Debt

Another point of analysis that Buffett examines is the company debt. Company debt is just as you would suspect, how much debt the company has or how much money it owes. A smaller debt is preferable because this directly correlates to the ROI or how much money the shareholders will make. 

Suppose a company is relying primarily on shareholder investments to build its company. Then, profits will go directly back to those shareholders at a quicker rate. Conversely, suppose a company has an enormous debt to other companies. In that case, it will first have to spend profits paying back those companies rather than the shareholders. 

Profit Margins

A company’s profit margin refers to the amount of net profit they make based on net sales. In other words, it is the percentage of sales that have become profits. A company’s profit margin essentially tells you how much money the company gets to keep after it pays all of its costs.

It considers what percentage of each dollar a company sells is turned into profit. A high-profit margin is essential, but an increasing profit margin is even more critical. When you analyze a company’s profit margin over the past five to ten years and see not just a high-profit margin but an increasing one, that is a good sign. An increasing profit margin signals strong management of a company. 

Public Companies

Buffett considers companies that have been around long enough to offer public shares by looking at public companies. This means that the companies can have public and private shareholders. Typically, newer companies are not yet public. Buffett believes in investing in older companies, so he is more likely to look into public companies. 

Competitive Advantage

Buffett also considers the competitive advantage of a company. Competitive advantage refers to if a company is offering a service or product that is unique. If a company offers something that no other company is offering, this is a sign of a potentially good investment. 

Undervalued Companies

The last consideration that Buffett tends to look for is the value of a company. Specifically, he looks for companies that are undervalued or cheap. Often, people miss the actual value of a company. When investments can be made cheaply, there is a better chance of a higher return for shareholders. 

Conclusion

Warren Buffett does not rely on technical analysis to research investment opportunities. While he may have relied on it in the past, he now uses a fundamental analysis approach. He analyzes the performance, debt, profit margins, publicity, competitive advantage, and value of a company to determine if it is a worthwhile investment. 

Sources

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