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Fundamentals Tutorial

August 26, 2007

Everyone would probably agree that the “fundamentals” – or at least traders’ perception of them – are ultimately the driving force underlying market prices. Much of today’s market analysis is based on prices, but it is the fundamentals that produce the prices. The challenge for traders is how to best learn about and study fundamentals in markets. Unfortunately, despite their significance, there is no quick and easy way to study market fundamentals, and you can’t find resources that focus only on fundamentals that impact all markets.

The most obvious fundamental factors are supply and demand for a particular market, especially the physical commodities. But lots of macro fundamental factors effect supply/demand and impact commodity and financial futures prices: weather, world politics, consumer tastes and consumer attitudes, disruptions in distribution channels, inflation, interest rates, currency values, natural disasters and much more.

The number of fundamentals is enormous, adding to the difficulty of trying to interpret what they mean even when you do have the most recent reliable data. Every market is affected by fundamentals in related markets, putting an emphasis on intermarket analysis, but every market also has its own set of fundamentals.

For most traders, perhaps the most useful advice on fundamentals is to know when the key known events – reports, news releases, elections, etc. – are going to occur. You can’t predict the surprises – tsunamis, assassinations, etc. – but for those events that are scheduled on a calendar, you should be aware of the time when they could cause a price ripple, even though you rely on technical analysis for your trading decisions. It would be a bonus to know something about the history behind the event and have an idea about what traders are anticipating on an upcoming announcement.

This tutorial provides an overview of fundamentals, but a trader involved in a specific market should find other sources to study the fundamentals for that market in more detail.

Fundamentals Tutorial


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