What is the expected growth rate for the high-growth phase? Would you expect the financial characteristics of the firm to change once it reaches a steady state? What form do you expect the change to take? Assume now that the industry averages for larger, more stable firms in the industry are as follows:

DCF analysis uses future free cash flow projections and discounts them most often using the weighted average cost of capitalwhich we'll discuss in section 13 of this walkthrough to arrive at a present value, which is then used to evaluate the potential for investment.

If the value arrived at through DCF analysis is higher than the current cost of the investment, the opportunity may be a good one.

The formula for calculating DCF is usually given something like this: Although the calculations are complex, the purpose of DCF analysis is simply to estimate the money you'd receive from an investment and to adjust for the time value of money.

Discounted cash flow models are powerful, but they do have shortcomings. DCF is merely a mechanical valuation tool, which makes it subject to the axiom "garbage in, garbage out.

Instead of trying to project the cash flows to infinity, terminal value techniques are often used. A simple annuity is used to estimate the terminal value past 10 years, for example.

This is done because it is harder to come to a realistic estimate of the cash flows as time goes on. At a time when financial statements are under close scrutiny, the choice of what metric to use for making company valuations has become increasingly important.

Wall Street analysts are emphasizing cash flow-based analysis for making judgments about company performance. DCF analysis is a key valuation tool at analysts' disposal. Analysts use DCF to determine a company's current value according to its estimated future cash flows.

For investors keen on gaining insights on what drives share value, few tools can rival DCF analysis. Accounting scandals and inappropriate calculation of revenues and capital expenses give DCF new importance. It is harder to fool the cash register.

Developing a DCF model demands a lot more work than simply dividing the share price by earnings or sales. But in return for the effort, investors get a good picture of the key drivers of share value: An added bonus is that DCF is less likely to be manipulated by aggressive accounting practices.

DCF analysis shows that changes in long-term growth rates have the greatest impact on share valuation.

Interest rate changes also make a big difference. Investors can also use the DCF model as a reality check. Instead of trying to come up with a target share price, they can plug in the current share price and, working backwards, calculate how fast the company would need to grow to justify the valuation.

The lower the implied growth rate, the better - less growth has therefore already been "priced into" the stock. Because it does not weigh all the inputs included in a DCF model, ratio-based valuation acts more like a beauty contest: If the companies used as comparisons are all over-priced, the investor can end up holding a stock with a share price ready for a fall.

A well-designed DCF model should, by contrast, keep investors out of stocks that look cheap only against expensive peers. DCF models are powerful, but they do have shortcomings. Small changes in inputs can result in large changes in the value of a company.

Investors must constantly second-guess valuations; the inputs that produce these valuations are always changing and are susceptible to error. Meaningful valuations depend on the user's ability to make solid cash flow projections.

While forecasting cash flows more than a few years into the future is difficult, crafting results into eternity which is a necessary input is near impossible.

A single, unexpected event can immediately make a DCF model obsolete. By guessing at what a decade of cash flow is worth today, most analysts limit their outlook to 10 years. Investors should watch out for DCF models that project to ridiculous lengths of time.Discounted cash flow (DCF) is a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of an investment opportunity.

Discounted Cash Flow Valuation: The Steps l Estimate the discount rate or rates to use in the valuation – Discount rate can be either a cost of equity (if doing equity valuation) or a. Discounted Cash Flow DCF is a cash flow summary that reflects the time value of money.

With DCF, funds that will flow in or out at some time in the future have less value, today, than an equal amount that circulates today. Discounted Cash Flow Valuation: The Steps" Estimate the discount rate or rates to use in the valuation" • Discount rate can be either a cost of equity (if doing equity valuation) or a cost of.

Discounted Cash Flow Valuation: The Inputs Aswath Damodaran. 2 The Key Inputs in DCF Valuation If the cash flows being discounted are cash flows to equity, the appropriate discount rate is a cost of equity.

If the cash flows is a zero coupon security with the same maturity as the cash flow being analyzed. In the Theory of Investment Value, written over 50 years ago, John Burr Williams set forth the equation for value, which we condense here: The value of any stock, bond or business today is determined by the cash inflows and outflows – discounted at an appropriate interest rate – that can be.

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Valuation Methods in Excel