While there are many similarities between stock and bond valuation, there are also a few differences in how the valuation process relates to each type of asset. These differences focus on factors that are unique to each asset, including the structure of dividends and interest payments, the duration or maturity date involved with the assets, and the projection of future cash flows. By understanding how stocks and bonds differ, it becomes easier to approach valuations using strategies that are relevant to each asset.
Thanks to the nature of how bonds are configured, engaging in bond valuation is often considered a quicker and easier process than attempting a stock valuation. This is because bonds are often structured with a fixed rate of interest to provide returns to investors. Even when the issue carries a variable rate of interest, there is usually a minimum interest rate that will apply for the life of the bond. Along with more or less stable and predictable interest payments, a bond also has a formal ending in the form of a maturity date. These factors combine to make it easier to project the return from the bond.
By contrast, stock valuation calls for taking into consideration factors that are somewhat more complicated. The differences between stock and bond valuation include the facts that stocks do not have a set maturity date that calls for settlement of the issue, and the amount of dividends generated will depend on how well the issuing company performs in the marketplace, including regarding generating sales, earning profits, and seeing a steady increase in the value of the issued shares. With a greater range of variables to consider, this means the valuation of stocks can be more complicated.
Engaging in stock and bond valuation may differ somewhat, but the ultimate goal of the valuation is the same for both types of assets. In each scenario, the goal is to accurately assess the overall worth of the asset to the investor. This includes considering the amount of the original purchase, the current market value of the asset, and what investors would be willing to pay in order to purchase the asset if it were offered for sale. For investors who are uncomfortable with conducting stock and bond valuation on their own, financial analysts can aid in collecting the relevant data then completing the valuation process with relatively little effort.