Z score

Devised in the 1960s by Edward Altman, a Z score indicates the probability of a company entering bankruptcy within the next two years. The higher the Z score, the lower the probability of bankruptcy. A score above three indicates that bankruptcy is unlikely; a score below 1.8 indicates that bankruptcy is possible.

It works by analysing the financial strength of a company using five balance-sheet and profit-and-loss-account measures – profit to total assets, retained earnings to total assets, working capital to total assets, sales to total assets and market capitalisation to total assets. These are then weighted to reflect their relative importance before being combined into a single figure, the Z score.

MoneyWeek magazine

Latest issue:

Magazine cover
Party's over for Putin

The only portfolio safe from Russia's rout

The UK's best-selling financial magazine. Take a FREE trial today.
Claim 4 FREE Issues

Hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry: 'It felt like the sun rose only to humiliate me'

In a series of three short videos, Merryn Somerset-Webb talks to Hugh Hendry, manager of the Eclectica hedge fund, about everything from China to the US, Europe, and Japan.


Which investment platform?

When it comes to buying shares and funds, there are several investment platforms and brokers to choose from. They all offer various fee structures to suit individual investing habits.
Find out which one is best for you.


18 December 1912: Piltdown Man – the 'missing link'

One of the world's greatest scientific hoaxes took place today in 1912, with the presentation of human evolution's missing link to the Geological Society in London.