Discounted cash flow

Discounted cash flow is simply a method of working out how much a share is fundamentally worth based on the present or discounted value of expected future cash flows.

Money receivable in the future is worth less than money received immediately. If you have £1 now and could invest it at an interest rate of 5% in one year you would have £1.05. This means that the 'future value' of £1 in one year is £1.05.

Put it the other way around and the 'present value' of £1 received in one year is £0.952. This is because £0.952 is the amount that would grow to £1, if invested at 5%. The interest rate assumed is known as the discount rate.

This is the concept behind most investment. You pay a lump sum for the right to receive a sum or a series of sums at some point in the future. To know how much you should pay for that right you need to work out its present value.

Discounted cash flow is simply a method of working out how much a share is fundamentally worth based on the present or discounted value of expected future cash flows. This is obviously fraught with difficulty given the nature of forecasting but the simplest version of the calculation is the dividend discount model where the real value of a share is considered to be the present value of the sum of all its future dividends.

See Tim Bennett's video tutorial: Five ways companies can cook cash flow.

Recommended

Margin call
Glossary

Margin call

When an investor borrows to bet on markets, they put down a deposit known as “margin”.
2 Apr 2021
Resource curse
Glossary

Resource curse

The term “resource curse” refers to the observation that countries with abundant natural resources also tend to be less economically developed than th…
14 Jan 2021
Balance of payments
Glossary

Balance of payments

The balance of payments refers to the accounts that sum up a country's financial position relative to other countries.
8 Jan 2021
Yield-curve control
Glossary

Yield-curve control

Yield-curve control is when a central bank aims to control long-term interest rates by pledging to buy (or sell) as many long-term bonds as needed to …
25 Dec 2020

Most Popular

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021
What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
Bitcoin

What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

As the bitcoin price hit new highs, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, listed on the stockmarket. John Stepek looks at what that m…
15 Apr 2021
Properties for sale for around £400,000
Houses for sale

Properties for sale for around £400,000

From a converted church in Banffshire with views towards the Cairngorms National Park, to a period property in the Georgian market town of Beverley, e…
2 Apr 2021