2 decades experience in commercial banking covering SME/Corporate lending, Credit Risk, Stress Assets.
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I get attracted to a stock if the numbers seem to be telling a story - such as trends in profit margins, debt levels, working capital, cashflows, fixed assets. Absolute levels dont matter in the beginning, trends are important.
To borrow Ramdeo ji’s term (of course, with his brilliant mind he looks for this over a much large canvass), however with my limited ability, I look for “value migration” within the company, first from the financial numbers, and then endeavour to corroborate the story/narrative around that. While not a forensic expert, my professional experience in credit (debt) risk analysis of businesses and industries does help my in my personal equity investments.