Meet Phil Oakley

With my help you'll learn how to identify high quality investments for your portfolio. My Step-by-Step Guide to Investment Analysis cuts through the jargon and teaches you how to do a fast but effective forensic analysis of stocks and other investment types. It's a must read for any investor. My weekly articles build on this knowledge using topical examples and introducing new techniques. I also write an exclusive weekly newsletter for subscribers which includes three stock analyses and a featured stock screen.

Step-By-Step Guide Library of articles

About Phil

Phil was a professional share analyst for 13 years working for leading City institutions. He left the City to educate private investors and spent 3 years as senior investment writer for MoneyWeek magazine before joining us.

Latest Articles

Stock Watch: FW Thorpe

FW Thorpe is not covered by many analysts but you can still work out whether it's a good investment or not. Phil takes a look at this high quality small cap share.

Analysing the stocks in a filter

SharePad's filtering tools combined with its financial carousel can give you a great snapshot of a share in minutes.

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Why depreciation matters and EBITDA doesn't

Phil explains why depreciation is a real cost for asset-intensive companies and shouldn't be ignored.

UK Dividend aristocrats

Phil's Investors Chronicle article on how to be a successful dividend investor.

The end of "hidden debts"

The way companies account for operating leases is going to change. Phil explains why and how.

Your tutorials are very well written and demonstrate the "hands on" knowledge of someone who actually uses this data. They are also pitched at exactly the right level.

PR, West Glamorgan


If you'd like to know when a new article or chapter for the Step-by-Step Guide is published, send us your email address using the form at the foot of the page. You don't need to be a subscriber.

No. Date Title Synopsis
150 24/04/2017 Stock Watch: FW Thorpe FW Thorpe is not covered by many analysts but you can still work out whether it's a good investment or not. Phil takes a look at this high quality small cap share. Read
149 19/04/2017 Analysing the stocks in a filter SharePad's filtering tools combined with its financial carousel can give you a great snapshot of a share in minutes. Read
148 30/03/2017 Why depreciation matters and EBITDA doesn't Phil explains why depreciation is a real cost for asset-intensive companies and shouldn't be ignored. Read
30/03/2017 UK Dividend aristocrats Phil's Investors Chronicle article on how to be a successful dividend investor. Read
147 28/03/2017 The end of "hidden debts" The way companies account for operating leases is going to change. Phil explains why and how. Read
146 23/03/2017 Stock Watch: Revolution Bars Group Phil analyses the investment potential of this up-market bar company. Read
145 15/03/2017 Stock Watch: XP Power Can XP Power maintain its impressive profitability? Read
10/03/2017 How to avoid value traps In this installment, Phil explains how to spot value traps and finds some cheap shares that might bounce back. View PDF
03/03/2017 Free cash flow: what it is and how to use it In this week's Investors Chronicle, Phil explains how to use free cash flow to your advantage. View PDF
144 01/03/2017 Stock Watch: Treatt plc Phil analyses high flying Treatt shares to see if it can continue to deliver for investors. Read
143 22/02/2017 Kraft-Heinz's bid for Unilever Phil looks into Kraft's bid for Unilever and what investors can learn from it. Read
142 15/02/2017 Weighing up investment trusts Many investors like to complement their share portfolios with investment trusts. This article shows you some of the things you need to look at in order to weigh up an IT. Read
141 08/02/2017 Riding a retail roll out Phil takes a look at retail roll outs to find out why some retail shares soar only to crash a few years later. Read
140 02/02/2017 Does Tesco buying Booker make sense? Phil takes a look at the Tesco takeover of Booker and how shareholders can weigh up a takeover bid. Read
139 26/01/2017 Value investing today Value investing has lots of fans but do private investors really understand what it means and how to make it work for them? Read
138 18/01/2017 Sector Watch: Beverages Phil takes a look at the beverages sector which is home to some very well known drinks brands. Read
137 18/01/2017 If you want to beat the market own fewer shares not more The best investors own relatively few shares. You should do the same. Read
136 13/01/2017 Sector Watch: FTSE 100 and AIM 100 Miners Mining shares have been on a stellar run. Phil looks to see if the shares have gone up too far, too fast or whether the rally can continue. Read
135 10/01/2017 Paying up for quality shares - how much is too much? Phil looks at whether long term investors should keep their hands in their pockets or pay up for high quality shares. Read
134 04/01/2017 A great year for modified magic formula investing Phil looks at how his magic formula portfolios performed against a basket of cheap shares. He also shows what shares the magic formula is suggesting for 2017 Read
133 20/12/2016 Sector Watch: Industrial Machinery Phil looks at the fortunes of the Industrial Machinery sector in his latest sector watch. Read
132 15/12/2016 Sector Watch: Small Cap and AIM Retailers Phil takes a look at small cap and AIM retailers ahead of the all important Christmas trading period. Read
131 13/12/2016 Why growth matters Phil explains why profit expectations are so important when buying and owning shares. Read
130 07/12/2016 Sector Watch: Weighing up pub stocks Phil shows you how you can weigh up a sector in a matter of minutes with some simple SharePad tools. Read
129 29/11/2016 Stock Watch: MJ Gleeson MJ Gleeson is slightly different to most house builders. Phil takes a look at its strategy and whether it can pay off in the long run. Read
128 23/11/2016 A different way to scrutinise a company's financial performance A quick, simple and effective way to check out a company's financial performance. Read
127 16/11/2016 A simple investment strategy: how to find "good" companies Phil looks at a simple and very powerful way of identify high quality companies. Read
126 08/11/2016 How to identify genuine sales growth Good companies grow their sales but not all sales growth is the same. Learn how to spot the difference between good and bad sales growth. Read
04/11/2016 Sector Watch: Banks Phil looks under the bonnet of the LSE's "big five" banks. View PDF
125 03/11/2016 Stock Watch: Britvic Most of the time shares look cheap for a reason. Could Britvic shares be one of the few that break this rule? Read
28/10/2016 Sector Watch: Bus & Rail Phil looks at the long-term fortunes of bus and rail operators. View PDF
124 20/10/2016 Smarter filtering for cheap shares Using filters can be a great way to find undervalued shares but you need to use them with caution. Read
14/10/2016 Sector Watch: Outsourcers Phil looks at the once safe haven of Support Services. Can the good times return? View PDF
07/10/2016 Sector Watch: Consumer goods Phil investigates whether consumer staples really are "bond proxies". View PDF
123 05/10/2016 Understanding a company's debt A company with too much debt can cause its shareholders lots of problems. In this article, Phil takes you through SharePad's impressive range of debt ratios to help you stay away from trouble. Read
30/09/2016 Sector Watch: Grocery retail Phil analyses the UK's supermarkets and considers whether recent share price gains represent a change in fortune. View PDF
23/09/2016 Sector Watch: Housebuilders If you didn't catch Phil's excellent analysis of the Home Construction subsector in the Investors Chronicle, here it is. View PDF
122 23/09/2016 Simple steps for avoiding dividend traps Analysing shares doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some simple steps to check out the safety of high yielding shares. Read
121 15/09/2016 Working capital Working capital is an important but dry topic that can confuse people. Phil lifts the lid on this part of a company's finances. Read
120 09/09/2016 Stock Watch: Lookers Phil looks under the bonnet of the UK's biggest car dealership. Read
119 07/09/2016 Benjamin Graham's "net net" strategy With the UK and US stock markets trading at high valuations, there are fewer genuine bargains about. Phil considers how to find them. Read
118 30/08/2016 Stock Watch: N Brown Not your normal clothing retailer in more ways than one. Phil Oakley peeks behind the curtain. Read
117 25/08/2016 How useful a measure is net asset value (NAV)? Net asset value (NAV) is a popular way of valuing companies, but is best used with a certain type of company and needs to used with care. Read
116 17/08/2016 How to tell if dividend shares are cheap or expensive How do you know if dividend shares are cheap or expensive? A simple, but powerful formula can help you answer this question. Read
115 16/08/2016 Stock Watch: Sports Direct Sports Direct has hit a rocky patch, but has the stock market been too harsh on the shares? Read
114 11/08/2016 Looking for shares to short Shorting shares is not for the nervous but can be a way for investors to make money. Phil looks at how you can find possible shorting candidates. Read
113 09/08/2016 Stock Watch: Sage PLC Sage shares have been a great performer. Phil puts the company through a SharePad analysis to find out why they have been so popular and whether they will continue to be so. Read
112 04/08/2016 Why interest rates matter How are interest rates determined, why they matter and what they can tell investors. Read
111 03/08/2016 A quick way to find potential stock market bargains A quick and easy way to find bombed out stocks with bargain potential. Read
110 19/07/2016 Stock Watch: AG Barr AG Barr's shares have lost some of their former fizz. Does this mean that they are a bargain or is it a case of buyer beware? Read
109 14/07/2016 Are defensive shares overvalued? Are defensive shares overvalued? Phil uses SharePad/ShareScope to try and answer this. Read
108 13/07/2016 Stock Watch: Marks & Spencer M&S shares are having a tough time but are they a bargain or a value trap? Read
107 05/07/2016 EU referendum Phil looks at the fallout from the EU referendum and what it means for stock market investors. Read
106 30/06/2016 Stock Watch: Telecom Plus Telecom Plus pays a big dividend but can it grow its profits? Phil takes a look at this unique utility company. Read
105 30/06/2016 Sifting for bargains amid the stock market carnage Has the stock market over-reacted to Brexit and presented some buying opportunities? We show you how to find out with some easy SharePad filters. Read
104 22/06/2016 Stock Watch: Lloyds Banks are not easy to understand. Armed with some new SharePad tools, Phil takes a closer look at Lloyds Banking Group. Read
103 16/06/2016 Cash flow portfolio (update June 2016) Phil takes another look at the strategy of investing by numbers alone. In this article he catches up with his test cash flow portfolio to see how it has been getting on so far. Read
102 09/06/2016 Stock Watch: Apple Are Apple shares a bargain or a value trap? Phil takes a closer look at the tech giant. Read
101 08/06/2016 Magic Formula vs EBIT yield portfolio (update June 2016) Should you buy cheap quality shares or just cheap ones? Phil takes a look at how his test portfolios are getting on. Read
100 26/05/2016 Stock Watch: Fevertree Drinks Fevertree's share price and its drinks have lots of fizz. Phil takes a look at this star of the AIM market to see if it can live up to investor's high expectations. Read
99 24/05/2016 How to analyse a sector in SharePad - Housebuilders SharePad allows you to do in depth analysis of stock market sectors. Phil uses the tools to run the slide rule over the housebuilding sector. Read
98 19/05/2016 Stock Watch: easyJet Phil's second article on easyJet takes a closer look under the bonnet of the airline company. Read
97 18/05/2016 Investing in the shares of cyclical companies Weighing up cyclical shares is not easy. Here are a few things to consider when looking at them. Read
96 09/05/2016 How to understand profit warnings Profit warnings are one of the biggest risks to shareholders but can sometimes be a buying opportunity. Read
95 06/05/2016 How to analyse a share quickly Using easyJet, Phil shows how to analyse a company just using SharePad. Read
94 28/04/2016 How much debt and cash does a company really have? Balance sheets sometimes give a misleading view of a company's finances. Phil gives you a few tips on how to find out what's really going on. Read
93 27/04/2016 Stock Watch: Procter & Gamble (P&G) Procter & Gamble owns some of the world's best known consumer brands. Phil puts the company through a SharePad analysis to see if great brands can make great investments. Read
92 22/04/2016 Pension fund deficits Learn about the risk to your returns and to the company itself. Read
91 20/04/2016 Stock Watch: Stagecoach Group Stagecoach shares have gone off the rails in recent months. Phil takes a look at the company to see if it can get back on track. Read
90 18/04/2016 How to check the condition of a company's assets Phil shows you how to check out whether a company's assets are ship-shape or worn out. Read
89 13/04/2016 Stock Watch: Carillion Phil puts big dividend payer Carillion through a SharePad analysis. Read
88 08/04/2016 How to analyse a results statement (Card Factory) These invaluable press releases are your first sight of a company's results. Phil explains how to tease out the key information. Read
87 05/04/2016 Stock Watch: Restaurant Group Restaurant Group shares have taken a battering recently. Can they recover or is there worse to come? Read
86 01/04/2016 Cash profits Free cash flow is a very useful number when analysing companies but might not be as useful when it comes to valuing them. Phil explains why you might want to use another estimate of cash profits instead. Read
85 30/03/2016 Stock Watch: A&J Mucklow Phil explains how to analyse Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Read
84 23/03/2016 The Capex ratio How a company makes money for shareholders is more important than how much it actually makes. This useful calculation can help you to find out. Read
83 18/03/2016 Stock Watch: Greggs Shares of bakery chain Greggs have been doing well recently. Phil takes a look at the company to see if it can keep on delivering for investors. Read
82 17/03/2016 DuPont Analysis A simple, quick and very powerful way to analyse a company. Read
81 09/03/2016 Stock Watch: Connect Group Can this high-yielder keep delivering the goods for investors? Read
80 09/03/2016 Why putting your eggs in different baskets makes sense How asset allocation can affect the performance and volatility of your portfolio. Read
79 04/03/2016 Stock Watch: Reckitt Benckiser Reckitt's shares are well-liked by investors but can it keep delivering for them? Read
78 03/03/2016 Warren Buffett's best lesson for investors What can we learn from this investing guru and how can we adapt his methodology in these unusual times? Read
77 25/02/2016 Stock Watch: Associated British Foods Is the success of the Primark clothing brand key to this food manufacturer? Read
76 18/02/2016 Stock Watch: Booker Group Phil looks to see if cash and carry company Booker can keep on delivering for investors. Read
75 17/02/2016 Have we forgotten what investing is all about? Phil looks at a strategy that can reduce the stress of stock market investing. Read
74 15/02/2016 Stock Watch: ITV ITV shares have performed well in recent years. Phil looks under the bonnet to see if the good times can continue. Read
73 11/02/2016 The risks of owning expensive shares in a bear market Phil looks at the risks of owning shares with high valuations. Read
72 04/02/2016 Dividend investing - high yield or dividend growth? Phil takes a look at two dividend investing strategies and how they fared over the past year. Read
71 02/02/2016 Some of my favourite investment books Want to learn more about investing? These classics are well worth a read. Read
70 27/01/2016 Stock Watch: Dignity Does Dignity have the hallmarks of a very good business? Phil Oakley looks behind the curtain. Read
69 22/01/2016 Filter: Cash flow portfolios Phil uses SharePad to check out the past performance of cash flow based portfolios and uses a filter to build a test portfolio Read
68 20/01/2016 Stock Watch: PayPoint Shares look cheap, the fundamentals appear sound, but is all well behind the scenes? Phil investigates. Read
67 15/01/2016 Using cash flow to find high quality companies Phil looks at free cash flow returns as a way of finding quality companies. Read
66 14/01/2016 Stock Watch: BT Phil takes a look at what's been going on at BT and whether its shares can keep on delivering for investors. Read
65 11/01/2016 Filtering: Magic Formula vs EBIT Yield In the first of a series of articles on filtering, Phil compares Greenblatt's Magic Formula with a simple EBIT Yield screen. Read
64 07/01/2016 Stock Watch: What's next for Next? Phil assesses the future prospects for this blue-chip favourite. Read
63 22/12/2015 What I want to see in 2016 Phil explains why he'd like to buck the trend for share buybacks. Read
62 18/12/2015 Oil companies - survival of the fittest Which oil companies can survive the oil price rout? Read
61 17/12/2015 There's more to SharePad than just shares We've added a great new feature which enables you build your own market overview. Read
60 17/12/2015 A more thoughtful approach to Magic Formula investing A look at the drawbacks of Greenblatt's approach and some smart options we've added to SharePad. Read
59 10/12/2015 Stock Watch: Home Retail Can Home Retail get back on track? Phil analyses the retailer's prospects. Read
58 02/12/2015 How to weigh up an executive pay scheme Are company executives acting in the interests of shareholders or themselves? Read
57 30/11/2015 Stock Watch: Whitbread Has the froth been blown off Whitbread's shares? Phil Oakley investigates. Read
56 26/11/2015 When cash flow isn't cash flow - when it's called EBITDA Phil examines the pros & cons of this oft-quoted measure of profit. More advanced. Read
55 20/11/2015 Stock Watch: Can Tesco recover? Phil looks at the prospects for the ailing supermarket and what the share price is assuming about future profits. Read
54 18/11/2015 Free cash flow isn't always what it seems Free cash flow is a great way to find good investments and avoid bad ones. Phil explains the key things to look out for. Read
53 13/11/2015 Is National Grid the ultimate safe share? Is this the ultimate safe share? Phil takes a look under the bonnet. Read
52 11/11/2015 Not all profit growth is the same Here Phil explains, using real company examples, why not all profit growth is what it appears to be. Read
51 06/11/2015 Staying safe with AIM shares How to avoid the next AIM disaster. Phil analyses Globo and how you could have spotted the danger signs. Read
50 04/11/2015 Should you be a momentum investor? Harder in practice than in theory, Phil takes a look at price momentum-based investment. Read
49 29/10/2015 New tools in SharePad An overview of some exciting enhancements in SharePad to assist with your investing. Read
48 27/10/2015 When to sell a share Deciding the right time to exit a position can be tricky. Phil looks at the key factors investors should consider. Read
47 12/10/2015 Sum-of-the-parts valuation Phil shows you how to value companies with multiple business divisions - using Greene King as an example. More advanced. Read
46 08/10/2015 Buying low and selling high - a screening approach Buying depressed stocks is the classic way to buy low and sell high. But how do you avoid falling knives? Phil suggests a screening approach and other advice to help you minimise your risks. Read
45 01/10/2015 How to weigh up a rights issue Rights issues can be confusing for investors but aren't necessarily a bad thing. Phil Oakley explains the rights issue just announced by Entertainment One. Read
44 29/09/2015 Stock Watch: French Connection - a classic value trap? Cheap doesn't necessarily mean undervalued. Phil looks at the hidden costs on this clothing retailer's balance sheet. Read
43 25/09/2015 How you make and lose money from owning shares Phil explains how to calculate whether the total returns from a share have been driven by profit growth, dividends or valuation. Read
42 18/09/2015 How to analyse companies with hidden debt Hidden debt such as operating leases can make companies look better and safer than they are. Learn how to calculate your own adjusted EBIT yield and ROCE. More advanced. Read
41 18/09/2015 Stock Watch: B&M European Value Retail Phil weighs up the prospects for this discount retailer and shows how to estimate your potential gains and losses. Read
40 11/09/2015 How to analyse and value water companies Why the dividends of water companies are safer than they look and a couple of tools used by City analysts to value their shares. Read
39 09/09/2015 Some essential checks to do before buying any share Checking these 7 key measures will give you a good idea of a company's value and quality. Read
38 04/09/2015 How to analyse low PE shares Using Trinity Mirror, Phil considers low PE shares and how to assess whether they are undervalued bargains or businesses to avoid Read
37 02/09/2015 The value of your investments #2: Earnings Power Value (EPV) How to calculate a valuation for a company using its current or past profits. Read
36 28/08/2015 Stock Watch: TalkTalk Telecom Is the low-cost telecoms provider a safe income play or a risky bet? Read
35 24/08/2015 The value of your investments #1: Why interest rates matter How interest rates directly affect the value of bonds and how you can use this knowledge to value shares. Read
34 19/08/2015 Stock Watch: Rotork Rotork shares are getting cheaper but are they cheap enough? Read
33 12/08/2015 Facing up to the income challenge #2 How to build a portfolio of shares to generate retirement income and the pitfalls to avoid. Read
32 12/08/2015 Stock Watch: Patisserie Holdings Phil analyses the growth credentials of the company behind popular high street cake purveyor Patisserie Valerie. Read
31 04/08/2015 Stock Watch: Marston's Using the example of Marston's, Phil shows how to analyse pub companies. Read
30 24/07/2015 Facing up to the income challenge #1 Bond laddering - a strategy for generating a regular retirement income without handing your pension pot over to an annuity provider or risking it on the stock market. Read
29 21/07/2015 Getting started with investment trusts How to analyse investment trusts and use Z-scores to spot when they are under- or overvalued. Read
28 16/07/2015 Stock Watch: Rolls-Royce Another profit warning, another bout of selling - are Rolls-Royce shares a recovery play or value trap? Phil Oakley shows you what to look for. Read
27 15/07/2015 Investing in bonds Phil explains what bonds are, how they work, and the key metrics to use when investing in bonds or bond funds. Read
26 06/07/2015 How to be a better investor using trailing 12 month (TTM) data Trailing 12 month data gives you the most up-to-date measure of a company's performance and can help you spot opportunities before the crowd. Read
25 02/07/2015 Can investors rely on Altman Z-Scores? Are Altman Z-Scores always a reliable indicator of financial strength or weakness? Phil explains the pros and cons. Read
24 25/06/2015 Domino's Pizza - can a great investment stay great? Phil looks at the characteristics of this successful company and considers whether its historically high PE rating can be maintained. Read
23 23/06/2015 Should you rely on brokers' forecasts? As an ex-City analyst himself, Phil discusses the pros and cons of analyst (broker) forecasts. Read
22 11/06/2015 Why supermarkets are the most hated shares A look back at cumulative profits and free cash flow explains a lot. Read
21 10/06/2015 Does Magic Formula investing still work? Phil looks at Joel Greenblatt's Magic Formula and considers its merits as a stock selection strategy. Read
20 08/06/2015 Is a takeover of Diageo likely? Rumours are circulating about a potential bid for drinks giant Diageo. Why would it be a target and is a takeover likely? Read
19 05/06/2015 Stock Watch: Taylor Wimpey - how to analyse housebuilders Housebuilders are going great guns. I look at Taylor Wimpey to show you how to analyse the sector. Read
18 04/06/2015 Are share buybacks good for your wealth? Share buybacks are very popular with Directors but are they good value for private investors? Read
17 29/05/2015 Stock Watch: SSE - is its dividend safe? An analysis of the utility company SSE: do the fundamentals support a continued high yield for investors? Read
16 28/05/2015 How to work out a company's cash profit Profits and cash are key for any business, but uncovering its cash profit may provide a better indication of its fortunes. Read
15 22/05/2015 How many shares do you need to own? How can you balance the risk in your portfolio efficiently without reducing your performance potential? Read
14 13/05/2015 Are a company's profits believable? How can you spot companies which may be employing aggressive accounting techniques and artificially inflating their profits? Read
13 07/05/2015 Putting it all together: how to analyse a share How to perform a thorough analysis of a share using JD Sports as an example - a must-read for every private investor. Read
12 07/05/2015 Are housebuilders' shares in a bubble? The sector has rewarded investors handsomely over the past few years, but will the good times last? Read
11 01/05/2015 Investing in Funds, Investment Trusts & ETFs When are investment funds a good idea and what are the pros and cons of the different types of fund? Read
10 22/04/2015 Lower your risks with high quality companies What makes a "high-quality" company and how can you find them Read
9 13/04/2015 How to weigh up a takeover bid What characteristics make a company a tempting takeover target? Read
8 09/04/2015 My 5 rules for safe dividend investing Shares with high dividend yields can seem very tempting but can be a trap for the unwary. Read
7 27/03/2015 How to calculate a target price for buying shares The risks of buying and holding high PE shares and how you can calculate an entry price. Read
6 19/03/2015 Don't rush to invest your ISA allowance You don't have to invest straightaway; it may pay to sit on cash until share prices are cheaper. Read
5 20/01/2015 How to be a dividend investor Why dividends matter and how you can use them as a strategy to build yourself a nest egg. Read
4 09/01/2015 The difference between volatility & risk The important role of volatility in your investment strategy and how you can manage your risk profile. Read
3 22/12/2014 How to look for undervalued growth shares How value investors can use the PEG value to find bargain shares with growth potential. Read
2 12/12/2014 How to use asset values to pick shares Here I look at how company asset values can help you avoid buying shares which appear cheap, but aren't actually bargains. Read
1 05/12/2014 A better way to look for very cheap shares In this article, I cover one of the most popular ways of looking for cheap shares - low p/e investing - and how to make your approach a little more nuanced. Read
Basics How you can beat the professionals Why you should be confident that you can manage your own investments. Read
Basics A brief guide to tax-efficient saving A guide to the tax breaks available using ISAs and SIPPs. Read
Basics Choosing your first investments Stock-picking needn't be complicated. Here's a guide to the characteristics to look for when buying your first shares. Read
Basics What is investing? How investing helps you grow the buying power of your money. Read
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