Fundamental analysis uses real, public data in the evaluation a security's value. Although most analysts use fundamental analysis to value stocks, this method of valuation can be used for just about any type of security. For example, an investor can perform fundamental analysis on a bond's value by looking at economic factors such as interest rates and the overall state of the economy. He can also look at information about the bond issuer, such as potential changes in credit ratings.
For stocks and equity instruments, this method uses revenues, earnings, future growth, return on equity, profit margins and other data to determine a company's underlying value and potential for future growth. In terms of stocks, fundamental analysis focuses on the financial statements of the company being evaluated. One of the most famous and successful fundamental analysts is the so-called "Oracle of Omaha", Warren Buffett, who is well known for successfully employing fundamental analysis to pick securities. His abilities have turned him into a billionaire.