Market value

Ciaran Burke

Page written by AI. Reviewed by Ciaran Burke on February 20, 2024.

Definition

Market value, also known as fair market value, refers to the current price at which an asset, security, or goods can be bought or sold in a competitive market.

What is market value?

Market value represents the price that a willing buyer and a willing seller would agree upon in an open and unrestricted transaction, assuming both parties have reasonable knowledge of the asset’s characteristics and current market conditions.

In financial markets, market value is commonly used to assess the worth of various types of assets, including stocks, bonds, real estate properties, goods, and derivatives. It serves as a key metric for investors, analysts, and policymakers to make informed decisions regarding investment strategies, asset allocation, and risk management.

Market value can fluctuate over time in response to changing market conditions, investor perceptions, and external factors. It is not static and can vary from one moment to the next.

Additionally, market value allows for comparisons between different assets or investments within the same market or asset class. Investors can assess the relative attractiveness of various opportunities based on their market values.

It’s important to note that market value may not always accurately reflect the core value of an asset, especially in cases of market inefficiency.

Example of market value

ABC Corporation, a manufacturing company, is considering buying a competitor, XYZ Inc. As part of the due diligence process, ABC Corporation assesses the market value of XYZ Inc.

To determine the market value of XYZ Inc., ABC Corporation analyses various factors, including XYZ Inc.’s financial statements, assets, liabilities, growth prospects, and industry comparables.

For example, if the market value of XYZ Inc.’s assets, such as property, plant, and equipment, is estimated to be £10 million, and its liabilities amount to £5 million, then its market value would be:

  • Market value = Total assets – Total liabilities
  • Market value = £10 million – £5 million = £5 million

So, the market value of XYZ Inc. is £5 million. This represents the estimated worth of the company based on its assets and liabilities.

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