The liquidity of a company is the ability to raise cash when the company needs it. Or the ability of a company to pay off it’s short term (<1 year) debts. There are various ratios involved when determining the liquidity. A company can sell assets to raise money. But some assets take longer to liquify than others. The most liquid asset is cash. Bonds are stocks that are also very liquid because they can be traded for cash very easily. There are some ratios that determine the liquidity of a company:
The current ratio measures if the company is able to pay short-term debts (obligations). Short term in this context means all debt obligations that are about to expire within one year. The current ratio incorporates current liabilities and current assets. Current assets are all the assets a company has that are expected to be consumed or sold within standard business operations. You can find the current assets in the balance sheet. They consist of:
The current liabilities are short term obligations that are due within one year. These consist of:
The current liabilities are also found in the balance sheet. To calculate the current ratio:
The result shows an investor if the company is able to pay all its short-term (<1 year) debts if they were due all at once. When the result of the above formula is below 1, then the company does not have enough capital after selling all its assets to pay all short-term debts. If the ratio drops far below 1 that might indicate the company is or will be in financial trouble anytime soon.
A current ratio of 1.5 indicates that the company has $1.5 in current assets to cover each $1 of liabilities. If this drops to $0.5 then the company can’t pay the debts if needed.
Although this gives an investor some clue’s, the current ratio may also be deluded. Because owning assets does not mean the company can easily sell them. Also, account receivables (customers that owe the company money) may be quite old which deludes the current ratio. As with all ratios, you should only compare them between the same industries and companies.
The quick ratio measures the same thing as the current ratio, only it uses the most liquid assets a company has. Meaning, the assets that can be sold for cash the easiest and fastest. The quick ratio is calculated as follows:
As the quick ratio only incorporates the most liquid assets, you should also check the current ratio which also includes less liquid assets. But they may be harder to sell.
|Liquidity ratio type||How to calculate||How to interpret|
|Current ratio||Current assets / current liabilities||Above 1 is better|
|Quick ratio||Cash & equivalents + marketable securities + accounts receivable / current liabilities||Above 1 is better|
I already calculated the current and quick ratios for all companies (if the data is available in the balance sheet). Just use the search bar on the top of this page and search for the stock ticker you want to check.
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