PART 1 PRESENT VALUE AND THE RISK/RETURN TRADE-OFF

For the SLP in this session, you will be taking a close look at a company of your choice. You are free to choose any company you want as long as it is publicly traded on one of the major stock market exchanges such as NYSE or NASDAQ. This could be a company that you personally are interested in investing in, or a company whose product you buy, or one that you’ve read about in the news recently and would like to know more about. Do some research on this company, including recent articles. Also, look up the company on Google Finance. This will give you a wealth of information including stock prices over the last month, year, five years, etc., along with other information such as the beta or whether or not the company is profitable.

Once you have chosen a company and have done some initial research on it, write a 2- to 3- page paper discussing the following items:

1. Give a brief description of the company and why you find it interesting.

2. What is the beta of this company’s stock? Based on the magnitude of the beta, do you think it is low risk, high risk, or somewhere in between?

3. Now look at recent stock price movements. What is the highest price the stock has been over the last year? The lowest price over the last year? Look at the five-year pattern as well. Based on what you see, what does this tell you about the riskiness of the stock?

4. Look at some other companies in the same industry as your chosen company. How do they compare in terms of beta and other measures of riskiness? Would you prefer to invest in your chosen company, or do some of its competitors seem like a better bet?

PART 2 STOCK AND BOND VALUATION

For your second SLP assignment, continue to do research on the company you chose to write about for your Module 1 SLP. This time you will be doing research about the valuation of the company to try to determine if its stock price is overvalued or undervalued. You can use Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, or similar Web pages to find the financial information about this company.

Write a 2- to 3-page paper with the following items:

1. What is the P/E ratio of this company? How does the P/E ratio compare to other companies in this industry? Based on the P/E ratio, do you think the company is overvalued or undervalued?

2. Find the company’s balance sheet. Calculate the book value of each share. This can be done by taking the total assets and subtracting total liabilities. Then divide the number you get by the total number of outstanding shares. Is the number you get higher or lower than the current price of the share? Based on what you’ve found, would you say the stock is overvalued or undervalued?

3. Finally, do a search on what different analysts have to say about your company. Do they generally recommend buying the stock or selling the stock? What reasons to they give for their assessment? Find at least three analyst reports about this company.

PART 3 CAPITAL BUDGETING AND THE COST OF CAPITAL

For your Module 3 SLP assignment, continue to do research on the company that you wrote about for Modules 1 and 2. For this assignment, you will be estimating the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for your chosen company. The final calculation will be fairly straightforward, as it involves just plugging in some numbers into an equation. However, the more challenging task will be finding the necessary numbers to plug into the formulas. You will need information such as the beta for your company, the bond-rating, and various information from its balance sheet. Links to some suggested Web pages for finding this kind of information is included in the instructions, but you might be able to find other sources of information. Go step by step and present your information for Steps 1-4 below in a Word document. Make sure to show all of your steps one by one and include the sources of your information:

1. Find out your chosen company’s credit rating. Rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s assign ratings to companies. AAA is high, AA is lower, BBB is even lower, etc. The higher the rating, the lower the cost of debt capital. Explain what your company’s credit rating is and the reasons for the high or low rating based on your research. Also, use the Fidelity Fixed Income Web page to find out what the current return is for a 30-year bond for a corporation with the rating that your company has. This yield will be the approximate cost of debt capital for your company. We will call the cost of debt RD.

2. Now estimate the cost of equity for your company. First you will need the beta; you already found this for your Module 1 SLP. You will also need the three-month treasury bill yield, which we will use as our measure of the risk-free rate. This rate should be listed on the Fidelity Fixed Income Web page linked above. Finally, you will need the equity risk premium. You can find estimates of this on many Web pages including Fidelity Fixed Income or Gutenberg Research. It is usually around 5%. Once you have this information, you can estimate the cost of equity as the 30-year treasury bill yield rate plus beta multiplied by the equity premium:

Cost of Equity = risk-free rate + Beta * (Equity Premium).

Show your calculations. We will call the cost of equity RE.

3. Now find out how much of the firm’s capital is equity and how much is debt. For the total value, look at the balance sheet for your company as found on Google Finance or a similar Web page. The total value of your company will be “total liabilities and shareholder’s equity.” The proportion of debt will be total liabilities divided by total value, which we will call D/V. The proportion of equity will be shareholder’s equity divided by total value, or E/V. If you calculate them correctly, the proportions will add up to one.

4. Now we have all the information we need to get at least a rough ballpark estimate of WACC. Let’s assume a corporate tax rate of 35%. So the formula we will use is WACC = (E/V)* RE +(D/ V)* RD *(1-.35)

Calculate WACC and show your computations. As a “reality check” on your calculations, the WACC should likely be in the single digits and positive. Compare what you found to the average WACC in your company’s industry, which should be available on Web pages such as Cost of Capital by Sector (US). Note that 35% is the official corporate tax rate, but many corporations find tax breaks. If your WACC is too low, try computing it with a lower tax rate such as 25% or 10%.

PART 4 LEVERAGE, CAPITAL STRUCTURE, AND DIVIDEND POLICY

Review the 1) dividends for the past three years and 2) capital structure of the company you have been researching for your SLP assignment. Then answer the following questions in a Word document (except for the Excel portion specifically noted). The paper should be 2 pages in length.

1. What has occurred with your selected company’s dividend payout, dividend yield, and dividend per share over the past three years? Do you have any explanations for what has occurred? Also, has this company had any stock splits or stock repurchases in recent years?

2. How does your selected company’s dividend payout, dividend yield, and dividend per share compare with other companies in its industry? Has the company’s dividend strategy been similar to other companies in its industry?

3. Use Excel to plot your selected company’s earnings and dividends over the past three years. Do you notice any patterns? What dividend policies from the background readings best match these patterns?

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Assignment Expectations Answer the assignment questions directly. Stay focused on the precise assignment questions. Do not go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials. For computational problems, make sure to show your work and explain your steps. For short answer/short essay questions, make sure to reference your sources of information with both a bibliography and in-text citations.