BU113: Critical Thinking and Communication in Business
Finance Application Assignment

Links to assignment sections with instructions: | Part 2: Selecting two comparable companies | Part 3: Comparative Financial Analysis of Two Companies | Part 4: Effect of an Announcement or Event on Company Stock Price--Indexed Stock Price Performance | Part 5: Extra Credit--Auditors' Opinion | Part 7: References | Part 8: Attachments

This is an individual assignment, with each student required to submit his/her own analysis, to be written in MEMO form.  You may work with a partner only to collect the data and calculate the ratios.  While you may discuss the meaning of the data/ratios with your partner, you must submit your own written analysis.

Your finance application assignment should be written in memo format (single-spaced, with headings for major sections/subsections, no indentations). It should include the following:

  1. Introduction

  2. Brief description (1 paragraph) of the business of each of two publicly traded U.S. companies in similar businesses (same industry).

  3. Comparative financial analysis of the two companies.

  4. Indexed stock price performance of one of the two companies vs. the S & P 500 following a major company announcement.

  5. Optional for extra credit: Your assessment of whether the Auditors' Opinion on one company's financial statements is a qualified or unqualified opinion and with the pertinent information circled or highlighted. Make sure to find the opinion on the financial statements, not on internal control.

  6. Summary/Conclusion

  7. References

  8. Attachments

    1. Financial Ratio sheet (including calculations)

    2. Exhibit comparing relative valuation, ROE, D/E and growth rates of your two companies

    3. Indexed stock price vs. S & P 500 performance graph

    4. Calculation of index values for the event study

    5. Value Line sheets for each of the two companies, with financial information you used circled or highlighted.

    6. Balance Sheet and Income Statement for each of the two companies, with financial information that you used circled or highlighted.

    7. Printout of Company Event/Announcement

    8. Audit opinion on one company's financial statements with opinion statement circled or highlighted (optional extra credit assignment in #5)

Below is information on how and where to get information on your two comparable companies as well as fuller descriptions of what is required for parts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7, and 8.

Part 2: Instructions for selecting two comparable companies

Instructions for Part 3: Comparative Financial Analysis of Two Companies

This section includes ratio calculations, a discussion of your ratio analysis, and your assessment of whether the relative valuation of the two companies is appropriate.

Instructions for Part 4: Effect of an Announcement or Event on Company Stock--Indexed Stock Price Performance

For one of your companies, discuss a major event that affected the company or a major announcement made by the company that you think might have affected the stock price of the company.  Track how the stock price of the company reacted to this new information.  To address this question, you will have to do the following:

  1. A computer search of business periodicals or recent news from the company's Web site to find an article announcing the event/new development. See the  library's Web page for BU113 Company Financials.

  2. Track the closing stock price of the company for 3 days before the announcement, the day of the announcement, and 5 days after the announcement, and also track the closing value of the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) on these days.  Use Historical Prices on Yahoo!Finance to get the stock quotes.  The S&P 500 can be found at Yahoo!Finance (http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=^GSPC--symbol: ^spx or ^GSPC).  It is an indication of how the U.S. stock market as a whole performed.

  3. To see if the event/development impacted the company's stock price, determine whether the company's stock price outperformed or underperformed the market as a result of the announcement.  Track the performance of the company's stock vs. the market by preparing a table and a graph indexing the company's stock price performance during this period to that of the S&P 500 (see instructions below and/or in-class handout).

  4. Decide whether the company's stock outperformed or underperformed the S&P 500 and discuss any possible reasons for this outperformance of underperformance based on your knowledge about the company and the event/development.

Instructions for preparing the graph of indexed prices (Also see in-class handout on preparing the index value calculations.).  Index calculations must accompany your graph.  For the index you may do your own calculations or use Excel (see Note below).  Your graph can be constructed in Excel using the index calculations (see Note below) or Bigcharts.com (www.bigcharts.com).

  1. Initial value becomes a base of 100 (e.g. if the beginning stock price is $10, the $10 becomes the index value of 100.).

  2. Compare each later value to the initial value to get the index value for each day (e.g. if a later stock price is $15, the index value is $15/$10 X 100 = 150.).  Use this same process for both the stock price and the S&P 500 values.

  3. Plot the index values you calculated.  Both plot lines will therefore start at 100 and independently move up or down from 100.


Part 5: Extra Credit--Auditors' Opinion

For extra credit, find the auditors' opinion on the company's financial statements (not on internal control) in the annual report of one of your companies on the Internet and attach it.  Determine who the auditors of the company are and if the company received an unqualified audit opinion or not.  Highlight the pertinent information in the Auditors' Opinion.

Part 7: References

Please be sure to follow the guidelines in Examples of Citing Electronic Resources for both in-text and reference citations.

Part 8: Attachments

In the attachments, circle or highlight the pertinent information (financial information used, auditors' opinion).

Please see the Performance Inventory--Financial Application Assignment for the criteria used to grade your memo.

This page was last updated: February 10, 2015