Select a U.S. industry and corporation that interests you. It may be cyclical or non-cyclical, manufacturing or service-oriented. Track and chart your company’s stock on a weekly basis for the past year and on a monthly basis for the past five years (or as long as data is available for a new corporation) until the Friday close price of either July 27th or August 3, 2012. Please note that for analysis purposes, you might want to begin looking at the stock’s performance from the year 2000, to see where your stock stood before 9/11 and the bursting of the tech bubble – particularly if your firm is in the tech industry. You may use any charting service on the net, such as BigCharts.com or Yahoo.Finance, and cut and paste the data into the Appendix of your paper.
After explaining why you selected your company and introducing the basics of your firm – products, major competitors, etc. – demonstrate in a 4 ½ – 6 page paper how financial and market conditions affected the price performance of your company’s stock over the past five years, concentrating on recent developments in the past six months to a year. Note that papers will be longer than the 5-6 written pages due to charts and tables.
Subjects to be discussed should include:
1. Industry analysis – for example, does your company’s stock lead, lag or coincide with its industry’s performance and the reasons why. (Charting web sites such as BigCharts.com can help with this.) Has your company’s industry ranking changed significantly in recent years? How has your company’s stock performed in comparison to a competitor or the S&P? How does your company measure up in comparison to competitors, both product and performance–wise?
2. Underlying financial ratios – Cite 5 (five) performance / common-size ratios to illustrate your company’s financial health and compare recent trends with the same ratios for a peer competitor in your industry. Provide the key underlying reasons for performance differences. These reasons could be internal or external to the firm – ie; results could be managerial, financial or product related, or due to competitive, environmental, regulatory or economic conditions.
3. Global environment – If applicable, explain how recent trends in the global economy – eg., Oil, Energy, Europe, Asia, or Out-sourcing – have impacted your company over the past 3-5 years.
4. SWOT Analysis – Provide a one page SWOT analysis for your firm – citing at least three (3) Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that currently relate to your company. Keep in mind that Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to the firm and Opportunities and Threats are derived from external factors. This information should be in bulleted format within the Appendix and may be referenced within the paper. A sample SWOT is posted on the VLT and will be discussed in class. SWOT’s provide an excellent exercise in strategic thinking and competitive analysis
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