Guidelines for Current Event Paper
Overall: You will demonstrate your investment analysis strengths in the current event paper by selecting a news article from the financial or business literature concerning a publicly traded company that is of interest to you. The article should concern any of the following topics: recent financial results and/or sales & profit outlook; new business development such as launching a new product or service; booking new orders; entering a new market; merger, acquisition or restructuring; public offering of debt or equity securities; and other such events that you deem significant from a stock price perspective.
Your task in this paper is to summarize the content of the article, analyze its investment implications for the value of the stock, and based on your investment appraisal, make a buy, sell, or hold recommendation on the stock of the publicly traded company you choose. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your competence your proficiency in applying the concepts covered in this course. PLEASE refrain from simply replicating the template [including how the sections are labeled and so forth] shown in the sample paper. It is provided as an example of high quality of content, organization and clarity in which you are expected to come up with your own topic and professional presentation style.
1) The executive summary should begin with the buy, hold or sell recommendation in relation to the content of the news article you are writing about. The rest of the paper should explain the reason for your recommendation. A table of contents may also be included if the report has multiple sections and subheadings.
2) Calculations and support documentation should be included in the appendix, but relevant statistical support (i.e., bottom line figures such as rates of return, valuation, and so forth) should also be included in the body of the text.
3) Your goal should be to determine what the content of the news article means for the investment merits of the stock. Does the event covered in the article have a positive, negative or neutral effect on the stock price? Explain why. How does this affect your investment recommendation? For example, a company may announce increased order rates for its core business, thereby increasing its backlog of unfilled orders. One may infer that such a development improves the sales & profit outlook, and thus make the stock a likely candidate for further price appreciation. Conversely, a delayed shipment or lower demand would have the opposite effect.
Your current event paper will be graded on content (60%), organization (20%) and clarity (20%). The text portion of the paper needs to be between 4-5 pages in length; it must be typed and double-spaced. If you are including statistical tables, graphs and charts in your paper, they can either be incorporated into the body of the text or referenced in your text and placed in an Appendix.
Please include a bibliography of the references used in your paper. A minimum of three additional references [other than the source of the article, the required textbook or recommended workbook] must be included in order to be eligible for full credit. This implies a minimum total of 5 reference sources [or 6/7 if you decide to use the optional reference books]. The bibliography should follow the APA reference style. The APA style refers to references in the text by author and year; e.g., (Jones, 1995) or (Smith, 1996; Rizzo, 1994). If you need more details, please refer to the style manual provided by National University.
As noted earlier, feedback will be based on content [60%], organization [20%] and clarity [20%]. The following will help you properly interpret these metrics in relation to qualitative feedback:
Percentage score Qualitative feedback
90% – 100% Outstanding/Significantly exceeds standards
80% – 89% Commendable/Exceeds standards
70% – 79% Acceptable or Satisfactory/Meets standards
60% – 69% Marginal or Unsatisfactory/Below standards
59% or below Failing
The percentage score will then be applied against the possible points for the current event paper to calculate your points to be posted in the grade book. Example: If you score 80%, this implies 12 points out of 15 [or (0.80) x (15) = 12].
Helpful Hints for Current Event Paper
Note: A sample paper has been posted on-line for your perusal.
ANALYSIS: Provide an interpretive (not a descriptive) text on the implications derived from your analysis of the news article. (Example: The Company’s return on assets improved due to higher asset turnover and increased net profit margin as the company’s sales expanded because of growing demand and the margin improved with a higher absorption rate of fixed overhead.) Identify the underlying business event that caused the change in financial results or business outlook. (Example: A negative cash flow (i.e. high cash usage) for investing could be attributed to a capital spending program (acquiring property, plant & equipment to build a stronger operation)).
VALUATION: Use a valuation technique of your own choice (either from the textbook, instructor learning materials or from an outside reference source of your own choosing) to assess whether the content of the news article has a positive, negative or neutral effect on the stock price. The valuation technique you select enables you to explain why the stock is rated buy, hold or sell. Example: New product launch expected to increase sales & profits would likely raise future Earnings per Share [EPS]. Applying the current P/E multiple on the revised future EPS implies a higher future stock price.
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