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Is the trend in net income explained by one large factor or several smaller ones?

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Company Project
Project(s): 10 points
(From Syllabus) You will do a minimum of one substantive research paper during the semester.  It will be due the last week of classes and must be posted on Blackboard and on Turnitin.com.  The project can be to analyze a company in at least 2,000 words or anything that is determined by mutual agreement.  Your work will include 3 to 5 figures or graphs and should be prepared as if it would be sent to a board of directors.  The project is intended to improve your critical thinking skills and your written business communication skills as well as help you increase the likelihood of getting what you want at the next step in your career.  Examples could include a financial analysis of your most admired company or organization.  Other examples could include any topic from tariffs to the Federal Reserve to Bitcoin to the new tax code.  The outline below describes a very simple company analysis as most projects fall into that category.  Tell us why you are choosing this project.
Steps:
1.  Select a company to analyze
Some suggestions for selecting your company include choosing: a company you wish to work at next, a company you want to obtain financial support for your own organization from, or your most admired company or organization. It is best to select a publicly-traded US Corporation that is currently making a profit as it will be the easiest for which to obtain understandable financial data.  As this is a corporate finance class we will be analyzing financial and accounting data.  A profitable company means that it has positive net income in each year.
2.  Collect at least three (but no more than ten) years of financial information
This information includes an income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows, stock price(s), numbers of shares (by class), and bonds by maturity date (if any).
3.  Create a common-sized income statement and balance sheet.
Do the changes over time show that the company is becoming more or less profitable?
4.  Calculate the DuPont ratios
What do the ratios tell you about the nature of this business?  If the company is running a loss – then why?
5.  Calculate the growth/decline in sales, costs, operating expenses, taxes, net income and EPS for 2 years if you collected three years of data.  You will have one less year of growth calculations than years of data.
Is the trend in net income explained by one large factor or several smaller ones?  What is the internal and sustainable growth rate?
6. Read the Company’s 10-K filing with the SEC.  Read Items 1 Business, 1A Risk Factors through Item 7 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. (Example: For Apple this is 42 pages of text.)
Do the managers’ comments agree with your analysis of the numbers?
7. Write your own 2000-word analysis of this company.
Is the company doing better or worse?  What is going well and what seems to not be going well?  Will this company remain in business for the next 5, 10 or 20 years or do you think it will fail?
8. Produce 3 to 5 charts that tell your story about this company’s performance and recent direction.
9. Graph the company’s stock price over the three years in which you collected financial data and compare it to the S&P500 over the same time period.
10.  Would you invest in this company’s stock or not?
If yes – at what price or time period would you sell?  If no – is there any price at which you would be a buyer?  If you wish a more challenging assignment, try to calculate the firm’s beta, WACC, DCF, valuation, etc.

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