umuc-finc330-research-project-description

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 ---- FINANCIAL RESEARCH PROJECT -------

Worth 20% of the course grade.

Due date is stated in the course schedule.

THE PROJECT IS DESIGNED TO BE COMPLETED INDIVIDUALLY BY THE STUDENT OR AS
A GROUP.

I SITUATION:

OBJECTIVE

The specific objective of this graded written research exercise is to
prepare an "executive level financial report" to the Chief Financial
Officer (CFO) of a mythical company in which you are employed as a
financial analyst. This report will pertain to the financial evaluation
of a real, publicly-traded, company. It will require independent research
(web-based or library), careful financial analysis, and the proper
application of key financial theories and formulas.

The company that is to be analyzed for this project is McCormick.

SITUATION

You are a financial analyst with your first big assignment. A competitive
technical and economic product evaluation has determined that McCormick (a
real publicly-traded company) is the best potential candidate for a
long-term commitment. Your CEO has asked your CFO to conduct a financial
analysis of McCormick to determine if it is prudent to commit to this
company. Specifically, the question is: will McCormick be financially
viable over the next two to three years?

YOUR SPECIFIC ASSIGNMENT

Your specific assignment is to research, analyze, and prepare a report for
the CFO on the actual financial performance of McCormick. In addition to
reviewing the traditional financial performance indicators, you are also
to review McCormick's past and current stock performance. Your report
includes three parts:

(1) An evaluation of McCormick's financial performance for the last
year. DuPont analysis and analysis of significant financial performance
results are required for the last three years. (See detailed description
below)

(2) An evaluation of McCormick's stock performance for the last year.

(3) Finally, a specific recommendation, with supporting rationale,
as to whether or not McCormick's recent trend in financial and stock
performance is of sufficient financial strength to warrant entering into a
long-term commitment.

To assist you in your task, the CFO has provided the following general
guidance. Since it is recognized that the industry is undergoing a major
contraction, it is very important to comparatively evaluate McCormick's
financial and stock performance trends against its Industry.

You may wish to include all necessary and relevant financial performance
and stock information, trends, and projections in supporting your
recommendation. These factors may include, financial ratio trends and
industry comparatives, capital spending, stock growth, Beta values, credit
rating service valuations, bond rating valuations, and management and
investment reports - when these documents are available.

REPORT REQUIREMENTS

Research and analyze the following information for McCormick.

--Annual Balance Sheets for McCormick for the last three years.

--The Income Statements for McCormick for the last three years.

-- Annual reports, 10K or 10Q

 --Industry norms

---Analysts’ reports on performance

-- Management reports or press releases

Using this information the students have to develop evaluation of the
financial performance for McCormick. (85% of the assignment grade)

-1—Background and Industry (one short paragraph).

-2—Select of most significant financial performance results for the
company: Compare revenue, net income, working capital, total assets for
the last three years and other results of your choice of the company
against the industry or main competitor. Present the table with this
information in your report. Write about 1 page of the analysis of these
financial performance results. (15% of the project grade)

-3—Find financial ratios for the company and its major competitor in the
Internet. Write about 1-2 pages of analysis of the ratio results you
received. (15% of the project grade). Compare the ratio results against
the industry or main competitor.

-4- Evaluate Return on Equity for the company for the last three years
using the DuPont analysis. (10% of the project grade). Compare the
company’s results to a major competitor.

Taking the information from the Income statements and the Balance sheets,
calculate the company’s return on equity using the DuPont technique for
the company for three years. Show your calculation!

Write about 1 page of analysis of the results that you received. Compare
the results to main competitor. If the management of the company would
like to improve their return on equity, what should the management of
these companies do?

-5- Evaluate other areas of financial analysis: capital spending, stock
growth, Beta values, credit rating service valuations (if possible), bond
rating valuations (if possible), etc. Make an overall conclusion about
financial performance of the company during the last years. Compare the
results that you received against the industry or main competitor. 
Summarize the results that you received in 1 page. What are the firm’s
financial strengths and weaknesses? (10% of the project grade)

-6- Collect and evaluate the data about stock performance of the assigned
company's for the last one year. Compare the results that you received
against the industry or main competitor.

Write about 1-2 pages of analysis of the results you received. (20% of the
project grade).

-7- Develop a specific recommendation, with supporting rationale, as to
whether or not the assigned company's recent trend in financial and stock
performance is of sufficient financial strength to warrant entering into a
long-term commitment (about 1 page) (15% of the project grade)

PRESENTATION OF PAPER AND WRITING (15%) of the project grade):

-Organization, Format and Presentation of Paper including the Title page,
Introduction, Body, and Summary (4% of the project grade)

Use of Tables, Figures and Other Graphics to Summarize and Support
Analysis Presented in the Paper (3% of the project grade)

Logical and Smooth Flowing Transitions and Relationships Among Sections of
the Written Report (3% of the project grade)

Research Sources and Significance of Research Information and Data, Use of
APA Citation Methodology (5% of the project grade)

Your final report is to be an executive-level financial report, directed
to the CFO. This report should be about 8 double-spaced typewritten pages
(without tables and graphs). Include suitable comparative, quantitative
and qualitative analyses and conclude with a specific and supported
recommendation on the projected financial viability of McCormick for the
next several years.

Essential research data, financial calculations and other documentation as
necessary to support your recommendation should be referred to in summary
form in your report and attached in detail as enclosures. All major
sources should be referenced. There is no set limit to the size of the
enclosures, but it is recommended that only essential enclosures be
attached. You should use references and bibliography to identify any
remaining supporting documents you wish to include.

The Individual Research Report must be posted to the D2L Student
Assignments as a Attachments are limited to a maximum two files in doc,
docx., xls. xlsx., or rtf. formats. OTHER FORMATS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE, will
not be reviewed and graded.

If these formats are not available, use the following option:

File - Save As – in the bottom of the window for saving file you see “save
as type” – choose type Rich Text Format for doc. file, and previous option
of Excel for Excel file.

 Pdf. files will not be accepted and graded.

All works must be Word processed. Handwritten and scanned work will not be
accepted and graded.

This report is an individual or group effort and must be researched,
developed and prepared by you or your group. All questions related to
this assignment, should be referred to the mythical CFO (i.e., your
instructor).

*****************************************************

Evaluation Rubric for the Research Project.

An evaluation rubric is available for the research project. The evaluation
rubric outlines the specific requirements and elements of the project. It
is suggested that the rubric be used as a guideline for the content,
preparation, and completion of the project.

The rubric will be used for the evaluation and grading of the final
research project.

1. Financial statements analysis of the assigned company (15%)
Virtually no effort to develop financial statements analysis of the
assigned company; not worthy of credit.
Only a superficial effort to develop financial statements analysis of the
assigned company
The project contains some financial statements analysis of the assigned
company, but should be considerably more developed
Good effort is made to develop financial statements analysis of the
assigned company
Excellent and very thorough development and articulation of financial
statements analysis of the assigned company
2. Financial ratio trend analysis of the assigned company and industry
comparatives. (15%)
Virtually no effort to develop financial ratio trends analysis of the
assigned company and industry comparatives; not worthy of credit
Minimal effort to develop financial ratio trends analysis of the assigned
company and industry comparatives.
Some effort made to develop financial ratio trends analysis of the
assigned company and industry comparatives, however the result are not
explained and analyzed.
Good effort to develop financial ratio trends analysis of the assigned
company and industry comparatives, the result are well explained and
analyzed
Excellent and successful effort to implement financial ratio trends
analysis of the assigned company and industry comparatives; very clear
linkages between financial retio results and investment decisions and
recommendations;
3. DuPont analysis of the assigned company. Compare with main competitor.
(10%)
Virtually no effort to develop DuPont analysis of the assigned company 
not worthy of credit
Minimal effort to develop DuPont analysis of the assigned company.
Some effort made to develop DuPont analysis of the assigned company,
however the result are not explained and analyzed.
Good effort to develop DuPont analysis of the assigned company, the result
are well explained and analyzed
Excellent and successful effort to implement DuPont analysis of the
assigned company very clear linkages between DuPont analysis and 
investment decisions and recommendations;
4. Other areas of financial analysis: capital spending, stock growth, Beta
values, credit rating service valuations, bond rating valuations, etc.
(10%)
 Virtually no effort to develop the analysis of the other areas of
financial analysis: capital spending, stock growth, Beta values, credit
rating service valuations, bond rating valuations; unworthy of much
credit
Minimal effort to develop analysis of the areas of financial analysis:
capital spending, stock growth, Beta values, credit rating service
valuations, bond rating valuations
Some effort made to analyze other areas of financial analysis: capital
spending, stock growth, Beta values, credit rating service valuations,
bond rating valuations but gaps are obvious
Very good effort to analyze other areas of financial performance: capital
spending, stock growth, Beta values, credit rating service valuations,
bond rating valuations
Outstanding effort to to analyze other areas of financial analysis:
capital spending, stock growth, Beta values, credit rating service
valuations, bond rating valuations
5. The evaluation of the assigned company's stock performance for the last
year. (20%)
No effort to develop the evaluation of the assigned company's stock
performance for the last year.
Some effort made to develop evaluation of the assigned company's stock
performance for the last year, but analysis is very short and limited
Good effort made to develop the evaluation of the assigned company's stock
performance for the last year, however the result are not explained and
analyzed.
Good effort made to develop the evaluation of the assigned company's
stock performance for the last year, the result are well explained and
analyzed
Excellent and accurate evaluation of the assigned company's stock
performance for the last year; very clear linkages between stock
performance results and investment decisions and recommendations;
6. The student developed specific recommendation, with supporting
rationale, as to whether or not the assigned company's recent trend in
financial and stock performance is of sufficient financial strength to
warrant entering into a long-term commitment. (15%)
Little or no effort to explain linkages between the assigned company's 
financial and stock performance to warrant entering into a long-term
commitment
Some effort made to explain relationships of the assigned company's 
financial and stock performance to warrant entering into a long-term
commitment, the analysis is poor and incomplete.
Some effort made to explain relationships the assigned company's 
financial and stock performance to warrant entering into a long-term
commitment, but there are significant gaps in the analysis
Very good effort made to explain relationships the assigned company's
recent trend in financial and stock performance to recommend entering into
a long-term commitment. There are no significant gaps in the analysis
Outstanding and very thorough effort to explain relationships the assigned
company's recent trend in financial and stock performance. The results are
sufficient to warrant entering into a long-term commitment.
PRESENTATION OF PAPER AND WRITING




7. Organization, Format and Presentation of Paper including Introduction,
Body, and Summary (4%)
There appears to be no logical organization of the paper's contents
Presentation has numerous blemishes and there may be a general lack of
organization
Paper has some blemishes in presentation and may have some weaknesses in
organization
Paper is neatly presented without major blemishes and is generally
well-organized
Paper is extremely neat and has no blemishes; its organization is
outstanding and very easily followed
8. Use of Tables, Figures and Other Graphics to Summarize and Support
Analysis Presented in the Paper (3%)
Use of tables, figures and other graphics in support of paper is unworthy
of credit
Tables, figures and other graphics do not provide much support for the
paper; they may have inadequate labels; and numbering sequence is
inadequate
Tables, figures and other graphics provide marginal support for the paper;
some labels may be incomplete; there may be some problems with the
numbering sequence
Tables, figures and other graphics are descriptive and provide solid
support for the paper; they are properly labeled and numbered
Tables, figures and other graphics are very descriptive and provide
exceptionally strong support for the paper; there are no errors in labels
or in the numbering sequence
9. Logical and Smooth Flowing Transitions and Relationships Among Sections
of the Written Report (3%)
No effort made to provide appropriate transitions
Paper makes minimal use of transitions
Some transitions used in paper
Good transitions used in most sections
Very effective transitions are used throughout the written analysis
RESEARCH APPROACH AND USE OF APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL SOURCES OF
INFORMATION AND DATA

10. Research Sources and Significance of Research Information and Data,
Use of APA Citation Methodology, use of double spaced, with one-inch
margins, and use 12-point Times New Roman font. (5%)
No obvious effort to use professional and supporting research sources
Little effort made to use appropriate professional and supporting research
sources which may be accompanied by inadequate documentation
Some effort to identify and use appropriate and professional and
supporting research sources with some documentation
Good effort to identify and use appropriate and professional and
supporting research sources; appropriate and professional use of APA
documentation, use of double spaced, with one-inch margins, and use
12-point Times New Roman font.
Excellent and successful effort to identify and use appropriate and
professional research sources including Library Search Engines, Websites,
S&P, SEC, stock exchanges, Morningstar, NYSE, Competitors, 10K Report,
analyst reports, news releases, articles, etc.; appropriate and accurate
documentation
  

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