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Finance Analysis of Merck

September 29th, 2009 No comments

Introduction
The nature of financial analysis for a given company or industry has changed dramatically in the last few years. Due to both the exponentially increasing dynamic nature of business, as well as the greatly enhanced ability to gather a wealth of information, making decisions on the viability and stability of a company or industry has grown increasingly complex. One method in determining the overall health of a business is the use of financial ratio analysis. Comparing various facets of a company’s financial performance through its ratios, especially when also comparing these same ratios for peer companies as well as the industry as a whole, can be a useful starting point for any investor. In this paper, we attempt to provide cursory information regarding the financial performance for Merck & Co., a major pharmaceutical provider, through a few ratios computed from the company’s recent financial reports. We also compare Merck with two similar companies in the major drug industry, as well as the industry itself. Using these ratios, it would seem that Merck is slightly under performing in the pharmaceutical industry. Read more…

Corporate Finance Essay

August 20th, 2009 No comments

To fully understand how the business culture has acquired the greed mindset, a look at what a corporation is and defining corporate behavior becomes the starting point. First a corporation is defined as “an association of individuals, created by law and having an existence apart from that of its members as well as distinct and inherent powers and liabilities (Webster Dictionary).” Although made up of people, being separate or apart from its members also equals unaccountability. The question of “who pays when a company goes under” is at the forefront of discussions today.

Corporations are developed to serve society, meet a need or provide a service. Over the years, however, the good intentioned corporation has evolved into a greed machine that has lost site of the community that it serves and the people employed who ultimately perform the work. The steady parade of top executives confessing to engage in price gouging, tax dodges, accounting shams, employee rip-offs, and other shady unacceptable acts are coming to light daily. Unethical and illegal practices are documented from the RJR Nabisco scandals in 1988 to today’s Enron, WorldCom, Merrill Lynch, Arthur Anderson, Xerox, and endless other corporations. The world realizes now that corporate greed is not about one-bad company, but large companies in general that have adopted unacceptable guidelines for corporate behavior and an overall attitude that greed is acceptable. Read more…

Investment Essay

August 20th, 2009 No comments

In the United States, a society plagued by capitalism, investing has become a way of life. To most Americans it begins with opening a savings account and slowly allowing that money to grow through the compounded interest rate over the years. While it may not seem like a big step in generating more income, nonetheless, this is a positive movement in the market of investments. With the many types of investments available knowing which are reliable, or safe, or yield good returns, are just some of the questions on the investors mind. Within each asset class there are investments to suit different kinds of risk, duration, returns and liquidity.

Bank savings account, as stated before, is the simplest kind of short-term investment. The returns on savings account are low when compared to other investments, but the returns are guaranteed by the supplier, in this case the bank. Banks offer security meaning if a bank was to go broke the federal government through the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insures your bank deposits of up to $100,000. Having guaranteed returns means an investment will not lose its value in the short term unlike other investments. The bank pays interest to you account for saving your money with them. Bank fixed term investment also known as certificate of deposit is when you deposit a sum amount of money for a set period usually three, six or twelve months. The money becomes locked away for the fixed term but, in return, you get a higher interest rate than you would receive from a straight savings account. Withdrawing money before the fixed term is over could cost a penalty. With a savings account you are able to withdraw part or all of your money whenever you want, making bank savings account completely liquid. Liquidity is the ease at which an investment can be turned into cash and this property of an investment is very important. Investments that are liquid are ideal for short- term savings, or as a place to hold emergency funds. If your looking for medium to long term goals a bank savings account is not a good investment. Rather try a certificate of deposit, which are good short or medium term investment depending on interest rates. Since interest rates are always changing it??s usually good to have money on fixed term deposit. Read more…

Impact of Psychology on Finance

August 17th, 2009 No comments

For all their flair and boasted smugness, traders are not nearly as rational as they claim to be. This principle, which is in open conflict with the conventional Efficient Market Hypothesis supported by Modern Finance, is at the heart of a new discipline called behavioral finance. These studies target the cross-territory between psychology and finance and have an impressive body of empirical evidence supporting their statements.

What are the most common human frailties preventing the rational decision-making postulated by modern finance theory and conventional economics at large ?

1) Overconfidence, whereby humans do not know what they do not know and widely overstate their own information gathering and analysis capabilities. Illusion of control and a variety of self-attribution biases fall in this category.

2) Prospect theory, which states that human decisions are affected by psychological reference points. For instance, someone who is in a losing position will likely try to get even, whereas someone in a winning position will more likely try to secure his or her gains. Read more…