# Finance Management Questions

RISK AND RETURN Assume that you recently graduated with major in finance. You just landed a job as a financial planner with Merrill Finch Inc., a large financial services corporation. Your first assignment is to invest \$100,000 for a client. Because the funds are to be invested in a business at the end of 1 year, you have been instructed to plan for a 1-year holding period. Further, you boss has restricted you to the investment alternatives in the following table, shown with their probabilities and associated outcomes. (For now, disregard the items at the bottom of the datayou will fill in the blanks later.)

Returns on Alternative Investments

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Estimated Rate of Return

 State of economy Probability T-bills High Tech Collections U.S. Rubber Market Portfolio 2-stock portfolio Recession 0.1 5.5% (27.0%) 27.0% 6.0%a (17.05) (0.0%) Below Average 0.2 505 (7.0) 13.0 (14.0%) (3.0%) Average 0.4 5.5 15.0 0.0 3.0 10.0 7.5 Above average 0.2 5.5 30.0 (11.0%) 41.0 25.0 Boom 0.1 5.5 45.0 (21.0%) 26.0 38.0 12.0 ^ r 1.0% 9.8% 10.5% 0.0 13.2 18.8 15.2 3.4 CV 13.2 1.9 1.4 0.5 b -0.87 .088

a

Note that the estimated returns of U.S. Rubber do not always move in the same direction as the overall economy. For example, when the economy is below average, consumers purchase fewer tires than they would if the economy was stronger. However, if the economy is in a flat-out recession, a large number of consumers who were planning to purchase a new car may choose to wait and instead purchase new tires for the car that they currently own. Under these circumstances, we would expect U.S. Rubber’s stock price to be higher if there is a recession than if the economy was just below average.

Merrill Finch’s economic forecasting staff has developed probability estimates for the state of the state of the economy; and its security analysts have developed a sophisticated computer program, which was used to estimate the rate of return on each alternative under each state of the economy. High Tech Inc. is an electronics firm, Collections Inc. Collects past- due debts, and U.S. Rubber manufactures tires and various other rubber and plastics products. Merrill Finch also maintains a “Market Portfolio” that owns a market-weighted fraction of all publicly traded stock; you can invest in that portfolio and thus obtain average stock market results. Given the situation described, answer the following question:

a. 1. Why is the T-bill’s return independent of the state of the economy? Do T-bills promise a completely risk-free return? Explain

2. Why are High Tech’s returns expected to move with the economy, whereas Collection’s are expected to move counter to the economy?

b. Calculate the expected rate of return on each alternative and fill in the blanks on the row for ȓ in the previous table.

c. You should recognize that basing a decision solely on expected returns is appropriate only for risk-neutral individuals. Because you client, like most people, is risk-averse, the riskiness of each alternative is an important aspect of the decision. One possible measure of risk is the standard deviation of returns.

1. Calculate this value for each alternative and fill in the blank on the row for σ in the table.

2. What type of risk is measured by the standard deviation?

3. Draw a graph that shows roughly the shape of the probability distributions for High Tech, U.S. Rubber, and T-Bills