Dr. Sarah's Stock Market Homework - 1 Per Person

Purpose: To learn about the stock market market, continue to learn about advance searches on the web, and transition from Financial Mathematics to Statistics, our next segment.
Open up a web browser and go to the class highlights page and then this stock market homework.


Click on http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=msft&d=b. Skim over this page. At the top of the table, you will see MICROSOFT CP (NasdaqNM:MSFT) - More Info: News , Msgs , Profile , Research , Insider , Options
Click on Profile and skim this page.
  • What is Bill Gates' salary?
    Hit the "Back" key and then click on Research and skim this page.
  • Under Earnings History, in Jun. 2000 the earnings estimate as .41 per share, while the actual earnings were .44. Figure out how the % Surprise was calculated, and show your work here:

    Finding Stocks with Appalachian in the Name

    Type in or click on http://finance.yahoo.com/l Type Appalachian and then hit Lookup so that yahoo can return stocks which have Appalachian in the name. Click on AJA (Appalachian Power Company) and then click on Chart, located just under More Info in the table. Notice that this offers much less info than Microsoft. In fact, there is no profile which describes the company. To find out more info, type in or click on http://www.altavista.com. Under Search for: Type in the following exactly as you see it: Appalachian
  • How many pages of links does altavista find?
    Now search with +"Appalachian Power Company" +AJA Recall that quotes tell the search engine to find pages with that phrase in it, while + is used to tell it to find that word in it. Hit the Search Button.
  • How many documents did AltaVista find matching our query?
    Next search with +"Appalachian Power" +AJA
    (notice that I took off the word company).
  • How many web pages does Altavista bring up now?
    Click on StockMaster.com Chart for Appalachian Power 8% Jr Debs. Above the table, you will see For AJA: Quote & Chart - Guru Analysis - News - Profile - Financials - SEC - Earnings History - Message Board - Baseline Report. Click on Profile. You can read about the company. The point of this exercise is to show that a small difference in wording can make a big difference in searching, to show that sometimes creative searching is needed to find reasonable info on the web, and to give you the tools needed to do advanced searches on your own.

    Finding a Stock to "Buy" and Track

    Find a stock that you are interested in "buying" and tracking. You must pick a stock that is actively traded day-to-day, something other than MSFT (which I will track) and it must be a stock with a name containing 1,2, 3 or 4 symbols (ie A, AB, ABC, or ABCD). Here are a couple of other places to look for stocks
    finance.yahoo.com/l    (that last letter is the letter "l" not the number 1)
  • What is your stock symbol name?

  • What does this symbol stand for?
    Tip - when on a stock page, hit Reload to update the pages, which change every 20 minutes or so.

    Total "Purchase" Price

    In the table of the stock, you may see Bid and Ask. Bid is the selling price, and Ask is the asking price that you must purchase at. For example, on Friday, MSFT's Ask price at the time that I "purchased" was 61 13/16.
  • What is your Ask price?

    Note that if the market is closed, or if your stock does not have 4 letters, then you may see n/a next to bid and ask. Each stock does have bid/ask prices, but only the Nasdaq stocks are publicly available (you could get the others by having an account at e-trade, or by asking a stock broker, but that is too complicated for now.)
    So, if you have less than 4 letters in your stock's name, then take the current price and write that down here.
    Your bid price will be the current price -1/8, while your ask price will be the current price +1/8, so now fill in your ask price above. There is even a company (called NITE) that makes money off the difference between the bid and ask price!

  • Note that the Ask price is a price per share. We will "buy" 100 shares, so multiply your Ask price by 100. What is this amount of money?

    But this isn't the total cost, since we must also pay a commission fee. The following is from e-trade.
    Nasdaq (4 symbol name): 19.95
    Other: 1, 2 or 3 symbols: 14.95
    You pay these fees each time you buy or sell. They may seem high, but standard commission fees were a couple of hundred dollars before the (relatively recent) advent of internet trading sites.

  • What is the total cost of purchasing your stock ( Ask price x 100 + commision fee)

    Reading and Posting on the WebCT Bulletin Board

    Log onto WebCT using your login and password (both are the same). Click on Bulletin Board. If you have a lot of messages show up, then that means that you have not been keeping up with the bulletin board, so click on Catch Up All, and then OK. Click on Forum, then stock market (from the bottom). It should say Click on Show All and read the message entitled Dr. Sarah MSFT.
    Click on blue, underlined WebCt Home and then click back into bulletin board. It should say Click Compose. Above the Subject Line, you will see Forum
    Change the Forum from Main to stock market
    As a subject, enter your name and stock symbol.
    Type a message similar to my MSFT message. Your message should include your stock and a brief description, and your work done to calculate your total "purchase" price.

    You should check and read all new bulletin board messages at least twice every week

    Homework and Following your Stock

    Read pages 121 - 128 in the textbook and use the information that you've learned to do more research on your stock. Follow your stock a couple of times during the week. You will be assigned more homework on Tuesday.