A better way to evaluate investments — Eric So

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Eric So

In the wake of the economic crisis, many companies these days seem to be undervalued. The current earnings-to-price ratios are high and often market commentators argue that these ratios reflect good opportunities to invest. However, the emergence of undervalued stocks comes at a time of high market uncertainty so it’s more important than ever for investors to identify strong investment opportunities based on a company’s fundamentals. Read More »

Dropping the Ball on Financial Regulation — Simon Johnson

 

MIT Sloan Prof. Simon Johnson

From the New York Times

With regard to financial reform, the outcome of the November election seems straightforward. At the presidential level, the too-big-to-fail banks bet heavily on Mitt Romney and lost; President Obama received relatively few contributions from the financial sector, in contrast to 2008. In Senate races, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio demonstrated that it was possible to win not just without Wall Street money but against Wall Street money. Read More »

“Dark Pools” can improve price discovery in open exchanges — Haoxiang Zhu

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Haoxiang Zhu

When big investors want to execute trades but fear the size of the transaction could move the market, they often go to dark pools—alternative trading systems where orders are not publicly displayed. These opaque trading venues, now accounting for about 12 percent of equity trading volume in the United States, have sparked concern among regulators and in the financial press. With so many transactions occurring out of public view, critics warn that price discovery, the accurate determination of asset prices, will become more difficult. Read More »

From Data to Decisions: Lessons from Davos, 2012

We are at the beginning of the Big Data era, and there is widespread anticipation that this will be a huge benefit to companies. I’ve been attending the World Economic Forum in Davos and in my `Data to Decisions’ panel we heard CEOs tell how Big Data can reinvent everything from CRM to internal processes to product design.

We also heard that there are significant challenges in data sourcing, permission agreements, data quality and of course privacy concerns, as most Big Data is personal data about customers. Fortunately these challenges can be addressed by conventional business practices.

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John Minahan on Action Learning: How Master of Finance students apply classroom skills to real problems

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer John Minahan

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer John Minahan

How has the 2011 European sovereign credit crisis changed the pricing relationship between sovereign bonds and credit default swaps written on those bonds? Why do 401(k) investment options offer daily liquidity when such liquidity is expensive and unnecessary? If one wants to back-test a long-short investment process, how should the fall of 2008 – when shorting in many stocks was banned – be treated in the back-test?

These are just a few of the many fascinating questions our Master of Finance students will study in the 2012 Finance Research Practicum. The Practicum is an action learning course in which students work on research questions posed by external clients, clients for whom an answer to the question is a key element of an important business decision.

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