Introduction to Finance: The Role of Financial Markets

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  • Course Orientation
    • In this course, you will be introduced to the basic concepts and skills needed for financial managers to make informed decisions. With an overview of the structure and dynamics of financial markets and commonly used financial instruments, you will get crucial skills to make capital investment decisions. With these skills, you will be ready to understand how to measure returns and risks, and establish the relationship between these two. The focus of this course is on basic concepts and skill sets that will have a direct impact on real-world problems in finance. The course will enable you to understand the role of financial markets and the nature of major securities traded in financial markets. Moreover, you will gain insights into how to make use of financial markets to create value under uncertainty.
  • Module 1: Bond Valuation
    • In this module, you will be introduced to basic terms of bonds: coupons, face value, coupon rate, maturity, and yield to maturity. You will be presented with the ways to value level-coupon bonds and zero-coupon bonds. You will learn why companies would like to have their bonds rated, and what the factors are that determine the bond ratings. You will also identify the structure of bond market and the major players of the bond market.
  • Module 2: Stock Valuation
    • In this module, you will learn the basics of stock valuation. You will be presented with the fundamentals of stock market structure, and how companies issue stocks in the market. In addition to that, you will explore the different types of stocks, including common stocks and preferred stocks. You will also identify/find how to get real-time information of individual stocks, and how to read stock quotes.
  • Module 3: Capital Budgeting
    • This module is the application of the capital budgeting process. First, you will learn/encounter/see/be exposed to some common scenarios when we evaluate which cash flow should be accounted for in the capital budgeting analysis. Then, you will be introduced to the treatment of after-tax salvage value and accelerated depreciation schedule. This information will be combined to determine whether a project is worthwhile to explore or not. You will also discuss the impact of inflation on capital budgeting decisions. As a result, this module will help you establish a big picture of the company’s investment decisions.
  • Module 4: Risk and Return
    • In this module, you will review the historical record of return and risk for major categories of financial instrument, and reveal that there exists a trade-off between risk and return. You will also learn how to calculate return and risk based on the real data collected from financial markets. The trade-off between risk and return reveals that investors should set reasonable expectations of return based on their risk preferences.