Foundations for Scientific Investing
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The revised third edition of this book lays a firm foundation for thinking about and conducting investment. It does this by helping to build capital markets intuition and critical thinking skills. The material in this book is the product of 25 years of investment experience and 20 painstaking years of destructive testing in university classrooms. The book has a heavily scientific/quantitative focus, but the material should be accessible to a motivated practitioner or talented individual investor with only high school level mathematics. Although the topic is applied investments, the integration of finance, economics, accounting, pure mathematics, statistics, numerical techniques, and spreadsheets (or programming) make this an ideal capstone course at the advanced undergraduate or master's/MBA level. Although aimed at the advanced undergraduate or masters/MBA level, the careful explanations of a wide range of advanced capital markets topics makes this an excellent book for a U.S. PhD student in need of an easily accessible foundation course in capital markets theory and practice. There are literature reviews of multiple advanced areas. Many research questions are identified that still need to be answered to fill gaps in the literature: these research questions would be ideal for a master's thesis or a chapter of a PhD. The applied nature of the book also makes it ideal for capital markets practitioners. For example, in one exercise, the reader is taken by the hand and walked through construction of a worked spreadsheet example of an active alpha optimization using actual stock market data. The reader gets to build ex-ante alphas, and feed them into an optimization that weighs returns, risk, and transaction costs. A portfolio is rebalanced based on the optimization, and ultimately a backtest is conducted to measure ex post alpha. Other practitioner material includes advanced time value of money exercises, a review of retirement topics, an extensive discussions of dividends, P/E ratios, transaction costs, the CAPM, critiques of the CAPM, value versus growth versus glamour, a comparison of Black-Litterman and Grinold-Kahn approaches to active management, and a review of more than 100 years of stock market performance, and more than 200 years of interest rates. The list of references includes more than 600 works for further study and the index points to over 3,000 items within the book. Every investor needs capital markets intuition and critical thinking skills to conduct confident, deliberate, and skeptical investment. The overarching goal of this book is to help investors build these skills.