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Assignment 1

1. You can chose to work individually or work together in a group with one or two other students. Please contact me at least one week before the deadline to report your group composition and to receive the relevant set of portfolio restrictions that applies for your group.

2. The dataset ISE30.xls contains historical monthly USD returns for the 30 ISE-30 stock funds Jan 2008 – Dec 2012. You may assume that the risk-free interest rate is 4% per annum or 33 basis points (0.33%) per month.

3. Use the sample averages and covariance terms as ‘naïve’ estimates for the future expected returns and covariance terms. The covariance matrix will be of dimension 30 x 30 and it has 900 elements. You may benefit from some clever copy-pasting by making use of ‘absolute’ cell references and ‘relative’ cell references. Team up with somebody with Excel knowledge if you don’t understand the previous sentence.

4. Draw the ‘mean-variance efficient frontier’ for the portfolio choice set that was assigned to you. Make a discrete approximation with 10-20 efficient portfolios for different risk levels. This means that you have to solve the Quadratic programming problem 10-20 times for different risk-return levels. The needed Excel functions are discussed in Chapter 7, Appendix A and B.
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5. Use the ‘indirect method’ based on the covariance matrix; you may use the ‘direct method’ to double check your results. In practice, the ‘direct method’ is not feasible, because we don’t have complete information about security returns in all possible states of the world.

6. Repeat the same procedure after estimating the average returns and covariance matrix based on the market model (Chapter 8) rather than the historical values. In this case, the average return and the standard deviation of the ISE-30 index play an important role. (Note: The ‘direct method’ now does not apply.)

7. Hand-in: Post your .xls file on the F:\ drive in the designated folder. Make sure that your names and student numbers (for all team members) are clearly stated. Also make sure that your steps and assumptions are clearly explained, so that I can understand and replicate your results. Please do not send your assignment by email, for it may get buried in the daily flow of emails. Contact fellow students or CIT if you experience problems uploading on the F:\ drive.

9. You can make the assignments in any statistical software package or simply in Excel. For using Excel spreadsheet software, it is useful to install the add-ins ‘Analysis ToolPak’ and ‘Solver Add-in’.

10. Submitting empty spreadsheets or nonsense answers is considered as non-participation and results in a non-passing grade. Possible violations of the code of honor are submitted to the discipline committee.
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