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Financial Analytics in Spreadsheets

Learn how to build a graphical dashboard with spreadsheets to track the performance of financial securities.

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4 Hours15 Videos56 Exercises16,783 Learners4650 XPFinance Fundamentals Track

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Course Description

Monitoring the evolution of traded assets is key in finance. In this course, you will learn how to build a graphical dashboard with spreadsheets to track the performance of financial securities. You will focus on historical prices and dividends of the hypothetical stock ABC. You will learn how to visualize its prices, how to measure essential reward and risk indicators, and see if your investment in ABC outperformed a benchmark index. At the end of the course, you should be able to use spreadsheets to build great monitoring tools used by traders and financial analysts in their day-to-day business life!

  1. 1

    Monitoring historical prices


    In the first chapter, you’ll be introduced to the problem: you have a time series of monthly (historical) prices for the hypothetical stock ABC from which you have to extract some meaningful information. You’ll be given some definitions (what is a stock? what are dividends?), and at the end of the chapter, you’ll be able to graphically represent the evolution of a stock price over a specific period.

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    Introduction and first metrics
    50 xp
    What is a stock?
    50 xp
    Count prices and dividends
    100 xp
    Find minimum and maximum prices
    100 xp
    Find minimum and maximum dividends
    100 xp
    Identifying dates with unusual prices
    50 xp
    Find price at a given date
    100 xp
    Find dates with minimum and maximum prices
    100 xp
    Visualizing the price evolution
    50 xp
    Plot a line chart of historical prices
    100 xp
    Customize the chart
    100 xp
    Highlight minimum and maximum prices
    100 xp
  2. 3

    Monitoring the distribution of returns

    In this chapter, you'll look at the full distribution of historical returns. First, you’ll learn how to build a histogram to describe the distribution of historical returns. Second, you’ll be introduced to the Gaussian distribution, a commonly used model for stock returns. You'll visually inspect if the Gaussian model is reasonable for the ABC stock returns. Finally, you'll understand potential flaws with the Gaussian model.

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  3. 4

    Benchmarking performance

    In this final chapter, you’ll benchmark ABC stock against a market index and verify whether ABC outperformed the benchmark or not. The comparison process will be done through several steps/metrics. First, you’ll analyze the cumulative wealth. Next, you’ll extend the comparison using different indicators such as Sharpe Ratio and Drawdown. Finally, you’ll examine the linear relation between ABC stock and the benchmark through the correlation coefficient. At the end of the chapter, you’ll be introduced to more powerful and advanced spreadsheet features that introduce interactivity in your analysis.

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In the following tracks

Finance Fundamentals


Stock ABC


chesterChester Ismaysara-billenSara Billen
David Ardia Headshot

David Ardia

Professor of Quantitative Methods for Finance

David is professor of quantitative methods for finance. His research lies in the areas of econometrics, quantitative finance, and risk management. In 2018, he was elected “Swiss risk manager of the year” by the Swiss Risk Association. He is a big fan of open-source initiatives and is the co-author of several R packages such as "DEoptim", "GAS", "MSGARCH", and "sentometrics". He is a member of the Sentometrics organization. When he does not code, he plays a foodie in downtown Montréal. For more details go here.
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Riccardo Mancini Headshot

Riccardo Mancini

Freelance Quantitative Analyst

Riccardo is a Market Risk Analyst for a financial services firm. He is passionate about coding in R, quantitative models applied to finance, and… soccer!
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