Excel reader challenge

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

August is traditionally a lighter time of year for CPAs, and in that spirit I’m offering another reader challenge designed to test your Excel skills. I’ve published an Excel workbook at carltoncollins.com/stockchallenge.xlsx that contains weekly stock price information for 10 stocks during 2013. Here’s the challenge: Download the workbook, start the 2013 year with $10,000 in cash, and identify no more than 10 buy trades and 10 sell trades that will produce the maximum growth by Dec. 31, 2013. Your goal should be to produce a workbook that returns the top 10 trade recommendations automatically, even if the original source data (ticker symbols and stock price data) are changed. Send your workbook solution to me at carlton@asaesearch.com. Tell me which trades you would make and when, indicate how much your $10,000 investment would be worth at the end of the year, and include explanations and well-labeled cells so I can follow your logic and calculations.

To keep it simpler, I’m asking you to ignore dividends, transaction fees, and commissions related to the purchase and sale of stocks. As I did with last year’s Excel challenge, I will publish and periodically update a summary of your responses at carltoncollins.com/trades.html. Good luck.

J. Carlton Collins ( carlton@asaresearch.com ) is a technology consultant, CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2013, 2010, and 2007 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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