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Each of these can be used, but each has serious drawbacks. No. 1 is inaccurate unless you use $N>>10$ years of data. But decades of data may not be available or may no longer be relevant to today's economy. No. 2 is good except that the CAPM has been rejected by empirical tests. More advanced models from Asset Pricing Theory may be helpful (FF3, FF5, ...


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Financial markets & Corporate Strategy - Grinblatt & Titman The book is very intuitive, but as a consequence less comprehensive than ex. Options, Futures, and other Derivatives by Hull (which is seen as the basic foundation of everything quant in some parts of the industry.) A great entry level book to finance, and is publically avaliable here: ...


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If I had to give only one title this would be it: FT Guide to Understanding Finance by J. Estrada (Second Edition published 2011) It explains all of the above concepts (and more) in a very accessible, yet mathematically correct manner. A sample can be found: Here The only thing is that it is not really short (the first part, i.e. up to p. 150, is ...



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