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Published: Saturday, 9/7/2002

Gold shares help contest leader stay on top


Monroe car dealer Edwin Harwood retained his lead position in The Blade's Stock Market Game last month, his third lead this year, with a carefully chosen portfolio dominated by gold stocks.

By the end of August, the mythical portfolio of Ed Harwood Buick Pontiac's general manager had gained 58 percent to $63,379. The game's nearly 1,300 entrants each started with a hypothetical value of $40,000 split equally among two stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and two on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The contestant with the highest portfolio value at the end of the year wins a trip for two to a Las Vegas resort or Walt Disney World arranged by Atlas World Travel, a contest co-sponsor. Second prize is $300 cash, and third place is worth $100 cash.

Mr. Harwood, who first appeared in the contest's top spot in May, said he was confident his picks would be competitive in August and has a shot at winning.

The market last month attempted a rebound, but it didn't succeed, said Steve Mayor, first vice president at Salomon Smith Barney's Sylvania Township main office. The brokerage is another contest co-sponsor.

Mr. Harwood, who studied the market late last year and concluded gold was undervalued, found a big gainer in Royal Gold, Inc. Stock in the Denver firm, which acquires and manages precious metals royalties, is up nearly 190 percent.

His other gold-related stocks, ASA Ltd. and Newmont Mining Corp., are up nearly 50 percent. But his fourth stock, Symyx Technologies, Inc., a firm providing technology for the discovery of new materials, was down 50 percent through August.

Robert Connelly of Perrysburg was in second place last month, with a portfolio that was up 47 percent at $58,883. In third place was Karen Schroeder of Bowling Green, with a portfolio worth $54,582, up 36 percent.

Rounding out the top 10 was Barry Kinsey, Monroe, $48,677; Betsy Bogusz, Toledo, $47,598; Phyllis Bixler, Toledo, $46,908; Don Gambill, Camden, Mich., $46,853; Keith Anderson, Tiffin, $46,758; Ron Grant, Sr., Swanton, $46,694; and David Dillon, Sylvania, $46,630.

Among three professional challengers, meanwhile, Toledo schoolteacher and investment club member Jane Sullivan's portfolio fared best with picks that were down 14 percent. The Blade Business Desk's “dartboard portfolio” - made up of stocks chosen at random - was down 1 percent.

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