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Published: Tuesday, 12/10/2002

Leader hangs on in Blade stock game

With less than a month remaining in The Blade's year-long Stock Market Game reader portfolio contest, Monroe car dealer Edwin Harwood hangs on to the top spot among 1,300 entrants.

A the end of November, Mr. Harwood's portfolio of mostly gold-related stocks had mythical value of $65,766, up 64 percent from the starting point of $40,000, according to the Toledo office of Salomon Smith Barney, tabulator of results and a contest co-sponsor.

With the uncertainties in the Mideast, gold remains a winner in the marketplace, and Mr. Harwood will be hard to catch, said Ben Padilla, vice president of investments for the brokerage.

Mr. Harwood, general manager of Ed Harwood Buick Pontiac, has been in the lead since the end of May. His superstar has been Royal Gold, Inc., a “safe haven” stock that gained 228 percent in the first 11 months of 2002. His other choices included Newmont Mining Corp., up 23 percent, and ASA Ltd., up 50 percent. His only loser so far is Symyx Technologies, Inc., which markets technology for the discovery of new chemicals and materials, down 43 percent.

The contestant whose hypothetical portfolio gains the most by the end of the year wins a trip for two to a Las Vegas resort or Disney World, arranged for by Atlas World Travel, the other contest co-sponsor. The second-place winner will get $300 cash, and the third-place finisher will get $100. Each contestant started with a mythical stash of $40,000, divided equally among two stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and two Nasdaq stocks.

Mr. Harwood's portfolio value is nearly $6,000 ahead of the No. 2 contestant, Karen Schroeder, of Bowling Green, with a value of $60,137. Several entrants are in the $55,000 range, headed by Betsy Bogusz, of Toledo, at $55,732.

Others in the top 10 are: 4. Ron Grant, Sr., Swanton, $55,415; 5. William Wynn, Port Clinton, $55,160; 6. Carol Lynch, Toledo, $55,114; 7. Susan Darmofal, Toledo, $54,284; 8. Joe Buehler, Holland, $53,113; 9. Phyllis Bixler, Toledo, $53,100, and 10. Debbie Hyndman, Toledo, $51,759.

Of four challenge portfolios, the best so far was submitted by Jane Sullivan, a Toledo elementary school teacher. Her portfolio was up 2 percent at the end of November, thanks mostly to the performance of Halliburton Co., up 63 percent. Best of the rest was The Blade's “dartboard portfolio,” chosen at random, down 8 percent.

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