With time ticking down on The Blade's School Stock Contest, a junior high school team from Sylvania widened its lead over the next closest competitor.
"We have a lead we are confident we can hold as long as oil prices remain high," said Ross Deye, advisor to StokAH8 at Arbor Hills Junior High School. The contest, which began Jan. 19, ends Friday.
The growth of the team's imaginary portfolio has been fueled in large part by gains of two energy stocks: Valero Energy Corp. and Peabody Energy Corp. The team, which consists of eight seventh-graders in a computer applications class, also owns Trend Micro Inc., an internet security firm, and Invitrogen Corp., a maker of research tools.
As of Friday, the portfolio was up 23 percent to $49,185.
The second-place team, Makndoh, 18 eighth-grade algebra students at Gateway Middle School in Maumee, was up 19 percent to $47,668. The gap between the two teams is slightly larger than in the previous week, when the Arbor Hill team moved into first place.
Entered in the contest are 95 teams with a total of 1,350 members, from 37 schools in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Each team started with an imaginary portfolio divided evenly among four stocks selling for more than $5 a share.
Midway into the four-month contest, teams were allowed to change one or all of their stocks.
The team whose portfolio increases the most by the end of regular trading Friday will receive $250 for itself and $250 for its school. Second place receives $150 for its school, and third place $100 for its school.
Last week, the biggest gains were made by teams with MasterCard, up more than 18 percent by week's end, and Apple Computer, up 10 percent.
"Of the top 15 teams, five had either MasterCard or Apple," said Matthew Faltys, vice president and director of portfolio management for Fifth Third Bank (Northwestern Ohio), a contest co-sponsor.
Nearly 80 percent of teams were in positive territory.
With one week to go, the Arbor Hills team appears to have an insurmountable lead, Mr. Faltys said. "I don't know that anybody could catch them. It would take a stumble on their part. But they own energy stocks and they have been volatile. They have biotech, which could turn on them in a moment's notice."
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