As The Blade's Stock Market Game enters its last month, the three leaders are the only entrants whose portfolios are in the black.
They are in the same positions as a month ago, but only the top two had gains in their portfolios in the last 30 days.
In first is Garry Mills, of Waterville, whose contest stock package was worth $61,177 at the end of last month.
Second is Jan Rizzo of Sylvania, at $52,669, and third is Tom Moran of Toledo, at $42,468.
Each began the contest Jan. 1 with portfolios worth $40,000.
Scott Anderson, a financial adviser at the Toledo office of Smith Barney, one of the contest's co-sponsors, said the winner may be the contestant whose stocks perform less badly than others.
Said Mr. Mills, "The last time it was a shock that anyone was in the black."
Given the economy and topsy-turvy stock market, he said he has no confidence that he will win the contest with the highest portfolio after the stock markets close on Dec. 31.
"I've been telling my wife that you can't plan on anything because every day is a new day and anything can happen," Mr. Mills said. "If you're in the black, it's a minor miracle this year."
Mr. Mills and Dr. Rizzo, a dentist, each have Emergent BioSolutions Inc., of Rockville, Md., in their portfolios. The stock of the firm that makes an anthrax vaccine has gained 342 percent through Dec. 1 this year.
But both men's other three stocks have sustained considerable losses.
Mr. Mills' good fortune is that his other stocks - Universal Display, down 69 percent; Den-dreon Corp., down 27 percent; and Taiwan Semiconductor, down 34 percent - haven't sustained losses as great as stocks chosen by Dr. Rizzo.
Dr. Rizzo's other stocks are Green Plains Renewable Energy, down 49 percent; Amkor Technology, down 78 percent; and Advanced Micro Devices, down 73 percent.
Contestants had to select two stocks from the New York Stock Exchange and two from Nasdaq by Dec. 31, 2007, and divide an imaginary $40,000 evenly among them.
The top-performing portfolio, even if it is worth less than the original $40,000, wins.
First prize is $200 in cash and a three-day/two-night trip for two, including transportation and hotel, to Chicago, Toronto, or Tampa during 2009.
The trip is provided by contest co-sponsor Central Travel of Toledo.
Second place receives $300 and third place receives $200.
A dartboard portfolio, randomly selected by The Blade's business staff, has slipped 47 percent to $21,071 and is in 177th place.
Other contest leaders and their portfolio values through the first 11 months are: Mary Humpert, Temperance, $38,159; Dan Stacy, Gibsonburg, $36,730; Matt Bowlin, Tiffin, $35,191; Michael Soubeyrand, Holland, $33,589; Jon Dresher, Grand Rapids, $33,392; Steve Swartz, Toledo, $33,198; and Diane Philip, Sylvania, $32,518.
Contact Jon Chavez at: