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Published: Tuesday, 2/10/2009

Luckey team takes over top spot in Blade's School Stock Contest

BLADE STAFF

Conventional wisdom says it's better to be lucky than good.

But in an unusual twist, the new leader this week in The Blade's School Stock Contest is both Luckey and good.

Following a week in which its imaginary portfolio gained 14 percent, the Eagle$ team from Luckey Elementary School jumped into first place from its previous 11th spot.

Their portfolio of Mastercard Inc., First Solar Inc., Harley-Davidson Inc., and KeyCorp rose to $47,247, up 18 percent for the contest. Behind them was another Luckey Elementary team, $oRrY:), whose portfolio was at $46,080, up 15 percent.

Last week's leader, the Pe@ce:) team from Rossford Junior High, gained 10 percent last week but still fell to third at $46,051.

"We talked about all the opportunities and whether to pick safely or pick something that had been in the news and could be getting some bailout funds," said Eric Ward, a Luckey Elementary math teacher who is overseeing 11 teams of fifth graders in the 14-week contest.

As of week two, Luckey Elementary teams held first, second, fourth, 17th, and 19th places out of 101 teams.

Mr. Ward said that although he let each team make its own stock picks, "some of the groups are comprised of riskier personalities that tended to go with those riskier stocks."

One Eagle$ team member spent seven weeks researching Mastercard, which gained 20 percent last week. KeyCorp was up 16 percent, and Harley was up 18 percent. First Solar was up just 2 percent for the week.

"The financials sector had a huge run last week. The leading team is one of the few that had two financial services firms in its portfolio," said Matt Faltys, vice president and director of portfolio management for Fifth

Third Bank, which is tabulating the results and is a contest co-sponsor. The other contest co-sponsor is The Blade's Newspaper in Education program.

"They came up with their picks completely on their own," Mr. Ward said. "One of the students was even trying to call in to Mad Money [on CNBC] to get advice from Jim Cramer," he said.

The contest began Jan. 23 and ends May 1. Teams submitted a portfolio of four U.S. stocks, with each stock worth at least $5 a share. A fictitious $40,000 was divided evenly among the choices.

At the midway point, on March 13, teams can change any or all of their stocks, and the team whose portfolio value has grown the most by the close of trading on May 1 wins $250 for the school and $250 for the team. Second place receives $250 for the school, and third place gets $100 for the school.

- Jon Chavez




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