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Published: Tuesday, 3/31/2009

Athletic shoes' stock helps Fassett team sprint to lead

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

During The Blade's 14-week school stock contest, every team hopes to be in the running for the top spot.

But last week the "$Maker$" team from Fassett Middle School in Oregon used running to reach first place. The seven-member team of eighth-grade math students is the only one that selected the Finish Line, a retail chain specializing in athletic shoes.

Finish Line's stock gained 20 percent last week - to $6.69 a share - rocketing the team from third place to first with an imaginary portfolio of $49,021.57, up nearly 10 percent for the week. The team's other three stocks are Google Inc., Dick's Sporting Goods Inc., and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

Teacher Lynn Medlen said before the contest there was haggling over choosing Finish Line. "We didn't know if that was going to be a good one or not. The kids debated where would they shop, what would they do, and how they would it do in the current economy," she said.

"But this is a class of all boys. Some who are athletes are into running," Ms. Medlen said. "They knew that track season was com-ing up and that people would be buying [athletic] shoes."

Matt Faltys, vice president and portfolio management director for Fifth Third Bank, which is tabulating the results and co-sponsoring the contest with The Blade's Newspaper in Education program, said Finish Line's earnings came out last week and beat analysts' estimates, causing its stock to rise.

The second and third place teams, the "CoD" team from St. Joan of Arc school and "Wlfpal$" from Luckey Elementary, respectively, did well for the week, Mr. Faltys said. CoD's portfolio was up to $48,953.51 and Wlfpal$'s was $47,511.10

A total of 1,150 students and 101 teams from 26 schools are participating. Each team started with an imaginary $40,000 divided evenly among four stocks they chose with a value of at least $5 each. The team whose portfolio grows the most by May 1 when the contest ends wins.

First place earns $500, split between the team and its school; second place gets $250 for the school, and third place gets $100 for the school.

With five weeks left, 63 teams have portfolios in the black, which is remarkable, Mr. Faltys said. "For the week, the S&P 500 was up 6.21 percent, and 68 teams beat the S&P. That's pretty good," he said.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.




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