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Published: Tuesday, 4/28/2009

$300 divides top 2 teams in final week of competition in Blade's school stock contest

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

With one week remaining in The Blade's school stock contest, the chief question is whether the second-place team can deliver a come-from-behind scoop power slam for the win.

"Holy cow!" Matthew Faltys, vice president and portfolio management director at Fifth Third Bank, exclaimed as he stared at results showing less than $300 separating the "$Maker$" team at Fassett Middle School in Oregon from the first-place "CoD" team from St. Joan of Arc School in Toledo. Fifth Third is co-sponsoring the contest and tabulating results.

The hypothetical portfolio of the Fassett team rose nearly 4 percent to $55,476 last week. That allowed the eighth-grade math students to make up ground on CoD - the initials of a popular video game called Code of Duty - whose portfolio increased a scant $62 to $55,758.

The Fassett team's stocks are Google Inc., Dick's Sporting Goods Inc., Finish Line Inc., and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

The first-place team, which has led for most of the 14-week contest, chose Gamestop Corp., Kohl's Corp., Dick's, and Netflix Inc.

Members of the Fassett team have been encouraged by recent gains, teacher Lynn Medlen said.

"They're so excited," she said. "They know they're very close and it's very doable."

Members of the all-boy team have become so immersed in the stock contest that last week, while classmates debated the National Football League draft, they were focused on events at firms in their portfolios, such as earnings announcements.

"They have picked up a lot of stuff that kids their age usually don't have a clue about," the teacher added.

The Blade's Newspaper in Education program is the other co-sponsor of the contest, which this year involves 1,150 students from 26 schools.

Both teams, Mr. Faltys noted, benefited from a 75 percent gain by Dick's Sporting Goods since the start of the contest Jan. 23.

But either team could win. And given recent market volatility, any of the top seven teams could snag a come-from-behind victory.

In assessing the portfolio picks, Mr. Faltys said many students went for places where they shop, entertainment companies, and video game-related businesses.

When the contest began, teams evenly divided a hypothetical $40,000 among four stocks trading for at least $5 a share. The winner is the portfolio with the biggest gains at the end of the contest Friday.

First place wins $250 for the school and $250 for the team. Second place receives $250 for the school and third $100 for the school.

Contact Gary Pakulski at:

gpakulski@theblade.com

or 419-724-6082.




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