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Published: Tuesday, 3/30/2010

Most teams switch stocks and positions in standings in Blade's School Stock Contest

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Change was the winner last week during The Blade's School Stock contest as stocks changed their values, teams changed their stocks, and almost all but the very top team changed position.

For the second straight week, the BGHS4 team from Bowling Green High School remained atop the leader board with an imaginary portfolio valued at $51,784. The 17 students in Ron Nickey's Practical Money Skills class at the school benefited from a strong performance last week of its holdings in Las Vegas Sands Hotels, which shot up 12 percent in just a week.

But BGHS4 has new teams hot on its heels. The BosBros team, a group of boys in Bo Evarts' honors algebra class at Rossford Junior High, leapt into second place from eighth position last week, picking up more than 6 percent in a week to a value of $49,342.

This week's third-place team, $MAKER$, from St. Joan of Arc

School in Toledo, moved from fourth into third place at $48,705.

"We had a lot of movement last week, driven by a couple top names," said Matt Faltys, vice president and director of portfolio management for Fifth Third Bank, which co-sponsors the contest.

Last week, teams were allowed to switch out up to four of their holdings for other stocks, and just over half of the 98 teams did so.

BosBros made a switch, picking up Callon Petroleum Co., a Gulf Coast energy company that shot up 17 percent last week and was up again yesterday.

"They picked a stock that clearly had a lot of momentum behind it, and it's continued to run," Mr. Faltys said.

The contest also is co-sponsored by The Blade's Newspaper in Education program. A total of 98 teams from 33 schools across northwest Ohio are competing, and each team chose a portfolio of four stocks trading for at least $3 a share. A hypothetical $40,000 at the outset was divided evenly among the stocks.

The winner is the portfolio with the biggest gains at the contest's end on April 30.

The winner receives $250 for the school and $250 for the team. The school of the second-place team gets $250; the third place school, $100.

Though 50 of the 98 teams opted to change one or more of their holdings, remarkably, 70 of the 98 teams are beating the broader market gains of 9.8 percent since the start of the contest, Mr. Faltys said.

Seven weeks into the contest, all 98 teams are in the black.

"I don't remember the contest having so many teams positive like we've had," Mr. Faltys said.

Mr. Evarts said his students are on their spring break this week but are still following the contest online. He said they had argued about adding Callon to their portfolio, along with transportation manufacturer Wabash National Corp., but chose the two companies after their research determined they were ready for a run.

The team also holds Harley-Davidson Inc. and Telestone Technologies Corp.

"They like the quick reward," Mr. Evarts said.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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