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Published: Tuesday, 4/27/2010

Competitors exhibit stock-picking savvy in Blade's School Stock Contest

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

When The Blade's annual School Stock Contest ends Friday, only one team is likely to finish first, but scores of teams will have done what very few financial professionals are able to do: beat the market.

Eleven weeks into the 12-week contest, every one of the 98 teams is in positive territory, and 83 percent of them have outperformed the 14.2 percent gain of the broader market since the contest began Feb. 5.

"It's really remarkable," said Matt Faltys, a vice president at Fifth Third Bank, which tabulates the results and is co-sponsoring the contest with The Blade's Newspaper in Education program.

"I said at the beginning I thought this was going to be a stock-pickers market, and these teams have picked some excellent stocks."

For the seventh-straight week, the BGHS4 team, made up of 18 students in Ron Nickey's Money Skills class at Bowling Green High School, leads the contest, at $58,131, a gain of 45 percent in its imaginary $40,000 portfolio. The team holds computer server maker Juniper Networks, Internet search engine Baidu Inc., resort firm Las Vegas Sands, and motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson.

The Victory team from Lial Catholic School in Whitehouse remains in second place, at $56,370, a gain of 41 percent, and the BosBros team from Rossford Junior High moved up one spot this week into third at $56,353.

The 98 teams are from 33 schools across northwest Ohio. At the start of the contest, each team chose four stocks trading for at least $3 a share. A hypothetical $40,000 was divided evenly among the stocks.

Whichever team has the biggest gain by the contest's end wins and receives $250 for the school and $250 for the team. The school of the second-place team gets $250, and that of the third-place team, $100.

The big surprise heading into the home stretch this week has been the Dragons team from North Point Educational Service Center in Genoa.

The team vaulted from 22nd place last week into fourth, picking up almost 15 percent in one week to sit at $55,934, a gain of 40 percent since the contest began.

The big charge was largely on the strength of two of Dragons' holdings: Columbus-based Huntington Bancshares Inc., which gained 29 percent last week, and Netflix Inc., which went up 17 percent. Both companies reported earnings last week. The team also holds appliance giant Whirlpool Corp. and food maker J.M. Smucker Co.

"We're right at the beginning of earnings season, so we could have some big moves," Mr. Faltys said. "If you look at the values, this thing is still up in the air. It's going to go down to the close on Friday."

Teacher Steve Myers, whose five social studies students in sixth through 10th grades make up the Dragons team, said his students were "very excited" to learn of their big jump. Like many other teams, his students picked stocks with which they were familiar and have spent the last three months watching their performance.

"It only takes one good week," Mr. Myers said.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.




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