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Published: Tuesday, 3/15/2005

All-retail portfolio puts new team in 3rd at halfway mark

At the halfway point of the 16-week Blade Student Stock Contest, the same two teams have held the lead for six weeks, but a new team is in third place - with an all-retail portfolio.

The Pburgstox team at Perrysburg Junior High School, which had been as low as 13th among the 22 teams in the contest, has steadily moved up from sixth place to fifth to third in recent weeks.

"They went on what they knew," said Stephanie Tanner, teacher of the five students who chose the portfolio.

"We talked about how they're consumers and the items they consume are the same items others consume, and clothing and food were at the top of the list," added Ms. Tanner, who entered three teams, involving 17 gifted eighth graders.

Pburgstock chose American Eagle Outfitters Inc., a retailer of casual clothing, up 17 percent after a 2-for-1 stock split this month; Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., a restaurant operator and franchisor, up a fraction of 1 percent; Guitar Center Inc., a retailer of guitars and other instruments, up 4 percent; and Starbucks Corp., the coffee retailer, down 5 percent since the contest started Jan. 14.

Altogether, about 250 students from 14 northwest Ohio schools are competing in the contest, which also is sponsored by the Sky Investments unit of Sky Bank and by The Blade's Newspapers in Education program. Prizes are $250 in cash for the winning school plus $250 in gift certificates for the winning team; $150 for the second-place school, and $100 for the third-place school.

Teams picked four stocks, each trading at $5 or over, and a hypothetical $40,000 portfolio was equally divided among the four stocks. The portfolio with the highest value on April 29 wins.

"The market was pretty hard on the kids' portfolios last week," said Brian Linn, a Sky vice president who is tabulating contest results. Despite some good economic news, the market was down last week, about 1.5 percent.

"It's good that the market moves up and down," he said. "It's a good lesson in the need to diversify."

Remaining in first place is the Survivors team form Clay High School, which chose Home Depot Inc.; Hershey Foods Corp.; KCS Energy Inc., an oil and gas company; and Wesco International Inc., a supplier of electrical construction products. That team's portfolio is up nearly 10 percent.

At the halfway point, eight of the 22 portfolios are in the black.



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