For three of the first four weeks in The Blade's 16-week School Stock contest, the same team from Bowling Green High School has led, but a Scott High School team has narrowed the gap.
And a new team, a group of 11 eighth graders from Otsego Middle School, has vaulted into third place thanks to some unusual picks.
"It was a pretty interesting week," said Matthew Faltys, vice president and director of portfolio management for Fifth Third Bank (Northwestern Ohio), a contest co-sponsor and tabulator of results. Another co-sponsor in the contest - involving more than 600 students in 36 teams from 21 northwest Ohio schools - is The Blade's Newspaper in Education program.
The teams are competing for prizes including $250 for the first-place team and $250 for the school, $150 for the second-place school, and $100 for the third-place team's school.
Each team chose four stocks trading at $5 or more at the start of the contest, Jan. 13, and each stock was allotted a fourth of the hypothetical $40,000 portfolio per team. The team with the most portfolio growth by May 5 wins the contest.
A fourth of the way through the contest, just nine teams are in the black.
Many teams have been hurt by popular stocks that have fallen, Mr. Faltys said. Of note, Apple Computer Inc., in 13 of the portfolios, is down 21 percent, and Internet giant Google Inc., in eight portfolios, is down 22 percent.
TheLegGp, the Bowling Green team of six sophomore history students - named for captain Stefan Legg - remains in first with its portfolio of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., a maker of integrated circuits, up 17 percent; Panera Bread Co., up 17 percent; Seagate Technology, a hard-drive manufacturer, up 4 percent; and Alliant Techsystems Inc., an aerospace and defense firm, down 4 percent.
DECA-srs, 18 senior marketing students at Scott, are in second.
The team chose Sony Corp., up 11 percent; Pixar, a digital-animation firm being acquired by the Walt Disney Co., up 8 percent; and DaimlerChrysler AG, up 6 percent. Its only loser was Sprint Nextel Corp., down less than 1 percent.
Moving into third place was NdaBlack, a team entered by Otsego teacher Molly Whitmer. "They'll be very excited," she said.
The team did well despite having Apple in its portfolio, said Mr. Faltys. "The other three stocks more than made up for it."
They are Maumee-based The Andersons Inc., up 18 percent; Jones Soda Co., up 17 percent, and Sony, up 11 percent. Seattle-based Jones Soda, marketer of pop, tea, and juices, is an inexpensive stock, which sold for just $5.72 at the start of the contest.
Following are the participating teams, schools and cities, and portfolio values as of Friday:
1. TheLegGp, Bowling Green High, $43,184.
2. DECA-srs, Scott High, Toledo, $42,530.
3. NdaBlack, Otsego Middle, Grand Rapids, $42,476.
4. Jobbers, Rossford Jr., $41,840.
5. Benjamin, Bowling Green High, $41,508.
6. BlueStar, Jones Jr., Toledo, $41,437.
7. SJJ1, St. John's Jesuit, Toledo, $41,364.
8. ZapaloCo, Bluffton High, $40,849.
9. DECA-jrs, Scott High, Toledo, $40,176.
10. Tizzie, Bowling Green High, $39,944.
11. CaplEdge, Christ the King, Toledo, $39,812.
12. Moneymen, county Educational Service Center, Genoa, $39,794.
13. DaSmartz, Toth Elem., Perrysburg, $39,755.
14. PC DECA, Port Clinton High, 39,728.
15. TheBAAE's, Bowling Green High, $39,578.
16. ABEC, Rossford Jr., $39,577.
17. Mnybagz, Christ the King, Toledo, $39,272.
18. E.C.O.'s, Toledo Accelerated, $39,101.
19. $tars, county Educational Service Center, Genoa, $38,934.
20. Weirdos, Jones Jr., Toledo, $38,442.
21. AH-Trade, Arbor Hills Jr., Sylvania, $38,140.
22. Suniweck, Rossford Jr., $37,820.
23. KimsKids, Woodmore Elem., Woodville, $37,557.
24. BigBucks, St. Pius X, Toledo, $37,484.
25. Strycool, Stryker Elem., $37,460.
26. AveJohns, St. John's Jesuit, Toledo, $37,417.
27. B-Dazzle, Bowling Green High, $37,168.
28. $Makers, Toledo Accelerated, $36,690.
29. Panthers, Stryker Elem., $36,677.
30. Lions, Life Skills Center, Toledo, $36,457.
31. BG Stock, Bowling Green High, $36,112.
32. Lucky7's, Christ the King, Toledo, $36,064.
33. Rebels23, Bowsher High, Toledo, $35,741.
34. Ze Frans, Frank Elem., Perrysburg, $35,542.
35. Stockers, Fairfield Elem., Maumee, $34,428.
36. Prpl Cow, Clay High, Oregon, $33,723.