The top three finishers out of 36 teams in The Blade School Stock contest all had The Andersons Inc. in their portfolios, and it proved to be an excellent choice: up 137 percent from Jan. 13 to the close of the contest Friday.
But the winner needed something extra.
NdaBlack, a team of 11 eighth-grade honors English-arts students at Otsego Middle School in Grand Rapids, got that boost from Jones Soda Co., a soft-drink maker whose stock gained 60 percent in the contest period, and from Sony Corp., the electronics firm, up 13 percent. Its only loser was Apple Computer Inc., down 16 percent.
The team's portfolio of four stocks stood at $59,362 Friday, up 48 percent from the hypothetical $40,000 each of the teams from 21 northwest Ohio schools started with. The school gets $250 and the team gets $250 for first place.
Teacher Molly Whitmer said she was gratified that her class redeemed itself from its finish in last year's contest, 20th out of 22 teams. This year the team led the contest for its last several weeks.
"It's a good lesson for them to see how the stock market can go either way," she said. "The Andersons did so well, but the students also learned how important it is to have a diversified portfolio."
Mike Hannewald, who lives on a farm near Waterville and whose father is a former truck driver for The Andersons, pushed for the northwest Ohio agribusiness.
"I followed it last year and it did pretty well," he said. He added that after the company got into the ethanol industry "it has gone up consistently."
During the contest, The Andersons went from $46.44 to $110.20 per share.
The 16-week contest was co-sponsored by Fifth Third Bank (Northwestern Ohio), which tracked contest results, and The Blade's Newspaper in Education program.
The teams, representing more than 600 students in the region, each submitted portfolios of four stocks, each trading for $5 per share or more on Jan. 13. A hypothetical portfolio of $40,000 per team was divided equally among the four stocks.
"There was some great stock picking," said Matthew Faltys, vice president and director of portfolio management for Fifth Third. Twenty-two of the 36 teams ended up in positive territory.
He noted that at times during the contest, only a few teams were in the black, but the stock market
turnaround in recent weeks helped many portfolios.
In second place was the Jobbers, a team of 12 eighth graders from Rossford Junior High School, with a portfolio value of $54,143, up 35 percent. They had The Andersons; retailer Best Buy Inc., up 22 percent; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., up less than 1 percent; and Aqua America Inc., a utility, down 18 percent. That school wins $150.
Holding on to third was BigBucks, sixth graders from St. Pius X School, with a portfolio at $50,615, up 27 percent. Besides The Andersons and Apple Computer, the team had retailer Target Corp., up less than 1 percent, and Internet giant Google Inc., down 15 percent. St. Pius gets $100 for third place.
Richard Solether, a student at Otsego, said some students will use their winnings to help pay for a class trip to Washington, D.C., this year.
The Jones Soda pick came from Michael Cavanaugh, who said, "It tastes very good," and Pete Swanson, who likes the logo that features a likeness of a dog.
Another student, Allison Luttrell, said "it was really different" to be in the lead instead of at the bottom of the standings. "We realize that stocks change," she said. "Even if a stock is good one year, it's not always the best the next year."
Daniel "Bo" Evarts, a math teacher at Rossford Junior High, said, "All of my students from my three teams thoroughly enjoyed the contest.
"The biggest thing I found the students learned was that the amount of money a stock would go up or down in a day was not as important as the percent of change of that stock. Many of my students also stressed to me that they realized the importance of not getting too excited or too upset when a stock has a good or bad day."
Cathie Ujvagi, a teacher at St. Pius, said her students "were all thrilled to go from 34th [the first week] to third. They learned you have to stay in the market a long time and that the market fluctuates."
Five teams led at times, including the Jobbers; PC Deca of Port Clinton High School; TheLegGp of Bowling Green High School, and SJJ1 of St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo.
Only one of the students' five most popular stocks gained: Sony Corp., in seven portfolios, up 13 percent. The losers were Apple, chosen by 13 teams; Google, in 8 portfolios; Nike Inc., five portfolios, down 5 percent; and Procter & Gamble Co., four portfolios, down 5 percent.
Following are the participating teams, schools and cities, and portfolio values as of Friday, the end of the contest:
1. NdaBlack, Otsego Middle, Grand Rapids, $59,362.
2. Jobbers, Rossford Jr., $54,143.
3. BigBucks, St. Pius X, Toledo, $50,615.
4. BlueStar, Jones Jr., Toledo, $44,722.
5. Moneymen, county Educational Service Center, Genoa, $44,519.
6. DECA-srs, Scott High, Toledo, $44,114.
7. Panthers, Stryker Elem., $44,003.
8. The LegGp, Bowling Green High, $43,442.
9. Mnybagz, Christ the King, Toledo, $42,788.
10. SJJ1, St. John's Jesuit, Toledo, $42,721.
11. CaplEdge, Christ the King, Toledo, $42,712.
12. Benjamin, Bowling Green High, $42,587.
13. DaSmartz, Toth Elem., Perrysburg, $41,913.
14. E.C.O.'s, Toledo Accelerated, $41,652.
15. ZapaloCo, Bluffton High, $41,401.
16. Strycool, Stryker Elem., $40,849.
17. Tizzie, Bowling Green High, $40,804.
18. Lions, Life Skills Center, Toledo, $40,525.
19. $tars, county Educational Service Center, Genoa, $40,520.
20. Weirdos, Jones Jr., Toledo, $40,466.
21. AH-Trade, Arbor Hills Jr., Sylvania, $40,297.
22. KimsKids, Woodmore Elem., Woodville, $40,202.
23. AveJohns, St. John's Jesuit, Toledo, $39,947.
24. B-Dazzle, Bowling Green High, $39,876.
25. The BAAE's, Bowling Green High, $39,094.
26. DECA-jrs, Scott High, Toledo, $38,964.
27. $Makers, Toledo Accelerated, $37,969.
28. ABEC, Rossford Jr., $37,746.
29. PrplCow, Clay High, Oregon, $37,518.
30. PC DECA, Port Clinton High, $37,391.
31. Suniweck, Rossford Jr., $37,166.
32. Lucky7's, Christ the King, Toledo, $36,906.
33. Rebels23, Bowsher High, Toledo, $36,657.
34. Ze Frans, Frank Elem., Perrysburg, $36,484.
35. Stockers, Fairfield Elem, Maumee, $36,253.
36. BG Stock, Bowling Green High, $33,085.
Contact Homer Brickey at