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Published: Saturday, 8/4/2007

Leader declares victory 1 month past halfway point


With The Blade s Stock Market Game one month past the halfway point, a confident Kym Opfermann is so pleased with her personal selection of stocks that she has already declared victory.

That is the bottom line. I am going to end up winning in the end. I don t play to lose. I play to win, said Ms. Opfermann, who continued to retain first place in the yearlong contest.

At the end of July, the stock portfolio of the 24-year-old commercial insurance agent from Toledo s Point Place grew 126 percent to $90,291.

Her picks have kept her on top of the nearly 900 other entrants throughout most of the contest.

Despite the market being down last month, more than two-thirds of the contestants posted positive earnings, down from the 76 percent that were in the black in June, said Shane Ewbank, a financial adviser in the Toledo office of brokerage Smith Barney.

The firm is tabulating results and co-sponsoring the contest.

If Ms. Opfermann s prediction holds true and she ends up winning, she will receive $100 and air travel for two to Chicago, Toronto, or Tampa. The trip is sponsored by Central Travel of Toledo, a contest co-sponsor.

The second place finisher will receive $300, and the next entrant gets $100.

The winners are determined by the hypothetical portfolios that grew the most in 2007. The entrants had to pick four stocks trading for at least $5 a share last Jan. 1, and an imaginary $40,000 was divided among them.

Among the leader s portfolio was First Solar Inc., the manufacturer of solar panels with its only North American plant in Perrysburg Township.

All but one of the top 20 portfolios contain the stock, which was up 277 percent since the contest began.

Also, Ms. Opfermann has Bentley Pharmaceuticals Inc., up 12 percent; NYSE Euronext, a stock exchange operator, up 5 percent; and The Andersons Inc., a Maumee agribusiness, up 1 percent.

Among three challenge portfolios that are not eligible for prizes, Toledo investment club president Terry Carey has the best performance, up 16 percent at $46,585.

Other leaders and the amounts to which their portfolios grew by the end of July are:

Amy Eppard, Toledo, $87,725; Thomas Monaghan, Lambertville, $80,691; Scott Haag, Toledo, $79,584; David Metzger, Toledo, $78,060; Richard Woodruff, Maumee, $77,778; Betty Dierzak, Perrysburg, $77,162; ; Tammy Perry, Oregon, $76,794; Donald Murd, Toledo, $76,775, and Joel Baird, Lambertville, $75,976.

Contact Mark Reiter at:markreiter@theblade.comor 419-724-6096.

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