The Blade's School Stock Contest has just four weeks to go, but it can't end soon enough for the Dragon$ team from Erie Huron Ottawa Educational Service Center in Genoa.
Dragon$ remains in first place for the third straight week and has held the top spot for six of 10 weeks in the four-month-long competition. The team's 10 members are starting to feel pressure, said Steve Myers, their science/social studies class teacher.
Members were checking the stocks in their imaginary portfolio over Easter week vacation, Mr. Myers said. "Some are checking the paper all the time to see what First Solar's doing," he added. "That's the [stock] that's done the most for us."
Matt Faltys, vice president and director of portfolio management for Fifth Third Bank, a co-sponsor of this year's contest, said nothing is certain. But for the Dragon$ to fail now, First Solar Inc. is going to have to drop significantly.
Instead, the solar panel company gained 18 percent last week, and the Dragon$ portfolio of Whirlpool Corp., Cabela's Inc., CSX, Inc., and First Solar rose an overall 2.5 percent to stand at $50,230 as of last Friday.
Taking over second place was the ATAMAW team from Swanton Middle School at $47,764, up 3 percent for the week. Big $, from Luckey Elementary, moved into third place at $46,082, up 7.5 percent for the week.
Fifth Third tabulates the contest's weekly results and The Blade's Newspaper in Education program also is a co-sponsor.
There are 104 teams from 26 schools in the 14-week contest, which ends April 25. Each team picked four stocks - two each from the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange - selling for at least $5 a share. An imaginary $10,000 is spent on each stock, and the team whose portfolio increases the most in value when the contest ends is the winner.
More than 1,325 students are participating in the contest. The first place finisher receives $500, to be divided between the team and its school, second place wins $250 for its school, and third place wins $100 for its school.
Mr. Faltys said stocks in the solar industry as a whole rose significantly last week and benefitted nearly every team with a solar firm in its portfolio.
"It was what I'd call a solar week," he said.
Akeena Solar Inc. and First Solar helped a team from Luckey Elementary, Mini$Me, go from 103rd place two weeks ago to 71st last week, Mr. Faltys said.
Overall, 60 out of 104 team had portfolios with positive values.
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