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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2008

Husband, wife switch first, third places for July

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

First came Kramer vs. Kramer. Now get ready for Stacy vs. Stacy.

In an odd development in The Blade's Stock Market Game, last month's third-place contestant, Dan Stacy, has traded places with last month's leader - his wife, Diane Stacy.

Last month's second-place contestant, Michael McHaffie, of Waterville, remains in that spot through the end of July despite the flip-flop by the Stacys, who reside in Gibsonburg.

"How dare he!" Mrs. Stacy, 54, said with faux indignation after learning her husband had pushed her to third place.

"She wasn't too happy about this," Mr. Stacy, also 54, said with a laugh. "I've got my camper ready outside to sleep in in case she kicks me out of the house."

Overall, the stock market took a beating in July. Mrs. Stacy's portfolio value is $54,749, up 37 percent for the year.

But at the end of June, her husband's portfolio was at $62,555.

Only 118 participants finished July above the starting hypothetical $40,000.

The Blade's so-called dartboard picks, chosen at random by four members of the business news staff, having risen to $42,172 ranked in 70th place out of 875 entrants.

Contestants had to divide their hypothetical stake equally among two stocks from the New York Stock Exchange and two from Nasdaq, each worth at least $5 a share, by Dec. 31, 2007.

The portfolio with the biggest gain by the end of this year wins. First prize is $200 in cash and a three-day/two night trip for two, including transportation and hotel, to Chicago, Toronto, or Tampa during 2009. Arrangements will be made by contest co-sponsor Central Travel of Toledo. Second place receives $300 in cash and third place $200.

Mr. Stacy's standing at the top is a first for him. He has entered all of The Blade's stock contests but never rose higher than third. He leads even though his energy stocks slumped 11 percent.

His picks are First Solar Inc., Fording Canadian Coal, Oracle Corp., and Swift Energy Co.

The market was down 14 percent for July, negative commentary flowed from the Federal Reserve, the general economy slowed, personal consumption was weaker, and jobless claims were at their highest since 2003, said Christina Wegner, a financial adviser with Smith Barney's Toledo office.

The brokerage is a co-sponsor of the contest and tabulator of the results.

"It was a very rough month," she said.

In June, contestants could switch one of their four stocks for another stock. About 100 did so, but only two in the top 20 were among them.

One who switched was Mr. Mahaffie, who dropped Ever-

One who switched was Mr. Mahaffie, who dropped Ever-green Solar Inc. for James River Coal Co. His other three picks are Alpha Natural Resources Inc., Hess Corp., and Dryships Inc., and his portfolio was up 37 percent at $54,628.

Another contestant, Harold Hamilton, of Northwood, dumped semiconductor firm Teradyne Inc. for CF Industries, which makes fertilizer. The move lifted him to fifth place from 14th.

Mr. Stacy said he planned to drop software maker Oracle, but missed the deadline. "What I would have changed to, I'm uncertain," he added.

Mrs. Stacy's portfolio, which stayed unchanged, has Canadian Solar Inc., Emcore Corp., Alpha Natural Resources, and National Oilwell Varco Inc.

Ranking 4th through 10th are:

Leonard Giesige, of Hamler, Ohio, whose portfolio is $53,320; Mr. Hamilton, $52,914; Mary Schultz, Blissfield, Mich., $52,643; Garry Mills, Waterville, $52,217; Donald Graham, Oregon, $51,217; Jim D'Lamater, Olivet, Mich., $50,807, and Steve Scheltz, Columbus, $50,537.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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