Stock Market Game winners from South Dover Elementary School were Victoria Galvin, Zoe Hall, Sophia Magagnotti, Nicole Rainford and Kendra Starkey. They are pictured with teacher Julie Ra.

Back to basics

Stock Market Game winners share strategies during reception at UD

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2:26 p.m., Jan. 30, 2012--Financial planning and investing can seem like daunting topics, but the latest group of student participants in the annual Stock Market Game (SMG) proved a little common sense goes a long way.

Students from the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club, South Dover Elementary School, Pilot School and Polytech High School shared their winning strategies at an awards reception held Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the University of Delaware’s Newark campus.

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3-Minute Pitch

Freshmen studying business administration at UD participated in the 3-Minute Pitch competition, presenting their ideas for start-up companies.

This fall, over 1,300 Delaware students working on 252 teams participated in the contest, which ran from Oct. 3 through Dec. 9.

Winning teams

In the Boys and Girls Club elementary division, Gary Glocker, Taylor Jones and Alissa Mercie from the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club selected stocks that closed with a portfolio value of $122,963.

The team’s strategy? Follow what was popular with the general public.

“We started with X-Box but the stock wasn’t really selling so we figured we would try popular clothes instead,” said Glocker.

“We watched what people wore and saw a lot of Aéropostale, so we bought that stock and saw it increase,” added Mercie. “We also picked Verizon and Sprint because they are popular companies.”

Jones called the opportunity “fun and exciting” because the team was able to purchase stocks in their favorite stores.

Victoria Galvin, Zoe Hall, Sophia Magagnotti, Nicole Rainford and Kendra Starkey of South Dover Elementary School let the web be their guide, giving them the winning spot in the elementary division with a closing portfolio value of $121,863.

“We used the Bing search engine to start this adventure, and it gave us direction for the companies we picked,” said Rainford.

Magagnotti also noted the team used Google to find the number one selling stock.

The rest of the team contributed by making decisions based on familiarity with a company.

“I picked Payless because my mom and friends buy shoes there, plus it offers shoes for a range of people from children through adults,” said Galvin.

Hall picked McDonald’s based on the fast food chain’s popularity and drive through concept.

“The drive through is convenient for large families and families on the go because you don’t have to get out of the car – and I know because I have a large family,” she said.

Starkey chose Hasbro, not just because the company makes toys like Littlest Pet Shop (of which she is a fan) but because she thought the timing made sense.

“We were playing this game going into the holiday season, and I know that is when parents are buying toys for their children,” she said.

In the middle school division, Claire Conlin, Chloe Rogel deOliveira and Elizabeth O’Brien from Pilot School selected stocks that closed with a portfolio value of $134,790.

They, too, used the web to guide them to a nearly 35 percent increase in profit.

“We invested in Google because we saw the stock going up and that’s where we made a lot,” said O’Brien. “It was around $512 when we first bought it and up to over $600 by the time the game was over, so we made over $30,000 on Google alone.”

O’Brien said the team also chose, much like the other teams, familiar companies to invest in, including McDonald’s, JCPenney, Sears, Ralph Lauren and Verizon.

In the high school division, the winning team included Jennifer Johnson, Kyle Lavender and Michael Deputy from Polytech High School with a closing portfolio value of $119,384.

Johnson and her team approached the game with a more cautious strategy.

“We bought shares in Google and Nike and both of those company’s stocks earned money for us,” said Johnson. “As we continued to stay in first place we did not want to jeopardize our standing so we made the decision to stick with Google and Nike through the rest of the game.”

Johnson also said that despite going into the game knowing nothing about the stock market or how it worked, she left with a better understanding of investing.

“This game was a great way to learn about the real stock market and I would recommend it for students in the future,” she said.

InvestWrite competition

Students also participated in InvestWrite, a national essay competition open to students in grades 4-12. InvestWrite is produced by the SMG and evaluates students’ overall understanding of the stock market and their ability to write critically on investment strategies.

Shirin Faqir from Leasure Elementary School, coached by Timothy Werbrich, won first place in the state of Delaware.

She shared her essay, “Three Things to Know Before Buying a Stock or a Bond,” with the audience, and pointed out knowing the product or service itself as well as the demand are essential to picking stocks and bonds wisely.

Jim O’Neill, director of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at UD, commended the students for their efforts, and thanked the parents, coaches and teachers for their support, including: Rhona Mercia, Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club; Julie Ra, teacher at South Dover Elementary School; Lynne Sharkey, Pilot School; and Patricia Collins, Polytech High School.

He also pointed out the wisdom in the students’ strategies.

“One thing these students did do that adults don’t necessarily do is pick stocks they are familiar with,” said O’Neill. “If you look at the gains they made, we can certainly learn a lot from their strategies.”

About the Stock Market Game

The Stock Market Game is a comprehensive investment education program offered in Delaware exclusively by UD’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship with financial support from the Delaware Investor Protection Fund.

Since 1983, the SMG has helped more than 50,000 Delaware students learn how financial markets work and how capital is raised to fund business growth.

During the 10-week national program, students participate in an educational Internet simulation of Wall Street and invest a hypothetical $100,000 in a portfolio of common stocks traded on the New York, American and NASDAQ exchanges. Students form teams; research stocks and issuing companies; and enter trades on the SMG website at real-time prices.

At the end of the 10-week game the team in each of the three grade-level divisions and the Boys and Girls Club division with the highest value portfolio is declared a winner.

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