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Profits improving in KPMG’s investment challenge

Teacher Don Burgess, left, with the Clearwater Middle School Eagle Eye Investors' Bakari Smith, Tyree Fox, Kaiden Chew, Santiago Almeida and Iryan Arouzzi. Not present is team member Riley Paynter (Photograph supplied)

Things are looking up for students of the KPMG Senior School Investment Challenge, with the top three teams making a profit, after a shaky start.

In the six-month challenge students are given a virtual $100,000 to invest in simulated trading.

So far, Berkeley’s Money Mongers team is doing the best with stocks up $12,848.12. They are also the school that have made the most trades, with 99 trades.

The Clearwater Middle School Eagle Eye Investors are in second place with stock up $10,578 and 45 trades. Mount Saint Agnes Academy’s M$Ahub23 are in third place with the value of its stock up $9,271.31 and 34 trades.

“Things are going better than December,” said challenge organiser Ashley Farrington, of KPMG.

In that month, the first-place team, Saltus’ FUD, and second-ranking team, CedarBridge’s StockXers, were making a much smaller profit, and the team in third place, Berkeley’s Goldbusters, lost $64.97.

This month’s greater profit might spell hope for the real Wall Street. The student’s virtual stocks such as Apple, Microsoft and Google follow the ups and downs of the actual stock market.

Last year, nobody made a profit in the competition for the first time in 17 years, which was attributed to the fact that the real stock market was doing so poorly. Winners were determined by who lost the least amount of money.

“Many news sources online have been suggesting that 2022 had actually been Wall Street’s worst year since 2008,” Ms Farrington said.

The 2022 stock market involved sharp losses driven by aggressive interest-rate hikes to curb inflation, recession fears, the Russia-Ukraine war and rising concerns over Covid-19 cases in China.

This month’s profits seem to reflect reports that last month the real Nasdaq Composite was up more than 4.5 per cent, after plunging 33 per cent last year.

“The students have been trading primarily in simulations of NYSE and Nasdaq based on the most popular securities traded we see within the Stock-Trak profile,” Ms Farrington said.

The challenge is usually limited to secondary schools, but this year Clearwater Middle School took part.

Clearwater Middle School teacher Don Burgess thanked KPMG for the opportunity.

“We are getting a chance to prove that middle school students can hold their own,” he said.

The school’s only team in the challenge is Eagle Eye Investors. Team co-captain Bakari Smith said: “We're doing good so far. I’d be happy if we finished anywhere above third place. I picked Microsoft because it owns Minecraft (a computer game) and Minecraft is very popular.”

Mount Saint Agnes teacher Lisa Stevens, who is leading the M$Ahub23 team, said her students were making decisions on stocks to purchase based on society trends in politics, agricultural fluctuations, seasonal shifts and what is hot in the media.

The challenge is meant to foster interest in investment, and each team is given a mentor from the investment industry.

Fifteen teams from eight schools are taking part in the challenge, which was launched in 2005 as part of KPMG’s commitment to education and youth development.

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Published February 08, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated February 08, 2023 at 8:00 am)

Profits improving in KPMG’s investment challenge

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