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Catawba College students play market with virtual cash

The Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) of Catawba College held its second stock market competition recently, allowing students to navigate a bear market. Two student winners built portfolios showing gains nonetheless.

The five-month competition, from late October until early March, offered all students the opportunity to learn about investing, discuss trading strategies and dive into the financial markets. A total of 17 students participated and traded $100,000 in virtual cash in the stock market.

In December, markets recorded one of their worst performances since the Great Depression, with indexes dropping up to 20 percent. Students had to navigate poorly performing stock markets at the end of 2018 and into 2019.

Jackson Raper, with a total return of 6.37 percent, won first place. SMIF’s Vice President Lukas Helbing won second place with a return of 3.06 percent. In order to secure these winning positions, both had to take into account the bear market.

Raper acknowledged the poor performance in the stock markets during the competition. Nonetheless, by accounting for it in his strategy, his portfolio value grew to $106, 368.

Helbing also took into account the changing market. He was sure to diversify and to take advantage of the market’s recovery at the beginning of the year. His portfolio value grew to $103,057.

According to Luke Picci, president of SMIF, recent stock market fluctuations have also affected SMIF’s real investment portfolio.

“This year has given us a real learning experience,” he said. “The bull market that ran for the past decade came to a halt, and our strategy had to change.”

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