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Alpine, El Paso students top West Texas in NMSU Stock Market Game

Students from Alpine and El Paso, Texas, have taken top honors in the Spring 2000 Stock Market Game, sponsored by the New Mexico State University College of Business Administration and Economics and the New Mexico Securities Division. The West Texas Championship was won by Alpine High School teacher Dan Decker and students Wes Miller (captain), Jesse Nelson, Jerrice Sanderson, Sett Balise and Isaiah Angel. The top winner in the Essay Contest, Bull Division (grades 9-12) was student Katy Guzman of Austin High School in El Paso, under the guidance of her teacher, Daniel Boerger. The Bear Division (grades 5-8) winner for the second time was student Kevin O'Donnell of Eastwood Knolls School in El Paso, under the guidance of his teacher, Patricia Gates.

Other West Texas winners include Lubbock-Cooper High School students and teacher Theresa Ramsey, Internet grades 10-12; Desert View Middle School (El Paso) students and teacher Eric Soto, Internet grades 7-9; Eastwood Heights Elementary School (El Paso) students and teacher Diane Pace, Internet grades 4-6; Odessa High School students and teacher Michael Perrin, Internet Odessa American Division; Edison Hope Christian Academy (El Paso) students and teacher Mary Reeves, Scan sheet first place; and Coronado High School (El Paso) students and teacher Bob Smith, Scan sheet second place.

An innovative method for teaching economics to students, the NMSU Stock Market Game is a computer-simulated competition played by more than 4,700 high school, middle school and elementary school students throughout New Mexico and West Texas. "The game this spring has been particularly educational due to the dramatic peaks and dips in the markets," said Dorothy Hughes, NMSU Stock Market Game coordinator. "The most valuable lessons learned this semester were the importance of portfolio diversification and what is meant by volatility, especially in the technology and Internet stocks."

Each team playing the game begins with an imaginary $100,000 to invest in the market during a 10-week period, making transactions based on daily closing prices from all three stock exchanges. Players may buy, sell, short sell and short cover, and all transactions are charged a 2 percent broker fee. Teams also may buy on margin, said Hughes, but are charged interest at 7 percent. The goal is to make as much money as possible during the 10-week period. The Alpine team ended with a West Texas championship-winning $128,860.

There are two versions of the game. In the traditional method, transactions are recorded on scan sheets that are mailed to NMSU, read by an optical scanner, then fed into a computer. Each week the portfolios are updated and mailed, along with a ranking report, to each participating team. This version will not be offered in the future, due to the popularity of the Internet version.

The Internet version, called SMG Worldwide, began four years ago and has been steadily gaining in popularity, now representing 85 percent of participating teams. Teams are able to conduct their transactions online and receive dividends and interest on cash balances. Portfolios are updated daily and rankings are performed weekly on Friday nights. The Internet address for the site, which also includes teaching tools and other links, is http://www.smgww.org.

Each semester the top state, regional and essay contest winners in New Mexico and West Texas are presented plaques and T- shirts and every participating teacher's top team members are awarded certificates. More than 900 awards were presented this spring, Hughes said. All of the year's winners also are invited to awards luncheons in Albuquerque and Las Cruces in May.

Before the game each semester Hughes offers several training workshops, during which game rules and general investing information is provided. Anyone interested in participating in the workshops or the Stock Market Game can contact Hughes at (505) 646-3690, via e-mail at dhughes@nmsu.edu or by mail at NMSU Stock Market Game, P.O. Box 5021, UPB, Las Cruces, NM 88003- 5021.

Nationally, the Stock Market Game has been in operation for 24 years; more than 700,000 people participated last year in all 50 states. It is sponsored by the Securities Industry Foundation for Economic Education and receives financial support and the donation of teaching materials from many major corporations, brokerage firms and the three stock exchanges.

Rachel Kendall
May 4, 2000