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New Mexico State University

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

Students from Spearman and El Paso, Texas, have taken top honors in the Fall 1999 Stock Market Game Worldwide (SMGWW), sponsored by the New Mexico State University College of Business Administration and Economics. The West Texas Championship was won by Spearman Junior High School teacher Richard Trantham and students Garrett Martin (captain), Jentry Edwards, Nubia Maacharigue and Adan Briseno.

The top winner in the Essay Contest, Bull Division (grades 9-12) was student Erica Aragon of Socorro High School in El Paso, under the guidance of her teacher Mac McCarson. The Bear Division (grades 5-8) winner was student Kevin O'Donnell of Eastwood Knolls School, also in El Paso, under the guidance of his teacher, Patricia Gates. Monahans High School students and teacher Dianne Waggoner won the West Texas High School Division.

An innovative method for teaching economics to students, the NMSU Stock Market Game is a computer-simulated competition played by more than 4,500 high school, middle school and elementary school students throughout New Mexico and West Texas. "The game this fall has been exciting as well as educational due to the continuing increase of stock prices and a high level of press coverage of the U.S. economy," said Dorothy Hughes, NMSU Stock Market Game coordinator. "Despite a few temporary dips in stock prices, the markets were at record highs at the end of the game."

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, says Hughes, but are charged interest at 7 percent. The goal is to make as much money as possible during the 10-week period. The Spearman team ended with a West Texas championship-winning $137,032.

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.An Internet version began three years ago and has been steadily gaining in popularity, now representing 85 percent of registrations in the NMSU SMGWW. 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 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 500 awards were presented this fall, 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 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 23 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.