MERRIMACK — A few risky financial moves paid big dividends for a group of young investors who are now ready to take on the stock market.
Several students from New Hampshire were chosen as the 2014 Smart Market Stock Market award winners, having the opportunity Wednesday to tour the 500-acre campus at Fidelity Investments as a reward.
“I have learned that the stock market can be very risky, and it really depends on how the economy is doing,” said Jason Dinh, an eighth-grader at St. Casimir School in Manchester.
Dinh joined with classmate Jade Huard to win first-place for the middle school division’s year-long stock market competition.
“We gained $7,000 from each of our two stocks in just eight weeks,” said Huard, adding her team decided to invest in Apple and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Teams from several schools were selected as the top winners for this year’s Smart Market program, part of the New Hampshire Union Leader’s Newspapers in Education Initiative and sponsored by the SIFMA Foundation.
The Smart Market program offers students the opportunity to invest an imaginary $100,000 into the stock market. Students are encouraged to research their stocks using the newspaper and other media to gauge the effect of current events on their investments.
“People get really emotional about their money,” Wilson Muscadin, director of segment management in the Workplace Investing Unit at Fidelity, told the award winners on Wednesday. “I want you guys to be smarter about how you spend your money.”
Honored with a pizza party and awards ceremony, the winning teams were recognized for their wise investment choices. They also had the chance to speak with Fidelity employees about their careers as financial planners.
“It is no small feat that you guys are here today,” said Elizabeth Reidel, national director of the SIFMA Foundation. The competition, according to Reidel, is getting more competitive each year.
This year, New Hampshire had 2,785 teams participate in the program, which included about 14,000 students statewide, she said.
Some of the popular stocks included Google, Walmart, Twitter, Macy’s, Amazon, Delta and Disney.
Although it may have been virtual currency, it was a real world learning experience, according to Damien Cronin of Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro who took home first place for the high school’s year-round diversification game.
“I felt the pressure behind every decision I made,” said Cronin, who invested in Vanguard and Nike to gain equity of $139,645.
Other top teams included students from Hampstead Academy, Lebanon Middle School, Nottingham West Elementary School, Portsmouth Middle School, Alvirne High School, Manchester High School Central, Manchester School of Technology and Concord High School.