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Are they the next wolves of Wall Street?
A class of sixth-graders from North Dakota earned a better return on investment on the stock market than some of the best business school students in the country.
It started as a competition between the regular and advanced math classes at Fargo's Oak Grove Lutheran School, where Dave Carlson was teaching his students about handling money through two online investment companies.
Unbeknownst to the middle school investors, one of the companies was at that time holding a university challenge that offered a $5,000 prize to the investment club with the most profitable basket of stocks. While Virginia-based McIntire Investment Institute won that contest with an 18.5 percent return, Carlson's regular math class yielded a nearly 22 percent gain and trounced all the university clubs.
Carlson's classes started the project using money management tools designed for families with children and made investments through Motif Investing, a San Mateo, Calif.-based company that enables customers to buy baskets of stocks that are named motifs. The young investors mopped up with stocks like Netflix, Starbucks, Under Armour, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Priceline.com.
The motif assembled by Carlson's Math Minions centered on companies the students knew about with good track records. They did research and in most cases made solid investment decisions. Eloise Baker said she decided to buy Under Armour, which makes sportswear and athletic gear, based mainly on the fact that Christmas and the Olympics were around the corner. Sure enough, the stock shot up. The company last week approved a 2-for-1 stock split.
While each student was allowed to make one stock switch, Carlson encouraged them to be patient with their selections. He believed the class came out ahead of the university challenge because the college students were looking for a quick buck.
"I thought the best idea was to pick a stock that you believe in, a company that you liked, a company that you were interested in, and stay with them," Carlson said.
- The Associated Press