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Two Milwaukee 7th Graders Win State Stock Market Competition

Two 7th graders from University School of Milwaukee have figured out the secret to success in the stock market. Lexi Lee and Xavier Barth took first place in the Wisconsin Stock Market Simulation, and landed a 180% return, by investing in dry shipping container companies. Not only did Barth and Lee win their middle school division, they also won the overall competition—the first time ever for USM—beating high school teams from around the state.

“Starting out, our main focus was investing in what we knew and liked,” said Lee, “which included companies like Apple, Netflix, Starbucks and Hasbro.” Added Barth, “Right after the election we were looking around at what stocks were doing well. We discovered that four of the 10 most actively traded stocks were for dry shipping container companies. Given [President] Trump’s view on business and trade, we were expecting good results and we got them.”  

Lee and Barth took first place with a final value of $280,503.66, out-earning the second-place high school team by $100,905.89. All teams start the competition with $100,000.

“In my 18 years of doing this simulation at USM, we’ve never had a team be in overall first place for even one day, and this team was in first for a whole month,” said Brian Markwald, 7th-grade social studies teacher and grades 7-8 dean of students. “I like doing the simulation because it teaches students how hard it is to pick stocks on their own. It also gives them a chance to see how world events affect the global economy.”

As first-place winners, Lee and Barth will be honored at a banquet on March 8 at United Community Center, Café el Sol, 1028 South 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. They will also enjoy a paid trip to New York City from March 9-10, where they will tour the New York Stock Exchange and take in a Broadway play, among other activities.

The Wisconsin Stock Market Simulation (SMS) is a statewide competition where teams of students manage hypothetical $100,000 investment portfolios and compete for prizes and other recognition. The SMS is conducted by EconomicsWisconsin, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes economic education and financial literacy. Since 1963, EconomicsWisconsin has helped elementary and secondary teachers gain competence and confidence teaching about our free market economic system.

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