Hedging Their Bets

What’s the secret to success in the stock market? Just ask Xavier Barth ’22 and Lexi Lee ’22. The 7th-grade duo took first place in the Wisconsin Stock Market Simulation, and earned a 180 percent return on their hypothetical $100,000 portfolio, by investing in dry shipping container companies. Not only did Barth and Lee win their division (middle school), they won the overall competition—the first time ever for USM—beating high school teams from Brookfield Academy, Pius XI Catholic High School, and Arrowhead High School, among others.

“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 or 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.”

The SMS is a state-wide, 10-week competition in which teams of students manage hypothetical $100,000 investment portfolios and compete for a cash prize. Barth and Lee has a final portfolio of $280,503.66, out-earning the second-place team by a whopping $100,905.89.


I’ve thought about being a stockbroker and how much fun it would be.


As first-place winners, Barth and Lee enjoyed a paid trip to New York City in March, where they toured the New York Stock Exchange and took in a Broadway play, among other activities.

“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.”

While both students enjoyed the experience, they are less confident about investing with their own money. “My parents brought it up,” said Lee, “but it kind of scares me.” Barth has considered a career in stocks as a result of the simulation. “I’ve thought about being a stockbroker and how much fun it would be,” he said. “Plus, their salaries are super high.”

Insider Trading: Lexi and Xavier Share Their Tips for Success

  • Invest in companies you know and understand
  • Avoid stocks from companies that are in the news—other people see the articles too, and will likely take their grab at the stock
  • Do your research to find the hidden gem; for example, we frequently visited Yahoo! Finance to see how companies were performing

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