The Week in Review is provided by The Stock Market Game, which is a curriculum-based teaching tool that allows students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 online stock portfolio to learn about long-term saving and investing.
The Stock Market Game Week in Review: Mar. 24-28
Last week, a report showed personal income rose last month. U.S. consumers' confidence had fallen to a 16-year low in March, pointing to a recession according to the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
A report on the core personal expenditures price index, a key measure of inflation, also released last week, held steady, suggesting the Federal Reserve can keep cutting interest rates going forward. These reports are somewhat positive as stocks fell Tuesday, Mar. 25 and Wednesday, Mar. 26 after a weak reading on GDP growth in the fourth quarter. The government confirmed the last quarter of 2007 did, indeed, see a sharp economic slowdown.
The technology sector was particularly weak after the world's third-largest software maker Oracle (ORCL) posted worse than expected third-quarter earnings and issued a cautious forecast.
Since Oracle's quarter ends a month ahead of most other large technology companies, investors have been scrutinizing and reacting to its numbers for insights into how the weakened U.S. economy is affecting tech companies. Data suggesting Google's (GOOG)
revenue from Internet users' clicks could slow also raised worries about tech stocks as shares of Google fell $14.52 to $443.67 on Wednesday, Mar. 26.
In other news, your students may be interested in taking a look at the most recent issue of BusinessWeek
as it profiles their top 50 stock picks of the Standard & Poor's 500
stock index. They analyzed the last 12-month and three-year periods and measured shareholder returns during these time periods. They also factored in net profit margins
and long-term earning prospects.
Many of the companies profiled are well known (and may currently be present in your students' portfolios), but some of the top five will probably be unfamiliar to your students. Below are the top five:
5. Questar (STR).
The company is in the natural gas business distributing to customers in Utah, southwestern Wyoming and southeastern Idaho.
4. Verizon (VZ).
While most telecom companies have had a rough road lately, shares have risen 17% by strong results in wireless.
3. Allegheny Techonologies (ATI).
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company specializes in titanium used for airplanes and jet engines and is vital to the Boeing (BA)
2. Gilead Sciences (GILD).
The company is part of the biotech sector and creates treatments for hepatitis, HIV and infections related to AIDS. Its bottom line was significantly boosted with the creation of Atripla, a drug that combines three potent medicines into one pill.
1. Coach (COH).
This luxury brand tops the list thanks to its expansion of higher-cost bags, making the brand more desirable while at the same time adding new lines of lower-priced handbags.
Since some of these companies might be unfamiliar to your students, they may be interested in researching them further as they begin their InvestWrite essays (due April 11). Go to the InvestWrite Web site at www.investwrite.info
Also, be sure to check out the "How to InvestWrite" lesson located in the "Teacher Support Center" of the Stock Market Game site at www.stockmarketgame.org
. The lesson provides an overview of the competition and helps students get organized to write their essay. The lesson is accessible by clicking "Lesson Sequence" and then selecting "Display a Complete Outline of All Lessons."
To hear from 2007's InvestWrite winners, check out this video interview on TheStreet.com TV.
To learn more about The Stock Market Game, go to www.stockmarketgame.org.