The stock market has been steadily moving up since March 2009, and 1,917 students participating this spring in the Hawaii Stock Market Simulation program are hoping to share in the success.
Following a break in the fall due to a delay in funding, the 10-week program began anew on Monday, with teams of two to four students from grades 3 through 12 picking investments in their hypothetical $100,000 portfolios. The primary goal of the Hawaii Stock Market Simulation, which ends April 15, is to teach healthy investing practices.
There are 786 teams and 48 teachers participating from 34 schools and organizations across the state, including Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island, Maui and Molokai. Registration remains open for new teachers who still want to sign up.
The Hawaii Council on Economic Education, which administers the program, said the Hawaii Stock Market Simulation program is different from other online competitions that emphasize "guerilla investing" in that it does not allow buying on margin or short-selling.
"We didn’t want to encourage students to participate in risky investment practices," said Toni Takeno, executive director of HCEE. "Ours is the only stock market game that requires students at the high school level to investigate bonds and determine proper asset allocation for their investor class. This gives participants an investing experience that is much closer to real-life portfolio building."
The Stock Market Simulation program started in Hawaii in the fall of 2000 with 183 students and has grown steadily.
Students can participate in four categories. The aggressive division requires that portfolios contain 80 percent stocks and 20 percent bonds. The growth-division portfolio must contain 65 percent stocks and 35 percent bonds. The income/growth division requires 50 percent stocks and 50 percent bonds, and the elementary division does not have to contain bonds.
The first- and second-place team members at the end of the 10-week period receive $100 and $50 savings bonds. The program is funded by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Office of the Securities Commissioner.
Rankings are updated online daily at hawaiisms.com.