By: Jack Sadler ’21
Throughout the past few weeks, the stock market has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. As fears of the coronavirus rise, stock prices have swiftly plummeted. However, even with this recent turn of events, the juniors and seniors participating in this year’s Bloomberg Portfolio Challenge have continuously outperformed the market since the contest began back in November.
A unique opportunity students at Chaminade have is the chance to take a Bloomberg Financial course throughout their junior and senior years. Just this year, the Bloomberg Financial Lab was relocated and updated. The lab houses twenty Bloomberg Terminals, the most of any high school in the country. The course provides students with knowledge about the stock market, as well as basic financial literacy.
An event that makes this class particularly exciting is the inclusion of a competition called the Bloomberg Portfolio Challenge. The rules are simple: Every student in their Junior and Senior year chooses three stocks. Whoever’s stocks produce the greatest total return in their grade wins a Visa gift card as a prize. Of course, just because you are not the top of your grade does not mean all is lost. The class in each grade with the greatest total investment return by the end of the contest is treated to a pizza party, not to mention the all important bragging rights and their class name on the trophy.
This year, both the junior and senior classes have picked stocks that have performed exceptionally well since the competition began three months ago. In fact, the two classes have outperformed the S&P 500 by about 7-8% overall. This is especially impressive considering that only about 30% of experts are able to beat the S&P. The overall performance of the student body as a whole is impressive enough, but the success experienced by the students at the top of the leaderboard has been phenomenal. Peter West ’21 leads the school with a 106% total return from the beginning of the contest. Peter also picked the most successful stock in the competition thus far, Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE), which is up 247% from November! Other notable performances include Robert Dimilia ’21 (80% return) and Cole Abraham ’20 (72% return). Mr. Kevin St. Pierre ’85, who teaches the Bloomberg Financial courses along with Mrs. Carlstrom, explains, “The performance of the students during the Portfolio Challenge has been nothing short of astounding. Over the last twenty years, I’ve met some of Wall Street’s top portfolio managers, and they would be thrilled to outperform the market by 7-8 percentage points. To have both the juniors and seniors beat the market by such a wide margin is incredibly impressive.” Mrs. Carlstom agrees saying, “It is amazing to see not only the engagement of the students, but also the performance of these stock picks! I’m even more pleased to hear the rationale behind the company selections. Perhaps we have some future portfolio managers or analysts among us.”
Mr. St. Pierre says that the strong performances of large capitalization stocks, particularly Tesla, could explain part of the student body’s extraordinary success. However, the fact that the top two students in both the junior and senior classes did not select Tesla demonstrates that there must be something else contributing to the performance of the students.
Whatever the reasons for the success experienced thus far, it is impossible to deny that what the students have been able to accomplish this year is incredible. Chaminade juniors and seniors will continually check the leaderboard to see who’s stock portfolio will accelerate next until the end of the school year. The Bloomberg Financial Lab has afforded upperclassmen opportunities that some will not even see in college, and each Chaminade student will have the opportunity to avail himself of these extraordinary resources.