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CBA Students and Professor Make Strong Finish in Stock-Picking Contest


Three Fordham University College of Business Administration (CBA) students finished in the top 1 percent of the Barron’s Challenge, a national collegiate stock-picking contest that featured nearly 2,000 competitors.

In addition, James Russell Kelly, M.B.A., a lecturer of finance on Fordham’s business faculty, finished fourth among professors.

The object of the five-month contest was for participants to generate the most revenue on hypothetical $100,000 stock portfolios.

CBA freshman William Mansour came in fifth, having generated a net return of 31.22 on his portfolio. Ronald Guartatanga, a CBA senior who is joining the analyst-training program at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. after graduation, finished sixth with 31.03 percent and Hayk Oksun, a junior, earned a 13th-place finish as he managed to produce a 20.47 percent return in his portfolio.

“The results of the Barron’s Stock Challenge are yet another example of the extraordinary talents our students and faculty possess,” said Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration. “We are especially proud to see that Will (Mansour), who is a freshman, got involved in the contest so early in his academic career. Professor Kelly has done a wonderful job building a community of young investors who will hit Wall Street with a running start.”

“Ultimately, I bet on a bear market and rode the market decline,” Mansour said. “I credit my lucrative portfolio to a strategy based on analyzing the economy as a whole. In the context of the sub-prime crisis, I decided that ‘shorting’ would compose almost my entire portfolio. My biggest gains came from shorting an array of financials, credit insurers as well as mortgage insurers. I was going for the gold of course, but I am very satisfied having beaten all the major indices by a wide margin.”

Kelly, who finished with an 18 percent return on his portfolio, said he did so by investing primarily in commodity based and foreign currency ETFs (exchange traded funds), such as gold, silver, agriculture, natural gas, the Japanese Yen and the Swiss Franc.

“I am very proud of them for their achievement,” Kelly said of the 50 Fordham students whom he advised on the contest. “It demonstrates the quality of the students we have at Fordham.”

Each year, an average of 2,300 professors and college students across the nation compete in theBarron’s Challenge. Participants began with a portfolio of $100,000 and are allowed to trade 75 times in five-month period designated for the contest. Day trading is prohibited.

At the end of the contest, top portfolios receive grand prizes of $1,500, with second and third prizes in each category of $1,000 and $500.


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