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Schools

Sharemarket Game news 

Read the latest news and updates for teachers and students playing the Sharemarket Game. 

More resources

June 2021: Winning strategies

Gold, diversification and investing in what you know: we share the strategies of the top three teams of Game 1, 2021.

Another Schools Sharemarket Game has wrapped amid interesting times for the Australian sharemarket. After the turmoil of 2020, which included the worst trading day since the Black Tuesday in 1987 and an 11- week bear market, the Australian sharemarket bounced back as investors embarked on a bargain hunt. So when our first game of 2021 launched, the market was on a high on the back of government stimulus spending and positive US markets. 

So what helped our winners triumph in these interesting times? As you’ll see, there was no one-size-fits-all strategy.

 

 

Golden boys

A love for gold helped Sunshine Coast school syndicate Zenaan win the coveted first place in the first round of the 2021 Schools Sharemarket Game. Year 10 Business Studies students Hugh Harkness, Toby Jaques and Jeffrey Xu created the Chancellor State College dream team, ending with a profit of $8,945.48 on their final holdings.

The Queensland team chose to focus on value – a strategy that would have got the tick of approval from investing legend Warren Buffett. Interestingly, they invested exclusively in gold miners, holding stocks in Evolution Mining, Gold Road Resources, Perseus Mining, Newcrest Mining and Westgold Resources.

Their approach was to find and buy stocks with the most potential to increase in value, and then closely monitor their performance. They kept their nerve when their stocks went through sudden price dips – only selling when the share price hit a high.

Heading for the hills

Queensland also took out second place, with Year 12 Economics students from Hills International College Jacob Harry Alkin, Minh Xuan Khue (Maisie) Doan and Amadeus Christian Susanto, also known as Hills 6, came in as the runner up. This syndicate took on a strategy that differed markedly from their fellow Queenslanders, Zenaan. 

Instead of zooming in on one industry, Hills 6 chose to diversify their investments across a range of companies and sectors to spread their risk and return. Their portfolio of stocks included tech provider Appen Limited, diversified financials ASX and Zip Co, gold miner Evolution Mining, building fixtures suppliers GWA Group, copper miner Oz Minerals and telco Vocus Group. 

The syndicate also chose to further diversify their portfolio by investing in Vaneck Vectors Australian Equal Weight ETF. This exchange traded fund tracks the MVIS Australia Equal Weight Index – Australia’s largest and most liquid ASX-listed companies across all sectors.

Hills 6 also credited some of their success to their research, where they sought out companies that appeared likely to continue their upward trajectory. They also decided they would sell any shares that rose significantly in price. 

Lone student takes a first place and a third

Finn Walsh from International Grammar School has two reasons to celebrate. The Year 9 commerce student topped the New South Wales leader board – and came in third overall in the game.

Finn’s initial instinct was to choose companies he knew best, which happened to be Afterpay, Zip and JB Hi-Fi. These companies turned out to be solid contributors to his end profits, after Finn sold them when they hit a high. As all three companies’ share prices fell markedly afterwards, he had sold at precisely the right moment.

Like the winning team Zeehan, Finn also took a shining to gold stocks – in particular, Silver Lake Resources, which he purchased after its price suddenly fell. In just two days, the stock surged to $1.90 – up about 30 cents of its initial price. Inspiredly, Finn purchased more gold stocks including Remelius Resources, Worley and Evolution Mining. 

Finn cashed all his investments except Silver Lake and Remelius Resources in the final stretch of the game. He said he based this decision on the old proverb, ‘Sell in May and go away.’ 

The second 2021 Schools Sharemarket Game is coming up soon!

The next Schools Sharemarket game will run between 19 August and 28 October. Registrations are open on 15 July. 

So be sure to register your team and join in the fun and learning.

 

Got 5 minutes? Complete our survey

We know teachers have a lot on their plate – but we need your feedback. So we’d love it if you could complete our online survey – it only takes 5 minutes to do.

Your experience can help us better understand what your students need from the Schools Sharemarket Game – helping us make the next game even more relevant. So please give us your feedback by June 30. 

May 2021: It’s a wrap!

We hope you enjoyed being part of Game 1 of the 2021 Schools Sharemarket Game. Here are some of the highlights – and a few tips to help your students keep building their sharemarket knowledge.

Congratulations! Your students are among the 30,032 syndicates that participated in Game 1 of the 2021 Schools Sharemarket Game – and you are one of the 1,780 teachers who made it possible. We’d like to thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment. 

We hope you’ve all enjoyed the experience – and that your students have gained a better understanding of how the market works.

The players

This year we had great representation from all the states and territories and New Zealand. We also had 189 international student syndicates playing. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:

State, territory or country

Number of syndicates

New South Wales

12,273

Victoria

9,116

Australian Capital Territory

419

Queensland

5,420

South Australia

1,163

Western Australia

2,799

Tasmania

1,133

Northern Territory

53

New Zealand

140

International participants

189

And the winners are?

We’ll announce the winners by mid-June after we’ve verified the results, so watch this space!

The key trends

Here are some market highlights from the three months of the Schools Sharemarket Game. 

As 2021 rolled on, Australian households spent up, encouraged by very low interest rates and an improving job market. Retail companies like Woolworths (WOW) and Wesfarmers (WES) – the latter the owner of Coles, Kmart Group and Bunnings – outperformed during this period. 

In contrast, tech companies like Afterpay (AFT) and Xero (XRO), which benefited from the lockdowns in 2020, lost some ground. Some analysts say that investors are moving away from focusing on high growth tech stocks to returning to value shares  – mature companies like the big 4 banks that provide steady returns.

Overseas, the US economy surged in March and April, thanks to strong gasoline prices and the country’s impressive vaccine rollout. The Biden administration’s proposed infrastructure program looks set to have a positive impact on construction and materials businesses. In Australia, shares in materials companies like Boral (BLD), James Hardie (JHX), Transurban (TCL) and BlueScope Steel (BSL) performing strongly over this period.

Shares in the materials sector also rose in May as Chinese steel mills quickly ordered Australian iron ore to avoid potential shortages caused by tensions between the Australian and Chinese governments. Rising iron ore prices also pushed up share prices for companies like Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP from March to mid-May. And lithium miners like Mineral Resources (MIN) and Orocobre (OCE) are benefiting from the world’s transition to renewable energy, which relies on lithium batteries for storage. 

What next?

Get ready for Game 2!

Don’t forget to register your team for the next Schools Sharemarket Game.

Registrations are open on 15 July. The next Schools Sharemarket game will start on 19 August, running until 28 October.

Remember what you’ve learned

Over the last 10 weeks, we hope you and your students have gained some valuable investing skills from your practical involvement. Whether you decided to be part of the next game, or if your students want to take your skills into their real world, here are some tips for them keep in mind:

  • Start with an investment strategy: What do you want to achieve? How long are you investing for – and how much do you need to meet your goal? 
  • Remember to manage your risk: Have you diversified your portfolio properly – with a mix of sectors, companies, assets and even geographies? Are you careful to invest in a way that suits your timeframe, goals and comfort with risk? 
  • Do your homework: Have you researched the companies that you’re going to invest in? Are they a growth or value investment? Are you engaging with sharemarket reports, blogs and articles? And are you keeping on top of economic and world events?
  • Take a longer-term view: The Australian sharemarket has been ranked as the world’s best-performing equity market in the last 121 years when measured by US dollars, returning an average of 6.6% each year (2).  But remember that’s on average – and in between those years it experienced downturns like the Great Depression, the 1990 recession, the tech bubble and the Global Financial Crisis. That's why the sharemarket is considered a long-term investment – because in real life, you can often make up for short-term losses with long-term gains.

 

(1) CommSec Economic Insights, Trading places: Growth, value and 2021’s Great Rotation, 14 April 2021.
(2) Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, Mike Staunton, Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2021 Summary Edition, March 2021.

Take the ASX online shares course

Our online shares course gives you a great overview of sharemarket essentials. Use it to refresh your knowledge of the sharemarket or dive deeper into the basics including:

  • different investment strategies 
  • the risks and benefits of investing in shares
  • how to understand market indices and sectors
  • buying and selling shares on the ASX
  • understanding fundamental analysis.

Complete our survey

We’d love to know your thoughts about the Schools Sharemarket Game. So, we invite all teachers whose students have been part of the game to complete our online survey by June 30. It only takes 5 minutes to complete. Your feedback will help us better understand your students’ needs so we can continue to improve the School Sharemarket Game.

April 2021: Strategies for success

As in real-life investing, to be successful in the Sharemarket Game you need a good strategy – a plan that guides your investment decisions. Here are two popular strategies used by investors.

In our last newsletter, we shared some strategy tips from a former Sharemarket Game three-time winner. This week, we look at two popular investment strategies and how they could help you invest during the game – and in real life.

1. Tap into broader economic trends

Changing economic trends can make companies – and therefore markets – rise and fall in value. Things like interest rates, exchange rates, inflation and economic data might affect companies that you want to invest in.

For example, Australia’s interest rates are at historical lows at the moment – making it cheaper for companies to borrow money. This can be welcome news for businesses that are expanding.

Changes in exchange rates can also benefit (or harm) a company’s profits. For example, a falling Australian dollar can benefit Australian companies selling their goods or commodities overseas, as it makes their goods cheaper to foreign buyers. But for companies importing materials or services from overseas, a falling Australian dollar can mean their costs will go up.

Social and political events can also impact economic trends. For example, in March 2020, as people across the globe went into lockdown, shares in video conferencing software company Zoom surged.[1]

Some potential trends to look out for in 2021 include:

  • sustainability and green infrastructure investment as the world moves away from fossil fuels
  • a rise in Australian household spending
  • e-commerce, as more companies continue to do business online.

2. Analyse a company’s fundamentals   

Investors also need to understand what’s going on within a company. The company’s fundamentals – its financial data – can show you how it performed in the past and now. They may also give you an idea about its future prospects and how it compares with its competitors.

So how do you know if your investment is value for money?

Earnings per share (EPS)

One way is to work out a company’s earnings per share (EPS) – what a company’s profits are, relative to its price. To work this out, divide the company’s profit (minus its dividends) by the number of outstanding shares.

You can also compare how a company’s EPS changes over time to see if its profits are growing, stable or on the way down.

Price/earnings (P/E)

Another important factor to consider is a company’s price/earnings ratio (P/E). This is the current share price divided by EPS.

Let’s say you’re comparing two companies that provide similar goods or services. Company A has an EPS of $3 and its current share price is $45. Company A has a P/E of 15 – this means its stock is trading at 15 times its earnings.

Meanwhile, company B’s EPS is $1.50, while its current share price is $60. Company B’s P/E is 40 – so its stock is trading at 40 times its earnings.

So does this mean that company B is expensive compared to company A? Perhaps – or it could have great growth prospects. Similarly, company A may be a bargain – or its profits may be declining.

Return on equity (ROE)

Another way to measure the performance of stocks in similar companies is by working out their return on equity (ROE) – how much profit companies generate from their assets. To work it out, divide a company’s net earnings (its profits) by its shareholders’ equity (the company’s assets minus its liabilities).

For example, say a company earned $10 million net last year, and has $100 million in shareholders’ equity. To work its ROE, divide $10 million by $100 million – which will give you a ROE of 10%.

Remember that ROE doesn’t include how much debt a company has on board – and high debt may increase a company’s risk. What’s more, using ROE to compare companies in different sectors may not be the best move. That’s because ROE doesn’t take into account things like how much capital a business needs to invest to produce its goods or services.

 

[1] Natasha Gillezean, Zoom shares shoot up as it targets global shift to hybrid working, AFR, 2 March 2021.

Game tip 1

You can use our charting tools to identify trends and opportunities to buy and sell a stock. To do this, go to your dashboard and click on Game play in the blue row on top of the page, then choose Company list from the drop-down menu. 

Game tip 2

To find which stocks are experiencing the greatest rises or falls this week, go to your dashboard and scroll down to the stocks on the move tile. 

 

Further reading

March 2021: Lessons from a former winner – and a new addition to the game

Get some tips from a three-time sharemarket winner and online investment platform CEO – and find out about a great new addition to the game. 

Three tips from a 3-time winner

20 years ago, Chris Brycki’s dad sat him down to teach him about shares. Chris went on to become the founder and CEO of Australian online investing business, Stockspot.

Chris is also a three-time winner of the ASX Sharemarket Game. But his first go wasn’t that successful – largely because he took a long-term, conservative approach.

So what made Chris a winner? Here are his top three tips.  

1. Do your research

Chris started having success when he began looking at current affairs and noticing how world events affected companies.


During the tech boom of the late 1990s and 2000s, Chris focused on tech shares. Then after September 11 when insurance stocks plummeted, Chris bought them at a cheap price and sold them when they rose, making a profit.

Chris also recommends that players research the different market sectors – then pick one that’s in the news and which might be volatile. When he was playing the Sharemarket Game, he relied heavily on the ASX website to drill down into those sectors of the market and identify potential companies.

“These days you have a lot more choices, with people discussing shares on social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.”

2. Think about your timing

In the Sharemarket Game, it can be tempting to get involved from day one and buy up a lot of shares. But there’s a danger of exhausting your opportunity to buy more down the track.

“Sometimes it makes sense to sit back and look at what’s going on and potentially buy later when prices may have fallen,” he said.

3. Take some risks

Chris stresses that in real life, he focuses on investing for the long term. But the Sharemarket Game has a very short time frame, so that requires a different strategy.

“You need to have a lot of concentration in your portfolio, which means putting a lot of money into similar companies rather than spreading it across different industries,” he said. “The most volatile and exciting are the ones that tend to help people win.”

Get more exposure with Exchange Traded Funds

When Chris was playing the Sharemarket Game, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) weren’t part of the game. But he says he wishes they were.

2021 is the first year that we’ve added ETFs. So what are they – and how do they work?

ETFs give you exposure to hundreds of companies in one trade. With ETFs, your funds are pooled with other investors’ money to buy a basket of shares. This makes it much cheaper to get exposure to a wide range of shares than if you had to buy them individually.

With an ETF, you invest in a portion of the underlying shares. You don’t actually own them – the ETF provider does. But you’ll benefit if those shares rise in value. And if any shares earn dividends, you’ll get a portion of them too.

In Australia, ETFs are passively managed. This means they track the performance of an index like the ASX200, or a commodity like gold or oil.

“ETFs are a great way to access lots of companies or a particular thematic of the market,” said Chris. “If I was playing the Sharemarket Game today I would probably use ETFs to give me exposure to an area of the market that was doing well and was quite volatile.”

Because you can create a more diversified portfolio, you can also use ETFs to better manage your risk. And ETFs can also save you time and effort in researching and choosing shares.

Unlike some investments, ETFs don’t have a fixed-term contract. So you can sell them quickly on the sharemarket if you want to.

Further reading

November 2020: Announcing the winners

The winners of 2020 Schools Sharemarket Game 2 and their insights on what made them successful.

Now that the Sharemarket Game is over, it’s time to congratulate our winners and look back on ups and downs of the last 10 weeks. And there certainly have been a few ups and downs to deal with!

Weighed down by worries about the pandemic and events like the US election, the sharemarket stayed largely steady throughout the game, with the ASX 200 index lifting just 1.9% between 28 August and 6 November 2020. Yet that didn’t mean there weren’t opportunities to be found.

Our top-performing student, Hugh from Christ Church Grammar in WA, managed to grow his portfolio by an amazing 23% – and several other competitors weren’t far behind.
So congratulations to our winners and to everyone who took part – we hope students had fun and learned something along the way! And remember, there will be more opportunities to test their trading skills, when registration opens for our first game of 2021 on 11 February.

  Syndicate  School Member Portfolio Value 
National and WA winner Vines Investing 

Christ Church Grammar School, WA Hugh (Year 10) $61,420.86
National runner up and NZ winner The Avengers  Otumoetai Intermediate, NZ Pania and Milla (Year 8) $60,445.44
National 3rd place and Qld winner Magic  Helensvale State High School, Qld Isobel (Year 9) $59,738.71
Tas winner  Sam Boonstra  Southern Christian College, Tas Sam (Year 9) $59,554.62
NSW winner Stocky Docky Fort Street High School, NSW Lachlan (Year 7)  $59,446.52
SA winner  Gusholnatla Westminster School, SA Holly, Natalie, Lachie and Gus (Year 10)  $58,415.19
Vic winner  Ripley P Marist Sion College, Vic Ripley (Year 9)  $58,320.33
ACT winner  King Cliff  St Mary MacKillop Catholic College Isabella Campus, ACT Jack and Ben (Year 12)  $56,831.38
nternational Winner  YeonWoo-Sua Fukuoka International School, Japan Sue and YeonWoo (Year 10) $55,064.46
NT winner  Kaye Ess  Casuarina Senior College, NT Kennith (Year 10)  $54,834.12

The successful teams used an interesting range of strategies. Here are a few of their insights:

"My tactic was to evaluate companies that seemed to have been on an extreme low and started to rise. I also thought about the sort of companies that would survive and flourish during this time of crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. I predicted the incline that was to occur on my stocks and read the markets movements accordingly. 

Research was a necessity … I researched the companies’ movements in times when the market itself was poor, and then predicted the same pattern would take place. 

I held my purchases as I was confident the rise of my stocks would not diminish. At times my peers would tell me to sell or to purchase more but I ultimately disregarded their opinions and stuck to the original game-plan.

The stockmarket is like a puzzle – you just have to find the pieces that fit!”

– Hugh (Year 10), National and WA winner

 

“Ripley purchased shares in lots of different companies (his final portfolio consisted of 14 companies). He kept those making a profit and if a company was losing money, he got rid of it quickly. He did research using The Bull, but each time he followed the recommendations that company lost him money! When he was on top of our league, he became more cautious … he stopped buying and selling in the last two/three weeks, even though ILU was over $4,000 in the red. This proved a benefit as ILU paid a dividend of nearly $4,500 which negated the loss and kept him on top.”

– Peter Grbic, teacher of Ripley (Year 9), Victorian winner

“My advice to help others would probably just be confident, don't second guess yourself half-way through!”

– Lachlan (Year 7), NSW winner

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