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Sharemarket Game news

Read the latest tips and updates for the Sharemarket game

The benefits of diversification

In this issue, we get to know the key market indices and sectors. We also explore diversification as an important investment strategy – and the role that ETFs can play in diversifying your portfolio.

Lets look at how you can use ETFs to build a diversified portfolio. But first, you’ll need to know the different market indices and sectors and understand the basics of diversification.
 

Understanding market indices

A sharemarket index measures performance over time – by tracking the change in price of a basket of shares. The more shares in the basket, the more closely the index will represent the entire market. Investors can use sharemarket indices to compare the performance of one group of shares against their past performance and against other groups of shares.

There are indices for sharemarkets all around the world. The most well-known is the Dow Jones Industrial Average which measures the share values of the top companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The most important indices in Australia are:

  • The All Ordinaries measures the share prices for 500 of Australia’s largest companies, to show the overall performance of the Australian sharemarket. The companies are weighted according to market capitalisation – that is, the number of shares multiplied by the share price. That means very large companies represent a bigger component of the All Ords than smaller companies, so movements in their share prices will have a significant effect on the index. 

  • S&P/ASX 200 Index is the main index for the Australian market and is considered the benchmark for the performance of Australian shares. The index is based on the 200 largest ASX listed stocks, weighted by their market capitalisation. Unlike the All Ords, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is rebalanced every quarter and has a set minimum market capitalisation and liquidity requirement.
     

Understanding sectors

Companies listed on sharemarket indices can be categorised in a number of ways – for example, according to their relative size and past price performance. The Global Industry Classification Standards (GICS) are used to group companies into different sectors based on their main business activities. 

This enables investors to compare stocks around the world through their industry classification, to get a clearer picture of which area of the market is performing most strongly. It’s then possible to identify individual companies that are driving the performance of that sector. 


Understanding diversification

Diversification is a risk management strategy that mixes a variety of investments within a portfolio. As an investor, it’s a way of spreading your money across different companies, sectors, markets and asset types, to protect against a downturn in performance by having a broader exposure. You can also diversify geographically, by investing in both domestic and foreign markets. 

The idea is that a positive performance in one area of your portfolio will outweigh the negatives in another, reducing the overall impact if one or more of your investments performs poorly. Diversification minimises your exposure to a single market to ensure a steady stream of returns from other high-performing investments.

For example, if your money was invested only in the tourism sector at the beginning of 2020, your portfolio would have been negatively impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19. But if you were also invested in other sectors that performed well during the pandemic, such as tech companies or delivery services, this would help compensate. 

Using ETFs to diversify your portfolio

Game tip:

The Sharemarket Game offers Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), so you can invest in hundreds of different shares with just one trade. Including ETFs within your portfolio is one way to reap the benefits of diversification and protect your investments against potential market downturns.

An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is a type of security that tracks an index, sector, or asset – allowing you to buy a basket of shares or assets in a single trade. They can cover a whole range of markets and assets, both domestic and international, including:

  • the Australian sharemarket 
  • sectors of the Australian sharemarket, such as industry sectors  
  • overseas sharemarkets 
  • sectors of overseas sharemarkets, such as industry sectors or geographic sectors
  • fixed income 
  • foreign currencies
  • commodities. 

ETFs work by pooling your money with other investors, similar to a managed fund, but you can trade them on the ASX like you do with shares. With an ETF, you’re able to track a range of indices and gain exposure to high-growth areas of the market – for example, by tracking a specific sector index. 

Investing in ETFs can not only save you time and effort in choosing shares, but they also offer a simple and cost-effective way to diversify your portfolio. This is because in each trade you get exposure to all the stocks in the index your ETF tracks while only paying brokerage on a single transaction. ETFs can also help you diversify your portfolio across asset classes and markets that would otherwise be difficult or expensive to access. 

Important information

Information provided is for educational purposes and does not constitute financial product advice.

You should obtain independent advice from an Australian financial services licensee before making any financial decisions. ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate (“ASX”) does not give any warranty or representation as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information.

To the extent permitted by law, ASX and its employees, officers and contractors shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising in any way (including by way of negligence) from or in connection with any information provided or omitted or from anyone acting or refraining to act in reliance on this information.

© Copyright 2021 ASX Operations Pty Limited ABN 42 004 523 782. All rights reserved 2021.

October Movers and shakers

Last month’s leader is still sitting near the top, while our most improved player has used a strategy to exploit short-term volatility.

Meet the top two players on the ASX Sharemarket Game leaderboard, as at close of trade on Monday 27 September:

Position Player Name Portfolio Value as at 27/09/2021
1 Dogan Fil $62,362.27
2 Bourse Bandit $62,050.22

Buy and hold – with a focus on airlines

This week’s top player, Dogan Fil, has taken a buy and hold approach. They’ve invested in pharmaceuticals and media and entertainment – but put most of their money into airline and travel stocks. 

Airline share prices fell considerably in 2020 when closed borders halted most international travel. But as more of the world gets vaccinated and borders slowly open, airline and travel stocks are likely to move higher. The pandemic far from over though, so they may have a bumpy ride on the way.

Dogan Fil purchased bought most of their stocks at the end of August and haven’t sold any stocks at this stage. This ‘buy and hold’ strategy has served them well. They haven’t tried to time the market, and haven’t been panicked by short-term fluctuations in share prices. 

Remember that over time, sharemarkets tend to outperform other investments over long periods of time. So it’s important to be able to ride out short-term volatility. 

That said, in the Sharemarket Game this strategy doesn’t always create winners. That’s because the short timeframe generally allows people to benefit from volatility. However, until now at least, buy and hold is working well for Dogan Fil.

 

Diversified portfolio still going strong

Bourse Bandit was on top of our leaderboard one month ago. They’re in second place now and have abandoned their buy and hold strategy, selling some banking and retail stocks. They’ve also bought some travel stocks and shares in another bank.

Bourse Bandit also benefited when one of their companies paid out a healthy dividend to investors in late August and early September.

Bourse Bandit may have switched their buy and hold strategy, but they’ve maintained a diversified portfolio, with investment in estate, consumer discretionary, financials and IT. 

OzTdog –most improved player

Position Player Name Portfolio Value as at 27/09/2021
166 OzTdog $54,932.62

Our most improved player for this week, OzTdog, is focused predominantly on energy and pharmaceuticals. But in the past, they’ve bought and sold banking and diversified financials, food and beverage, healthcare, materials and utilities stocks.

OzTdog is using a ‘buy low/sell high’ strategy – attempting to purchase stocks at a relatively low price, then selling them when the price rises. They’re making the most of the Sharemarket Game’s short investment timeframe that makes it easier to gain from market volatility and short-term shifts in the market. 

In the real world investors this is a tough strategy to employ. Generally, people who focus on building a diversified portfolio of quality stocks and hold them for the long term (at least 10 years) tend to be the most successful investors.

Important information

Information provided is for educational purposes and does not constitute financial product advice.

You should obtain independent advice from an Australian financial services licensee before making any financial decisions. ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate (“ASX”) does not give any warranty or representation as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information.

To the extent permitted by law, ASX and its employees, officers and contractors shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising in any way (including by way of negligence) from or in connection with any information provided or omitted or from anyone acting or refraining to act in reliance on this information.

© Copyright 2021 ASX Operations Pty Limited ABN 42 004 523 782. All rights reserved 2021.

Reporting season – and more about shares

In this newsletter, we look at the 2021 reporting season and the benefits and risks of shares. We also get some insights from a previous Sharemarket Game player.
 

Insights from 2021 reporting season

In Australia, the end of the financial year (EOFY) is June 30. So most publicly listed Australian companies report their full-year earnings results in August and their half-year results in February. 

So what’s the point of reporting season – and what did we learn from it in 2021?

Reporting season – why you should care?

By law, companies listed on ASX must report their earnings, results and forecasts to shareholders during each reporting season. 

By listening to earnings reports, you can find out more about a company’s financial position and outlook. And you can also gain insight into industry trends and the direction of the economy.

2021’s results – and some insights

This August, 171 companies reported their earnings result and 82% reported a profit. In an average reporting season, about 88% of companies report a profit – so the 2021 reporting season was lower than usual. 

Interestingly though, those companies that did make a profit made more than on average, which has boosted their cash holdings. As a result, more companies have rewarded their shareholders by paying them dividends.

NOTE: dividends in the Game may not reflect market conditions and players should refer to the dividend information in the Game for more details.

Despite the positive results, companies expressed a very cautious outlook due to the ongoing pandemic. 
 

Who did well and why?

The 2020 lockdowns had a positive effect on some industries because consumers spent more on food and household goods. Supermarket retailers like Woolworths (ASX: WOW ) performed well, although profits decreased in the second half of the year as the economy began to open up. Online furniture retailer Temple and Webster saw revenues rise by 85%, electronics business JB Hi-Fi (ASX: JBH) reported a 60% lift in profits, and Bunnings owner Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) also performed strongly.

Healthcare companies that provided goods and services related to the pandemic outperformed this year. Ansell (ASX: ANN) prices rose on the back of high demand for PPE – although temporary supply chain issues in Asia may affect their future earnings. 

While travel and tourism have been heavily impacted by border closures, Flight Centre (ASX: FLT) has some recovery in North America and Europe as countries slowly open up. Whether that growth can be sustained will depend on how well the world contains the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Other events besides the pandemic also affected companies’ earnings this year. Fintech company Afterpay’s (ASX: APT) sales increased by 90%, but its earnings fell and it posted a loss due to increased expenses as it focused on global growth. 

Mining company Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) posted record earnings, revenue, and profits – largely on the back of strong demand for steel from China, which boosted iron ore prices. As well as paying dividends, the profits are helping the miner decarbonise by producing green electricity, hydrogen, and other green industrial products. 

Meanwhile, China’s falling birth rate along with border closures weighed down on a2 Milk Company (ASX: A2M), whose net profit slumped by 79.1%.
 

Shares: risk and benefits

As an asset class, shares tend to perform very well over the long term. But individual shares come with many risks and benefits. Shares are:

  • liquid – which means they’re easy to sell and turn into cash 
  • comparatively cheap to buy – unlike (say) property, which requires a large deposit, stamp duty, conveyancing costs and other ongoing expenses
  • tax efficient if you own them for more than 12 months – if you sell your shares after owning them for 12 months or more, you only have to declare half of any capital gains you make on your shares.

However, like any investment shares come with risks. These include the risk that:

  • you may lose some or all of your investment
  • your shares could be highly volatile, and the market may perform poorly just before you are ready to sell your shares
  • your shares could be affected by changing legislation, or by moves in currency if you’ve bought international shares
  • The advice you receive does not match your risk appetite or your strategies underperform. 

Game tip: How to use watchlists

Almost 60% of players told us they used watchlists to track companies they were interested in.

You can use the watchlist to follow companies, buy or sell shares directly from the list, view the details of a specific company, or even view your watchlist by sector.

Using the watchlist

  • To add companies to your watchlist, use the + symbol on the company list page. 
  • To view your watchlist, click on Watchlist from the Game play dropdown menu 
  • To remove a company from your watchlist, click on the orange button next to the company name on your watchlist.
  • To buy or sell shares in a company, go to the buy or sell button at the end of the company row.
  • To view details of a specific company, click on the company code at the beginning of the row and it will take you straight to the company page.
  • To search by sector, go to the drop-down box Select companies by sector above the blue row on top of the watchlist, then click on the arrow. It will show you all the sectors you’ve currently invested in. Click on the sector that you want to look at.

Women and investing    

While more women are turning to investing to build their financial future, men are still more likely to invest in the sharemarket. And in terms of the Sharemarket Game, the gender gap is very wide – men made up 80% of players in the first round of the 2021 Sharemarket Game. We also found that 67% of women said they were beginners, compared to 47% of men. 

Carmen, who played under the name Pilar, was one of the top women players in the previous round of the public Sharemarket Game. Here, she tells us about her experience of the Game, the strategies she used – and how she compares the Game to real-life investing.

Q: What made you decide to play the Sharemarket Game?
We’d been investing in shares or managed funds and I wanted to know more about them. I found out about the Sharemarket Game when my kids started playing it at school. I thought it was good because of the tools it has, like charts, to research companies. 
Q: What research did you do into the shares that you bought? 
I Googled the company to find out more about them – like what areas they are spending in or how relevant their business is at the moment. I tried to follow market closely and try to work out what companies were important during the months of the Game. 
Q: Did you use any of the tools on the ASX Sharemarket Game platform? 
I really liked the charting tools. I also used the watchlist a lot. I normally turn this information into a spreadsheet so that I can see the trends and how these stock have been performing.
Q: Tell us about your overall strategy for the Sharemarket Game
I tried to pay attention to the news, and invest in areas that appeared to be doing well. So obviously, shares in tourism are not doing so well right now. I focused on shares in medical companies – like those producing vaccines, because I thought they were probably doing well at the moment. I chose four companies to invest in and tried to stick to those companies as much as possible. 
Q: Did you stick to your strategy or change it as the Game progressed? 
I tried to stick to it, but then work got demanding for a few weeks and I didn't pay as much attention. And when I came back to the Game, I had lost my position. I tried to regain it but it was really too late. That’s when I realised the importance of paying close attention in the Game, because it’s a very short term timeframe for investing. 
Q: Did you decide to invest in ETFs?
I haven’t yet. I’m studying them – I think it’s important to research them first. But maybe I will in a later Game. 
Q: What lessons do you think you'll take from the game into real life investment? 
In real life, again, I will probably review my investments more regularly – say every six months or a year. I also learned the importance of not panicking because that’s when you make the worst decisions. I was number one for a while and then I thought – “It’s not great to be number one because you can only go down!” I started to panic and you have to overcome that. Because to be honest, if I hadn’t touched my shares, I probably would have ended up doing better.  
Q: Our research shows that men still outnumber women as investors. What would encourage more women to invest, in your opinion?
I think women need to realise we need to take control of our financial welfare. Even if we work with financial professionals, we need to know what they’re talking about, what fees they are charging, and what it will cost if we sell our shares within one year and have to pay capital  gains tax – things like that.

Important information

Information provided is for educational purposes and does not constitute financial product advice.

You should obtain independent advice from an Australian financial services licensee before making any financial decisions. ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate (“ASX”) does not give any warranty or representation as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information.

To the extent permitted by law, ASX and its employees, officers and contractors shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising in any way (including by way of negligence) from or in connection with any information provided or omitted or from anyone acting or refraining to act in reliance on this information.

© Copyright 2021 ASX Operations Pty Limited ABN 42 004 523 782. All rights reserved 2021.

September Movers and shakers

Who’s winning or gaining momentum on the Sharemarket Game leaderboard – and why?

Meet the top two players on the ASX Sharemarket Game leaderboard, as at close of trade on Monday 30 August:

Position Player Name Portfolio Value as at 30/08/2021
1 Bourse Bandit $57,019.30
2 Dosh for Dosh $56,639.69

Buy and hold a winner – for now

Our top player for the week, Bourse Bandit, has adopted a buy and hold strategy so far. They’ve chosen to start off the game by investing in companies across a range of sectors including real estate, consumer discretionary, financials and IT. As at the close of trade on Monday, every single stock in Bourse Bandit’s portfolio was profitable.

So far, the competition leader has been happy to sit on their gains – but we’ll see if Bourse Bandit maintains their strategy. Buy and hold is often referred to as a ‘passive’ investment strategy. This means the investor holds stocks over a long period, aiming to ride out market volatility. This way, they avoid trying to time the market or make panicked decisions during volatile times. 

Coupled with genuine diversification, buy and hold is a sound long-term strategy. But in a short timeframe of the Sharemarket Game, it’s not always a winner – largely because it doesn’t allow you to make rapid gains during times of market volatility.
 

Picks of the pandemic

Dosh for Dosh is looking to invest a little more thematically than Bourse Bandit. Specifically, they’re targeting sectors that are performing well in the pandemic like food, pharmaceuticals and IT. 

As at the close of trade on Monday 30 August, Dosh for Dosh held stocks in a fast food franchiser, a biotech company that produces vaccines and a data centre operator. You can see how those companies might benefit in a lockdown caused by a pandemic – people are ordering food through the likes of Uber Eats, they’re lining up to get vaccinated and they’re spending lots of time online! 

Dosh for Dosh has further diversified by investing in the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS), which tracks the ASX 300 index. This is only the second round of the Sharemarket Game that has offered ETFs. You can find out more about the history and outlook for ETFs here.

Flying high – our most improved player

Position Player Name Portfolio Value as at 30/08/2021
12 Kinfish $55,143.67

Our most improved player for this week, Kinfish, has also taken a thematic investment approach. They’re trading entirely in travel and airline stocks. They’ve also attempted a ‘buy low/sell high’ strategy – looking to buy stocks when the price is relatively low and then sell when it rises. 

Trading frequently in one sector can work over a short investment timeframe like the Sharemarket Game. That’s because it lets you exploit market volatility and short-term gains. 

On the downside, it can lead to overexposure to one sector. And trying to time the market’s ups and downs is really tricky because daily changes in prices are often based on investors’ emotions and ever-changing consumer sentiment.

At the time of our tally, Kinfish held their entire portfolio in cash. So whether they’re going to continue with the airline theme remains up in the air – for now, at least!

What’s your game plan?

The first step to successful investing is to set a winning strategy. Here’s how to get started.

Playing the sharemarket game is a lot like investing in real life. Both in the game and on the markets, an important first step is to set clear investment goals, then design a strategy to achieve them.

Of course, there are also some important differences. The game only includes some of the companies available on ASX (233 versus more than 2,000). And the game only runs for a limited time, so everyone who plays has the same, short investment time-frame. Both of these differences will affect your game plan.

Nonetheless, playing the game is a great way to set and test your strategy, and to think about the kinds of issues you need to consider for longer term investing. Here are some of the most important.

Growth versus income

Shares can offer two types of return:

  • capital growth, when a share price increases, and
  • income, when the company shares profits with shareholders by paying dividends. 

In real life, you’ll want to consider which is most important to you, depending on your personal situation and your investment goals. In the game, you may want to benefit from both, or to focus purely on growth.

To receive a dividend from a company, you need to buy its shares before the ex-dividend date, or “ex date”. Remember that a share price may fall by the dividend amount on or after the ex-date, since anyone buying the share after that date won’t receive the dividend.

Risk versus return

All investments carry some risk, but not all investments are equally risky. In general, the higher the potential return, the higher the risk. For example, a large, mature company paying regular dividends may have less growth potential than a small startup in an untested industry, but its share price is also likely to be more stable.

Only you can decide how much risk you’re comfortable with – both in the game, and in the real world. You also need to consider how to manage risk, and whether you will sell any shares that underperform. One of the most effective ways to manage risk is to diversify your portfolio across companies and sectors. 

Game tip

Go to Game play > Dividends+ to view a list of upcoming dividends and other corporate actions affecting companies in the game, including those affecting your portfolio.

Game tip

In the game, you can use a Falling Sell to automatically sell shares that fall in price to limit your loss, even when you’re not monitoring your portfolio.

The broader economy versus company specific factors

Next, you’ll want to think about economic trends and upcoming events that may affect a company’s performance during the life of the game. That includes both:

Broad economic factors, like changes in government policy, unemployment data, consumer and business confidence, retail sales trends, or changing commodity prices. Look out for upcoming announcements, and consider how they could affect your portfolio.

Company specific factors, like earnings and performance updates, dividend payments, new products or discoveries. A positive or negative announcement can lead to rapid changes in a company’s share price.

Checking in and staying flexible

An investment strategy is not something you can just set and forget – especially when your time frame is just 15 weeks. 

In past games, the most successful players have spent about 30 minutes a day researching stocks and monitoring their portfolios. Of course, not everyone has that kind of time – and research shows that long-term share investors often check their portfolios much less regularly. All the same, it’s still important to monitor your portfolio’s performance and update your strategy if it doesn’t look like achieving your goals.

Don’t forget to look out for upcoming events that could affect your portfolio – both macro factors, like economic news, and share-specific factors, like dividend payments or company announcements. 

Creating a strategy in five steps

  1. Decide on your goals
  2. Decide on your stock selection criteria
  3. Research the market and the economy
  4. Decide on your approach to risk management
  5. Decide how and when you will review your portfolio/update your strategy

Important information

Information provided is for educational purposes and does not constitute financial product advice.

You should obtain independent advice from an Australian financial services licensee before making any financial decisions. ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate (“ASX”) does not give any warranty or representation as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information.

To the extent permitted by law, ASX and its employees, officers and contractors shall not be liable for any loss or damage arising in any way (including by way of negligence) from or in connection with any information provided or omitted or from anyone acting or refraining to act in reliance on this information.

© Copyright 2021 ASX Operations Pty Limited ABN 42 004 523 782. All rights reserved 2021.

July 2021: Announcing the winners of Game 1

Join us in congratulating our Sharemarket Game winners – and learn more about their strategies.

Game wrap-up

Another gripping Sharemarket Game has come to an end with a clear winner – 18-year-old Campbell (BUY GME AND SILVER) from New South Wales. He crossed the finish line with a final portfolio worth $70,435. 

Coming in at second place was Victoria’s Mark (MarkRicho). Like Campbell, Mark’s view that lithium mining stocks would increase due to rising demand for electric vehicles helped drive his strategy, leaving him with a healthy balance of $67,833 at game end. And Queenslander Martin (Slurchie) finished in third place with a portfolio valued at $65,858.

National first place winner

Campbell (BUY GME AND SILVER) from NSW

Have you played the game before?

I’ve previously played in the school sector. Now that I’m 18, I decided to step up into the public game.

How did you choose your companies?

I saw the lithium price soaring so I invested most of my $50,000 into lithium stocks as soon as the game began.

What was your strategy/plan?

Buy and hold. Coming out of COVID-19 and a large market dip, I chose an industry that I believed would increase with the market. After holding these lithium companies for over two months I sold everything when worldwide markets started reaching all-time highs. 

Not long after I bought back into most of the same lithium stocks for 10-15% less than what I had sold them for – after which they rose to the same price that I’d sold them at.

Did you stick to your plan?

Yes – I bought and held, with only one sale to protect against profit-takers and a market correction. 

What was your biggest lesson?

In volatile markets, buy into companies that have a good foundation but have room for long-term growth. 

First runner-up

Mark (MarkRicho) from VIC

Have you played the game before?

Yes, more than 10 times.

How many hours a day did you spend on the game – including research etc?

I spent 10 minutes a day checking stock-specific and finance news.

How did you choose your companies?

At the start, I believed exposure to lithium would deliver the best returns over the game. For the last decade I’ve watched lithium’s journey and saw its spot prices rise strongly over the past year as demand for electric vehicles grew. 

What was your strategy/plan?

My strategy was to buy and hold the four stocks I had, and continue to monitor the weekly lithium spot prices as well as other commodity prices and sectors. If lithium prices turned flat or downwards then I would consider trading out of lithium and into another sector.

Did you stick to your plan?

I stuck to holding mostly lithium for the first 14 weeks and found myself in the top 10 rankings. It seemed most top 10 players had the same idea. In the last few weeks of the Game, the lithium price increases slowed down, coal prices were trending up and some technology stocks started rising, so I sold lithium stocks and bought into technology and coal – sectors that seemed to have stronger momentum. 

What was your biggest lesson?

To stick to your investment strategy and back your own judgement if you have done your research. Lithium stocks dropped 10% in the first few weeks of the game, but finished rising by 30% by the end.

Second runner-up

Martin (Slurchie) from QLD

Have you played the game before?

Once before, but I didn't last the whole game.

How many hours a day did you spend on the game – including research etc?

I only bought and sold the group stocks I was following on days when I could spare the time. On those days I spent less than 30 minutes buying and selling, and up and to 30 minutes monitoring and researching.

How did you choose your companies?

Initially, I used a list of companies that I would normally see as too risky for long-term investments. Toward the end I selected stocks that had had recent bad news or were undervalued.

What was your strategy/plan?

I looked for stocks with a cyclic pattern that I could benefit from in the short 3-month period. I bought toward the bottom of the stock’s price range and sold when I could make between 5-10%.

Did you stick to your plan?

No – about half way through, hoping to catch up with the leaders, I looked at depressed stocks with reasonable fundamentals that had recently had bad news. 

Then I sold stocks that hadn't moved, or had losses to give me some spare cash and just held stocks that I thought might get me some gains. The last day was just luck – I was holding IT stocks that went up slightly while everyone else seemed to be holding something that suffered significant losses.

How did you handle the market volatility?

I was attracted to the market volatility throughout the competition but towards the end I tried to maintain enough cash to buy if there was a significant drop. 

What was your biggest lesson?

This isn’t the kind of trading I’d do with my own money. It highlighted that the quality of the businesses I was investing in wasn't reflected in the price performance during the game’s short period.

Anything else you think would help other players?

Everyone should have a go at the Sharemarket Game for fun – but don't model your own investments on this type of trading.

League winners

The winning league in the ‘10 players or fewer’ category was ANDO, whose ‘in it for the fun’ attitude worked out beautifully. The ANDO league finished the game with a portfolio of stocks worth $61,324.

Leading the ‘11 players or more’ category was New South Wales league PSV Stocks, who wrapped up the game with a portfolio worth $52,823.

Congratulations to all our winners – and everyone who participated in Game 1 of the 2021 Sharemarket Game. We hope you all enjoyed the experience and learned some valuable lessons about investing. 

Here are our winner’s strategies – and lessons learned.

League winner – more than 10 players

PSV Stocks from NSW

What was your motivation to create a league?

Given the recent challenges of COVID, we wanted to get our people involved in something engaging to build team spirit.

How many hours a day did you spend on the game – including research etc?

Probably no more than one hour daily.

How did you choose your companies?

Watching the news, financial reviews and observing trends. We analysed today’s world, to try and work out what was driving each company within the stock market and externally.

What was your strategy/plan?

We tried to encourage a healthy level of competitive spirit between colleagues, so we all invested in different companies. It forced us to also stay on board and not put all our eggs in one basket. 

Did you stick to your plan?

Not really!

How did you handle the market volatility? 

I guess we just relied on our gut feeling and got rid of shares that kept declining.

What was the biggest lesson you have learnt?

You win some and you lose some.

10 active players or fewer

ANDO from VIC

What was your motivation to create a league?

To have fun with friends.

How many hours a day did you spend on the game – including research etc?

About a half to one hour a day on research and trading.

How did you choose your companies?

For some, based on how we thought COVID-19 would affect the market. We bought others in the dips, hoping for a significant rise.

What was your strategy/plan?

Buy in the dips and hold companies no matter what until they make a profit. If we thought we’d found a company worth buying, we told the others.

Did you stick to your plan?

Yes, we weren’t tempted to deviate from it because it was working well.

How did you handle the market volatility?

It was a surprise how volatile the market could actually be, but we mostly stuck to lower-risk investments.

What was the biggest lesson you have learnt?

How the stock market really works and how to properly use it.