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LAWRENCE — If you have a few thousand dollars to invest, you might want to talk to Jack Tateronis, a recent graduate of Central Catholic High School, about how to make that money grow.
Tateronis, of North Reading, recently took first place among Massachusetts entrants in the Stock Market Game, organized by the SIFMA Foundation. Tateronis, who will soon begin his freshman year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, and his competitors each were given a hypothetical $100,000 to invest.
From November to April, they kept tabs on the stock market and “invested” in various companies, he said. Tateronis won, having grown his fund to $115,300. Not bad for only a few months.
Central Catholic students participate in the Stock Market Game each year as part of the marketing and investments course taught by business instructor Chuck Adamopoulos, who is also the head football coach at the school.
Teams of two students enter the 14-week competition – though Tateronis accepted the challenge of being the sole member of a “team” due to the odd number of students in the class.
Tateronis and all the Massachusetts competitors reviewed daily online reports of thousands of companies and made choices for their investments.
His success, he said, was due largely to growth in the value of commercial mortgages securities and “shorting” his investment in Snapchat when he discovered that Facebook and Instagram were coming out with a similar feature.
When the markets closed on the Stock Market Game in April, Tateronis’ hypothetical $100,000 investment was valued at $115,300, earning him the top spot over 1,500 teams.
“It was a little nerve-wracking at times. I even went into debt for a few days and had to sell of some investments to get back to even before making solid gains,” he said.
To learn more about financial markets, Tateronis and a friend started an investment club with hypothetical funds several years ago. He soon connected with students at Bowdoin College who had similar interests in finance and mathematical algorithms, steps for completing a task.
As a sport, they have tested these algorithms for consistency of earnings. While playing the Stock Market Game, Tateronis analyzed the cash flow of publicly traded companies, he said.
This information, he noted, is available for public corporations.
Not surprisingly, Tateronis said he will likely work in the world of finance, although he is not certain whether he will end up as a stockbroker or in some other position.
For all the attempts many smart people have made at figuring out how to make lots of money in the stock market, it’s an inexact science.
An investor, he said, is similar to a professional gambler.