2017-12-06 / Features

Queens College Students Win $30K In Simulated Trading Competition


Queens College students win the top prize in TD Ameritrade’s collegiate virtual trading competition, the thinkorswim Challenge. Students from Columbia Law School and Kings College placed second and third, respectively. (L. to r.): Max Fruchter, Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Shlomo Sandler, the students’ faculty mentor Professor Luc Marest, and Daniel Baruch. Queens College students win the top prize in TD Ameritrade’s collegiate virtual trading competition, the thinkorswim Challenge. Students from Columbia Law School and Kings College placed second and third, respectively. (L. to r.): Max Fruchter, Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Shlomo Sandler, the students’ faculty mentor Professor Luc Marest, and Daniel Baruch. Three students from Queens College, City University of New York, turned in an impressive 427 percent total portfolio gain in four weeks, outperforming nearly 930 other teams to win the fourth annual thinkorswim Challenge by TD Ameritrade.

The team of three students from Queens College, who placed the most trades during the competition, 942, took first place with a 427 percentage portfolio gain and an ending portfolio value of $2,636,000. The team of Queens College undergraduate students included senior Max Fruchter, an economics and finance double major; junior Shlomo Sandler, an accounting major; and junior Daniel Baruch, an applied physics major. There were three teams from Queens College competing in this year’s challenge.

Similar to last year’s challenge, participants in the 2017 challenge showed a preference for options. All virtual trades placed by the winning team were options trades, resulting in “profits” of over $200,000 for underlying symbols including Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), and Expedia Inc. (EXPE). A similar return was seen from options trades on Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), which accounted for five percent of the team’s overall trades. The Queens College team was optimistic about the market overall and their trading strategy, with 52 percent of trades being bullish.

Each member of the challenge’s overall winning team received $3,000 (real, not virtual!) to be deposited into individual TD Ameritrade brokerage accounts. As the school affiliated with the overall winning team, Queens College received $30,000 from TD Ameritrade for its role in educating students on the importance of investing.

A staggering $1.3 million in virtual trading profits separated the competition’s overall winner from the second place team, which was from Columbia Law School. Third place was King’s College.

For the second year, students made more trades in the technology sector than in any other sector. Tesla (TSLA) was the most frequently traded stock followed by Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), while Netflix (NFLX) and Nvidia (NVDA) rounded out the top five.

In a 2017 TD Ameritrade survey, nearly a fifth of respondents admitted that they did not know anything about the stock market or investing, which could be the result of limited financial education in high school and college. The same survey revealed that only nine percent took a financial course in high school and seven percent took a financial course in college.

Options involve risks and are not suitable for all investors. Inclusion of actual symbols is for reference only and is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any specific security.

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