What stock would you like to see in the Stein Roe Young Investor Fund?
That was the question worth $5,000 in Young Investor Fund shares in the fourth annual Stein Roe Young Investor Essay Contest.
Sixth-grade winner Catherine Hobson of Mesa, Ariz., suggested VoiceStream Wireless Corp. Why?
"VoiceStream marketing hits (the) target when it chose Jamie Curtis as its spokesperson. She is able to relate to kids as well as adults, providing VoiceStream with instant credibility," Ms. Hobson wrote.
Fifth-grade winner Bethany Murphy of Mt. Laurel, N.J., chose an old economy stock: Home Depot Inc. At first she'd considered choosing a toy company, but then after all those long hours spent in Home Depot with her parents, she decided to switch. Sort of.
"I guess Home Depot is more than a home improvement store, it's an adult toy store. Kids have to drag their parents out of there," she said.
The seventh-grade winner was Bryan Mayadas of Bellaire, Texas, who chose McDonald's Corp. One reason is the fast food chain's environmental efforts to reduce the amount of energy used in its restaurants, and to reduce the level of waste by recycling. He also cited contributions to charitable causes such as the Ronald McDonald House.
David Brady -- who, along with Eric Grstafson, is a contest judge and co-manager of the Stein Roe Young Investor Fund -- said the social conscience of the participants was an overriding theme of the essays.
"Not only do they like to see companies that are growing," said Mr. Brady, "they like to see them doing positive things in the community as well."
In choosing the winning papers, Mr. Brady said it was the thought process and the argument made that he looked for, not the stock price of the firm chosen. "It didn't matter what company they picked. But if they had a logical reason for wanting to see it in the fund, that's what really stood out to me," he said.
Stein Roe will not be incorporating the students' picks into the fund.