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Playing the market

Students, U.S. reps become gamers in market challenge

Some financially curious students from Central High School in Louisville, Ky., work on their $100,000 portfolio during last year’s Stock Market Game Capitol Hill Challenge. This year’s contest was launched Feb. 4.

Politics and investing literacy will intersect over the coming months as the 16th annual Stock Market Game Capitol Hill Challenge gets underway.

Launched Feb. 4 by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the $8.5 million SIFMA Foundation, Washington, and supported by the Charles Schwab Foundation, the 14-week financial education competition matches members of Congress with middle and high school students in every congressional district. The size of the Schwab Foundation could not be learned.

Student teams learn about capital markets as they try to get the best returns on a hypothetical $100,000 portfolio in listed stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The competition uses the SIFMA Foundation's curriculum-based Stock Market Game to help students understand fiscal policymaking, capital markets and global economic trends. The top 10 teams will be recognized at an awards reception in Washington on June 11.

According to SIFMA, a trade association for broker-dealers, investment banks and asset managers operating in the U.S. and global capital markets, schools in every congressional district and every member of Congress have participated in the program for the past five years. Students from all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are participating in this year's competition.

The Capitol Hill Challenge can help middle and high school students better understand personal finance and the capital markets, "and it gives members of Congress an opportunity to help their local public schools access financial education," said Melanie Mortimer, SIFMA Foundation president.