Stocking up

By Olivia Kwitny and Mary-Rose Fissinger

Will Davidson ’11 sits quietly in the quad, momentarily disengaged from the conversations around him. His attention is focused on his iPhone. One might assume Davidson would be texting or finding a song on iTunes, but instead he is checking the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

This scenario is not uncommon. Several students invest in the stock market and monitor their earnings or losses daily.

Davidson ’11 has seen the upside of the Dow. Davidson’s gamble proved right when his investment in Ford stock blossomed with more than 500 percent profit.

“I figured one car company would go out of business around this time and so out of all the other car companies, Ford would have a better chance of survival than GM,” Davidson said.

Another investor new to the game is Greg Zalevsky ’11, who is currently invested in Activision-Blizzard (ATVI), a console game publisher.

He too checks the market every day, and has experienced firsthand the ups and downs of the economy.

“I made a profit, but once the recession hit, a few of my stocks tanked and are currently building up again,” Zalevsky said.

In addition to all these rookie stock investors is Jono Wachter ’11.

“I check the market every day during every school period,” said Wachter.

One company in particular that Wachter invests in is RIM, the company that makes Blackberry. Wachter invests in many different types so that “if one industry is doing poorly, I won’t get crushed all at once.”

Not only is Wachter investing in American companies, but he also takes interest in foreign companies because their economies are currently in better shape, he said. However, stocks are not all fun and games.

“Stocks can be the most frustrating thing in the world because sometimes it’s really hard to get yourself to buy what you hope might go up,” said Wachter.

“It is by no means an easy process,” said Jake Gutman ’10.

Gutman started investing when he was 14 years old. He has come to understand that the real profit is not in “stable stationary companies,” but in somewhat unknown companies.

Gutman said he has watched his grandfather, who has been investing for over 60 years, watch MSNBC and read newsletters to enhance his knowledge about the market.

“[He] tends to invest in foreign companies that produce or supply very basic needs and therefore will be profitable even in a downturn as we have now,” said Gutman.

Such companies are based on developing solar panels, natural gas, and wind power.

Although the recent economic downturn occurred, Gutman says that the last nine months could have been a “golden opportunity” if one positioned their investments right.

“The green economy will be a huge industry in the coming years so any companies that develop alternative energy solutions are looking to profit in the near future,” said Gutman.

Like the other investors, Gutman checks the market at least once or twice during the day at school on a computer or on his Bloomberg iPhone app.

“It’s important to stay up to date because everything can change in one minute and if you don’t know where the market or a company looks like it’s heading, it can be serious trouble for your investments,” said Gutman.

“In reality no one really knows for sure answers to these questions so it really is a lot of hard work and due diligence but also luck,” said Gutman.

As unpredictable as the stock market is, Gutman says he definitely plans on continuing the “certainly very frustrating” process, and he plans to continue to put it back into a pool to be reinvested.

Andrew Berman ’10 also expects to keep investing, something he started at the age of 13 with money he got from his bar mitzvah and from teaching tennis. His dad helped him open an account, and has continued to be of assistance as Berman invests in more and more companies, such as IRF, PGIC, and Apple.

He admits that he has “lost a little bit,” but as he’s not planning on using the money soon, he can afford to wait for it to build up again.

“I haven’t taken any money out of [my account]. If anything, I just put money into it,” said Berman.

Like Gutman, he says his habit of investing is “a long term thing.”