Malvern Team Ranks No. 1 in the State for the Stock Market Game

Juniors Nolan Horan, Tyler Brecker, Antony Perti, and Jack Davis are first in the state for the Stock Market Game.

Matt Hess and Ben Franzone

Out of all the teams in Pennsylvania participating in the Stock Market Game, one of Malvern Prep’s own tops the list.

The Stock Market Club at Malvern began in 1985 when Mr. John Ostick, coordinator of the Stock Market Games and economist extraordinaire, was looking for a way to solve a major problem that teachers still face today. 

I found out about senior slide at Malvern thirty-six years ago, so I was looking for something to try to keep the seniors interested,” Ostick said. “I went to a seminar and someone said are you interested in playing the Stock Market Games.”

Back when Ostick first started the Stock Market Game in 1985, there was no digital platform for the group to use. Everything was done by hand, then mailed in for the transactions to be scored. 

“We had to use scan sheets with number two pencils and you could only put six transactions on one sheet,” Ostick said. “I had to put them in the envelope and mail them to the center, so we had about a five or six day delay before they knew their results.”

Even after all of those years, the Stock Market Game still plays an active role with the student body of Malvern. 

The group of juniors first began to compete in the game last spring. 

“Everyone kind of got together and we saw the potential,” Perti said.

Although the group enjoyed the competition last year, they found their calling this spring when they focused on a new strategy, short selling. 

“We got our interest sparked by a certain stock we invested in and ended up shorting. We ended up making $5,000 in one day, which was crazy for us at the time. We decided that this strategy was really interesting and sparked our competitiveness,” Horan said. 

Short selling, a term widely recognizable after the recent GameStop controversy, is still a complicated process of market manipulation. The strategy is used when a company expects a stock price to go down, allowing them to quickly borrow and sell the stock, then purchase it back at a lower price due to the market’s reaction. 

“Short selling is borrowing the stock and selling that stock,” Horan said.  “For example, you borrow $27 and sell it for $27. Maybe it goes down to $24, and you can buy back at $24 and so on.”

The group of juniors realized that this was a viable option for mass profit for the game. Managing a complicated spreadsheet, they target specific companies that are believed to be decreasing in stock value. 

“I would say we short mostly medical and technological stocks. There are some more intricacies to the strategy with certain metrics, and we have a spreadsheet doing our data that we use to predict when we want to get in and out of the stock,” Horan said. 

Ostick explains his thoughts about the group’s exciting success and praises their knowledge on economics and the current state of the market. 

“What these guys are doing, they know the market right now and they really know what they’re doing,” Ostick said. 

Horan explains that they are most proud of their short sale of the stock Greenland Technologies. 

“It was one of the stocks that we had pretty much the greatest percent return on,” Horan said.

“It really set us on a path for this on a larger scale,” Perti said. 

The current Malvern record at the end of the game is over $700,000. The group is confident that they will set a new, larger record.

“We have $708,000 with 6 weeks left in the competition,” Brecker said. 

“I think our goal right now is to break a million dollar and set a new record,” Horan said. 

The current record of $780,000 was set in 2008, during the Great Recession, when a freshman used the very similar tactic of short selling. 

“These guys are probably going to surpass [the record], that’s going to be an interesting story, I didn’t think it would ever happen,” Ostick said.