First-timer wins Fantasy shares contest

Paul Hill, business editor He's never dabbled in the stock market before - but there was far more than beginner's luck behind David Shaw's victory in this year's EDO Fantasy Sharies competition.

Paul Hill, business editor

He's never dabbled in the stock market before - but there was far more than beginner's luck behind David Shaw's victory in this year's EDP Fantasy Shares competition.

Mr Shaw, 65, retired from Bernard Matthews this year and decided to devote some of his spare time to seeing if he could beat the market.

He followed the news, gave it some thought, picked a £50,000 portfolio of “virtual” shares and hoped for the best.


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Mr Shaw, from Halesworth, took a punt on British Energy - investing £30,000 - and the bet paid off.

This week he walked away with the £1,000 top prize in the fantasy

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shares competition run in association with Larking Gowen and Brewin Dolphin.

“I just put the biggest amount into British Energy. With the others, it was just hoping for the best,” he said.

“I just looked at the news to see what was happening.”

At the close of the competition at the end of August, before the worst of the strife on Wall Street and the FTSE, his final portfolio was worth £58,348.05

He was closely followed by Geoffrey Rogers, whose portfolio was worth £58,239.90.

Mr Rogers, 66, from Swardeston, put £30,000 in Spirent Communications - and £5,000 each in Tesco, Morrisons, BT and Colt Communications. He said he picked “defensive” stocks in a turbulent market and studied carefully when dividend payments were due and whether they coincided with the close of the competition.

In third place was Geoff Parker, from Hoveton, whose portfolio was worth £58,200.20 at the end of August. Mr Parker, 71, put £30,000 in Astra-Zeneca and £5,000 each in Greene King, Hammerson, Travis Perkins and Easyjet. He felt pharmaceutical stocks were a reliable bet.

Mr Rogers won £500 and Mr Parker £250.

Richard Larner, of Brewin Dolphin, said: “It's a great achievement and what's really heartening is that at the beginning of the competition it was the mining stocks that had made the money, but by the end we came in with the wider reaches of the market giving us the winners.

“The one theme between our finalists this year is that you need one big bet on one company - a takeover helps and the winner picked British Energy and that has clearly worked well.”

Ian Fitch, partner at Larking Gowen, added: “It's a great achievement for someone to make a return on £50,000 given the climate.”

t David Shaw's winning portfolio was worth £58,348.05 at the end of August.

That included:

British Energy £39,071.33 from an initial investment of £30,000.

Ultra Electronics £5,771.28 from an initial investment of £5,000.

Charter £5,759.60 from an initial investment of £5,000.

Derwent London £3,818.06 from an initial investment of £5,000.

Big Yellow Group £3,927.79 from an initial investment of £5,000.

t The EDP asked Brewin Dolphin to look beyond the end of the competition to see what would have happened to Mr Shaw's portfolio if the contest had included the turbulence on Wall Street and the FTSE in September.

His portfolio would have dropped in value to £56,694 - with all but British Energy losing value.

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