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Stock Guru: Finzsoft fizzes game

Monday 15th May 2006

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Although Telecom continued to grab the headlines and lost further ground in the final week of the current Guru game, it was a couple of penny dreadfuls which weighed on the worst performing portfolio while more substantial but still small companies boosted the winner.

Telecom, chosen by 176 of the players, fell a further 15 cents to $4.57 over the week and is down $1.13, or 20%, since the game began. Compounding the phone company's regulatory woes, last week the Commerce Commission announced an inquiry into the lack of competition in the mobile services market.

While the Top 50 Index rebounded 0.7% in the week, the Top 15 was down 0.1% and they were down 1.4% and 3.6% respectively since the game began. By contrast, the Small Caps Index rose 0.6% over the week and advanced 3% since the game began.

Financial software company Finzsoft was the stand-out performer in the leading portfolio, rising from 83 cents to $1.10, a 33% gain, during the game. While there was no news last week, in late April the company announced that Australia's fifth largest bank, St George, was adopting its software. The stock was chosen by 10 of the players.

Gullivers Travel Group, which has struck a deal with American Express to expand its presence in the corporate travel business, also boosted the leading portfolio with a 20% gain during the game.

The leading portfolio gained 15%, or $7,479, way ahead of second place getter with a $6,028 gain.

Australian Property Holdings, which is morphing into a biotech company, handicapped all of the 15 worst performing portfolios with a 44% decline during the game. It now has a market capitalisation of just $134,289 although that will change dramatically with the $12 million purchase of ICPbio through an 80 million share issue and the conversion of $2 million in debt into equity.

ICPbio is forecasting revenue of $22.8 million for the financial year ending March 31, 2007, and a net operating profit after tax of $2.1 million.

Apple Fields, in four of the worst five performing portfolios and which is forecasting continuing losses, shed 27% over the course of the game.

The most popular stock, Contact Energy, provided very little oomph for its 242 fans, gaining just 1% during the game.

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