We’ve Gone Trading Contests Crazy!

Is it just me, or are there an inordinate number of trading contests suddenly going on?

I wonder just what this means in terms of sentiment of the broader markets — a sudden slew of these contests seems to be hitting all at once.

Here’s a quick run down:

If you like ‘em fast — your cars, not your trades — then the big contest is the CNBC Squawk Box Fantasy Portfolio / Maserati contest.


The station is promoting this giveaway non stop. They give you a million "Squawk Bucks," and you trade them — based on closing prices — up to 7 times a week. You can garner bonus bucks by answering trivia questions.  The winner gets a new Maserati Gran Sport (with the taxes paid by CNBC).


If you prefer cute to fast, then consider the Forex MINI Trading Contest:>


The top currency trader (you have to open a real account) for the Final Round will win a 2006 MINI Cooper Convertible.

What if you prefer sexy to cute?

Well, then, have we got a contest for you! The Trading Markets Playboy Stock Picking contest. (Sorry, guys, you have to be a playmate to enter this one).


In 2nd place is the lovely Deanna Brooks, whose turn-ons are "being touched on my lower back, good kissers and well planned
romantic evenings.
" Deanna likes Yamana Gold (AUY),
because "What girl doesn’t like a little bling? I’m hot for gold this year…"  As for turnoffs, she doesn’t care for "hairy backs…especially on men!"   (I am not, as Jeff Matthews would say, making this up!)


If you find all this diversification a "distraction," then consider the 10th annual My One and Only stock-picking contest.  That’s right, one stock, no fooling around. (hey, Diversification is over-rated!). And, if you are in the UK, there is The Independent’s Share Challenge (read about it here), and the Trade2Win’s Share Trading Competition. There’s also the Real Challenge, and the Dow Jones direction contest.

That’s before we get to all the college and high school contests.


I honestly do not know what to make of all these contests;  Marketwatch warns us that CNBC is playing a dangerous game, and the contest employs "gimmicks of varying types," including a game show-like sweepstakes where "you can add bonus points to your portfolio by watching Squawk Box on CNBC every morning.

From a broader perspective, I wonder how much all these contests reflect a broader trend towards speculation. We’ve noted in the past that low quality stocks have been relatively outperforming; that Nasdaq volume has been outpacing the NYSE’s; and  that there’s been a big spike up in bulletin board stock volume.

Are all these contests just another in a series of warnings that speculation has dramatically risen?


As in most "external sentiment" issues — those not generated from market data — these are hardly precise in their timing; But they certainly are worth noting as potential warning signs . . .


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