1. Initial Cash Balance - The initial cash balance is $100,000.
2. How To Trade – Before making any trades, you must have your username, password, and the ticker symbols of the securities you wish to trade. The website has links on the trading and research pages to help users lookup ticker symbols.
There are two ways to make a trade:
Teachers must register their class first at www.NationalSMS.com. Upon registration, the teacher will receive a list of usernames and passwords that should be distributed to the students or student teams.
Students can then visit the home page to login, find ticker symbols, research stocks, obtain quotes, submit trades, review their team's activity and profits/losses, and review their team's ranking.
Trading Stocks: There are four basic ways to trade stocks: buy, sell, short sell, and short cover. When buying a stock, you are taking a "long position" with the hope that the price per share will increase. When you sell a stock, you close that long position. Selling short is selling a stock that you don't own (you actually borrow the stock from the broker) with the hope that you can later buy the stock back at a lower price. When you buy the stock to pay back what you borrowed, it is called "covering" your short position. To buy or short sell a stock, specify how many shares you want, rather than how much money you wish to spend. You may not be long and short in the same stock at the same time.
Trading Mutual Funds: You may buy or sell mutual funds. Mutual funds are typically traded in dollar amounts and not by number of shares, but you can trade them either way on the National SMS. Like stocks, in order to trade mutual funds you must have the ticker symbol. All mutual fund ticker symbols are five letters long ending in "X". Ticker symbols that are 5 letters and end in “XX” are money market funds and cannot be traded.
Trading Bonds: You may buy and sell bonds on the National SMS, but you cannot short bonds. Bonds are difficult to research. A selection of Corporate Bonds, Treasury Bonds, Strips, and Bond Mutual Funds is listed on the bond transaction screen. All bonds have a par value of $1,000. When you buy a bond, you must pay the accrued interest on the bond. On your statement, the accrued interest and commission are added together. You cannot short a bond.
Trading Commodities: You may buy or sell certain commodities with the SMS. Commodities (such as gold, silver, oil, orange juice, wheat, corn and euros) are traded in units and not by number of shares. Commodities must be traded in whole units.
3. Trading Times and Prices Received
Stocks: Trades made via the web page will receive real-time bid-ask prices but, due to exchange rules, only delayed prices can be shown. if placed while the market is open (generally 9:30 am to 4:00 pm ET). Trades placed after the market has closed will be filled in the first few minutes of trading the next business day, but not necessarily at the open price.
Mutual Funds: Mutual funds are always traded at the end of day price (NAV or net asset value). Trades received before market close will be placed at the closing price for that day. Trades made after market close will receive the next day's closing price.
Bonds: Orders placed via the web page will receive end of day prices. Orders placed via fax and received by market close will be executed at that day's closing price. Orders received after market close will receive the next day's closing price. Since bonds pay interest via coupons, when you buy bonds in between coupon dates, you must pay accrued interest. You will earn interest at the coupon rate while you continue to hold the bond. If you sell your bond during the simulation, you will receive all that accrued interest.
Commodities: Trades made via the web page will receive end of day prices if placed while the market is open (generally 9:30 am to 4:00 pm ET). Trades placed after the market has closed will receive the next day's closing price. Trades made via fax and received by market close will be executed at that day's closing price. Fax trades received after market close will receive the next day's closing price.
4. Splits and Dividends – All stock splits and all dividend payments over $0.10 will be credited to your portfolio. Splits that have been credited to your portfolio have the appearance of a buy or short sell, but the price per share is $0.00. Dividends will appear in your portfolio with a "DIV" attached to the ticker symbol. In order to receive a split and/or dividend, a team must have a current open position in the stock by the Ex-Date (The ex-date is usually two business days before the record date. It is indicated in newspaper listings with an x.). Splits and dividends will be posted in accounts by the "Ex-Date."
5. Securities that can be traded:
Stocks: You may buy, sell, sell short, and cover a short almost all NYSE and NASDAQ-AMEX stocks (common and preferred) that are trading at 5.00 or more. IPOs are usually available the afternoon that the new stock starts trading on the exchanges. Stock trades may be in any whole number of shares greater than 25 (i.e., 25 share minimum but you can trade 26 shares or more).
Mutual Funds: You may buy and sell any of the U.S. Mutual funds listed, regardless of the price (No 5.00 minimum price as with stocks).
Bonds: The bond transaction page has a limited set of 103 bonds that participants can choose from. All bonds have a par value of $1,000. You cannot short a bond.
Commodities: You may buy and sell commodities. A list of the commodities available to be traded is listed on the Commodities Order Screen. All commodity trades must be made in a whole number of contracts/units.
6. Volume and Purchase Restrictions
7. Ticker Symbols - You need to know the ticker symbol for the security before you can trade it. Please note that most local newspapers show only the abbreviation of the company name, not the ticker symbol. The Wall Street Journal and the web page are two really good sources to help you find the ticker symbols you need.
8. Commission - A broker's commission is applied to most transactions. The commission for stock trades is a flat fee of $25.00 on each transaction regardless of the number of shares. If you sell one stock and buy another you will be charged two commission fees. The commission charged for all mutual funds is 1% of the purchase price. A commission is not charged when selling mutual funds.
9. Margin Requirements - The margin requirement for the simulation is 50%. Initially, this means that since you are starting with $100,000, you may borrow another $100,000, making your total buying power $200,000. You may buy and short sell stocks on margin.
10. Interest Earned - Interest will be earned on all available cash balances and credited at the close of each day. During the simulation, cash balances will earn 3% interest, compounded daily.
11. Interest Charged - Interest will be charged on all loan balances and will be debited a t the close of each day. During the simulation, loan balances will charge 8% interest.
12. Portfolio Statements - Team activity may be reviewed at www.nationalsms.com. Team activity and team rankings are updated every business day on the web page.
13. Number of Transactions – Each team is limited to 100 transactions during the trading period. Each buy, sell, short sell or short cover counts as a transaction. For example, if you buy a stock and sell another stock you will be charged with 2 transactions.
14. Competition Eligibility – Teams wishing to be eligible to be declared winners must follow this rule: Teams must make at least 3 trades by the 4th week and maintain at least 3 stocks in their portfolio for the last half of the trading period.
15. End of the Simulation – You do not need to convert all of your investments to cash on the last day of the simulation. Your portfolio will be valued at the closing prices for that day. Official winners of the simulation will be notified by the Stock-Trak.
16. Disputes and Errors – If you and your teacher believe an error has been made in your portfolio, your teacher may call STOCK-TRAK @ 1-866-SMS-DESK (toll-free) to discuss the problem. Please review your statements and report any problems right away.