2019 Stock Picking Contest: 2Q Results


My summer is off to a great but busy start. We’ve already completed our annual sojourn to Japan (a rich post covering that is about to drop), and I’m busy as the full-time education and entertainment director for the two lads. It’s left a lot less time for writing than I have during the school year.

But duty calls! The 2019 Stock Picking Contest demands a quarterly update, so let’s clear the cobwebs and get it done. (You can read about the contest start here and 1Q performance here.)

When we last left our heroes, almost everyone was in the money, and Ian Bezek and my 8 y.o. were in a fierce battle for 1st place. Let’s see how they’re faring at the end of 2Q:


Everyone – even Coco! – is now positive, but Ian has surged ahead and left the field in his dust. A cautious person might lock gains and sit on a position that would likely win the contest. Thankfully, Ian appears to be the polar opposite of cautious, and I’m betting he’ll continue to roll the dice until the last day of the contest. 

I’ll show everyone’s current positions below – in most cases, they’ll account for the entirety of the ranking. Fully explaining Ian’s returns would be a forensic accounting exercise as he’s been a busy trader, so you’ll just have to trust there’s some method to his madness. 

#1 Ian Bezek


The market is on a tear for the year and approaching record highs, so of course it makes sense that our leader is almost exclusively shorting stocks. 

Ian is like the jerk playing the Don’t Pass line at the craps table. But you can’t argue with his success. He’s gone beyond a one-hit wonder to a string of impressive punts.

The only risk is Ian shows no sign of slowing down. One wrong move and he could come crashing back down to earth, and his closest competitors are playing a very different game.

#2 Super Little Paul – My 8 y.o. Son


My son is very happy with his showing so far, but he got very angry to hear that Ian has surged ahead. He continues to think that “shorting” is some sort of personal attack. He said he wanted to short all of Ian’s stocks, but when I pointed out that most of Ian’s positions are short, he said he wanted to “double short” them. I’ve still got some teaching to do, it seems, which is ironic given he’s crushing me in the contest.

#3 PK from Don’t Quit Your Day Job


Watch out for PK. Only four positions, and all of them winners. PK is like an anaconda, patiently waiting to crush the life out of the competition.

#4 Canadian Dividend Investing / Financial Uproar


Nelson has an impressive showing so far, but he seems to be moving to cash. Is he planning some major moves in the market, or is he locking gains and happy with his 4th place showing, gazing up with loving wonder at his hero PK on the medal stand? Time will tell.

#5 Odyssey to Fire


Odysseus has turned his ship around (hahaha). He’s helping lead the peloton and is in a great position if any of the front-runners falter.

#6 Little Paul – My 12 y.o. Son


It’s fun to see my eldest try to reconcile his angst at losing to his little brother with his surprise at crushing me. Welcome to stock picking, son.

#7 Tawcan


Tawcan’s built a portfolio of behemoths, and his Costco punt is doing great. He’s headed for a solid finish but may need to move to some riskier bets if he wants to make the medal stand.

#8 Dividend Growth Investor


DGI has put together an impressive portfolio of (wait for it…) dividend stocks. He may not claim first place with this diversified a portfolio, but he’s already won first place in my heart by putting some companies on my real-life watch list. 

#9 FI Garage


Not a bad showing so far by the folks over at FI Garage, and they seem to have a side contest to see if they can buy every publicly listed Canadian company. Thank goodness I found the How the Market Works site to handle the calculations so I’m not in currency conversion spreadsheet hell.

#10 Mr. Tako from Mr. Tako Escapes


With credit card companies, chemicals, and oil picks, Mr. Tako is going with a “companies people hate” strategy. I like it.

#11 Bamble the Dog


Bamble’s tumbled from a top position, but he seems remarkably nonchalant about it. I’ve tried to figure out if there’s a way to concentrate his positions to give him a chance for the title (and Bamble is very much in favor if it involves more treats / selections), but since we said he’d stick with his random picks for the year, he’ll just have to hope some of his small caps go nuts. 

#12 Money Maaster


Jordan seems to have built a well-diversified portfolio of quality companies. Huh. I think he needs to attend Ian’s class: “If Investing Isn’t Gambling, You’re Doing It Wrong.”

#13 Asset-Based Life


My portfolio, which is largely long-short pairs, is doing OK. On the plus side, I seem to have picked the better of each pair (a rather important goal to hit with this strategy), but my shorts are holding me back. I think I’ll need to change tack in the second half and swing for the fences with some high-risk bets if I hope to make the leaderboard at year end.

Please note I’m long HUYA, WMT, and LYB in real life.

#14 Matthew from All About the Dividends


It’s almost like this contest, for Matthew, is all about the dividends. When reminded that such a diversified portfolio of high-dividend stocks is unlikely to win, Matthew responded, “You play your game, and I’ll play mine.”

#15 Erik from The Mastermind Within


Erik has been pretending for a while that he’s in solidarity with Coco – “Haha we’re both at the bottom of the contest” and “We’re best buddies” and whatnot. But as he’s pulled ahead of her, he’s revealed that 1) this is deadly serious and 2) he doesn’t even like her! Harsh stuff, but that’s stock picking contests for you. 

#16 Wandering Steve


Wandering Steve has logged in so little his portfolio often drops off the rankings (I guess 30 days of inactivity makes you dormant or something). He’s not doing that well in the contest, but I heartily approve of the seriousness he’s applying to the contest.

#17 Coco from Coco Jam Travels


Coco is surging out of last place, and her twitter contest commentary is providing some welcome entertainment. I don’t want to spoil her surprise, but her idea of a side wager with Erik is a fine one. Wearing a clown suit or shaving heads seems a little much for the loser, but who am I to hold back their rivalry?

#18 Mr. Smith


I’m wagering that Mr. Smith (whom I know IRL) is one of the most credentialed finance individuals in this contest. 

My 12 y.o. said that was good, since he could use all of his credentials to dry his tears from losing so badly. Yikes.

I imagine the back half of the year is going to see some wild swings. There’s no prize for second place*, so much of the pack may switch to more aggressive strategies. Good luck to everyone, and thanks as always for playing!

* There is no prize for first place, either.

3 thoughts on “2019 Stock Picking Contest: 2Q Results”

  1. Hi Paul,

    Delayed comment from my side… :).

    The 1 Semester was a good one, nice dispute for the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th positions.

    Unfortunately, from what I have seen this week, I could not Keep the pace so far. Let’s see until the end of the year.

    All the best.


    1. Hi Odysseus

      It appears you are going to be in the front pack for the rest of the contest – you may not catch our front runner, but a #2 finish is quite possible.

      I think some contestants are going to abandon caution and “swing for the fences” as we near the end, so it’ll be interesting to see how positions change.

      Good luck!

      1. Hi Paul,

        I saw that some people are getting more wild in the trades. I’m planning to continue without changes until the end of the year.

        By the way, I was checking and I’m better performing on the contest than in real life.

        Good luck to you as well. All the best.


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