Activity 1: Trading Frequency and Returns

LENGTH: 30 minutes on simulation, 30 minute discussion

TYPE: Individual/Groups

OVERVIEW: Below is a list of 10 volatile stocks, you will be attempting to maximize profits by frequently trading any (or all) of the available stocks for a period of 30 minutes.

LEARNING GOALS: after the exercise, compare your results to your group's results, the goal is that you reach an understanding that:

  1. higher trading frequency will usually lead to lower returns, and

  2. diversification reduces risk.


Please use your short-term portfolio for this activity (if you haven't already created a portfolio for this short-term exercise, go ahead and do so now. Here are instructions on how to create an additional portfolio).

Your goal is to maximize profits while making as many trades as possible, trading the 10 names below. You will have 30 minutes to complete the exercise (starting from the moment you first purchase a security).

  1. CGC

  2. NBEV

  3. IGC

  4. CREE

  5. YECO

  6. CADC

  7. MPVD

  8. FMS

  9. ADTN

  10. ALT


  1. You can trade all 10 names, just 1 of them, or anything in between.

  2. You can buy, sell, and short sell as many times as you please during the exercise.

  3. By the end of the exercise, you must zero out your positions (ie, you sell all of your long positions and cover all of your short positions).

Your score will be based on the following point system:

  • .50 points per trade

  • 2 points per every 100,000 increase in portfolio value

  • -.25 points per every 100,000 decrease in portfolio value


Pt. 1: At the end of this exercise, calculate your score:

     number of trades x .50 = _______ points

         + profit / 100,000 x 2 = _______ points

         - loss / 100,000 x .25 = _______ points

                         total points = _______ points

Additionally, report the following:

  1. Your profit or loss (in terms of absolute dollars): _____________

  2. The number of trades you made: ________________________

  3. The number of stocks (names) you traded:_________________

  4. Your best performing stock: ____________________________

  5. Your worst performing stock:____________________________

Pt. 2:
In groups, discuss the following questions:

  • How did those who traded more names fair compared to those who only focused on a single stock or two?

  • How did those who traded more do (in terms of returns) compared to those who
    traded minimally?

  • What strategies resulted in greater gains (or smaller losses)?

  • What strategies resulted in significant losses?

  • What data (if any) did you use to make decisions?

  • What kind of information did you consider before deciding to trade?

  • What level of risk (or perceived risk) were you taking?

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