Stephen Weber used currency fluctuations and earnings plays to become the winner of CNBC’s latest Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge.
Weber, a systems analyst from Lakewood, Ohio, walks away with a prize of $500,000. The two runners-up Bette Lockhart, a consultant from Tucson, Ariz., and Debra Lewis, the owner of an auto repair shop in Effingham, Ill., win $200,000 and $100,000, respectively.
The three finalists beat out 175,000 other contestants by trading $1 million CNBC dollars in equities and currencies.
CNBC asked the three winners of the challenge about their strategies, top trades and anything else that helped them profit in a down market.
1st Place: Stephen Weber, Lakewood, Ohio
Weber, who was also the week nine winner, got to the finals on his currency-trading prowess.
At the end of regular play, his currency portfolio value was $963,481.77, which was roughly half of his total portfolio value of $1,916,676.14.
In the finals, Weber traded on earnings and made the big leap into second place and then first place on the strength of those trades. He bought Energy Conversion , Barclays, Akamai, Alpha Natural Resources and Omniture.
2nd Place: Bette Lockhart, Tucson, Ariz.
Lockhart was 13th in the overall contest and moved into the top 10 due to duplications of weekly winners in the overall. She was the true dark horse in the finals, and she propelled herself into second place in the last day of trading.
Lockhart said the trade that most surprised her was Hartford Financial. She bought the stock on Dec. 4 at $7.21 a share and sold the majority on Dec. 5 at $14.59 a share, making 102.36 percent.
3rd Place: Debra Lewis, Effingham, Ill.
Lewis was the third weekly winner making a 99.40% gain for that week. Debra bought ProLogis twiceduring week three; she made 26.48% from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2 on the first transaction and 34.81% on the second buying and selling from Dec. 4 to Dec. 5. She also bet on two ETFs that helped her portfolio in the pre-finals: Proshares Ultrashort Real Estate which gained 25.8%, and Proshares Ultra Real Estate which she bought and sold twice for gains 18.91% and 14.15%.
Lewis was another dark horse in the finals, where she gambled on financials, which paid off for her. Regions Financial, Huntington Bancshares, Fifth Third and Bank of America helped her secure third place finish.
You'll find more information on the contest and the winners here.