ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., July 28, 2008---Edward Burke, a 54-year-old jazz musician from Shippensburg, Pa., is the grand prize winner of the second "CNBC.com Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge." The announcement was made live during CNBC's "Power Lunch" (Noon-2 PM ET).
Mr. Burke emerged as the winner among 254,000 contestants who participated in the 10-week contest to see who could compile the largest portfolio as a sum of equities, currencies and cash.
Mr. Burke received a $500,000 annuity today presented by CNBC anchor Brian Shactman. Mr. Burke said some of the winning will go to paying down his son's college debt, as well as to make several charitable donations. He also said he's "considering" real estate investments.
When it announced on "Power Lunch" that he won the grand prize, among the people Mr. Burke thanked was his brother Paul, who donated stem cells in the late 1990s after Edward Burke was diagnosed with cancer. He is a cancer survivor.
The first prize of a $250,000 annuity was awarded to David Allen Lesser, a 44-year-old auto mechanic from Kent, Washington. Mr. Lesser said he was planning to pay off his bills and "live a debt-free" life.
A second prize of a $100,000 annuity was awarded to David Price, a 55 year-old architect from Gahanna, Ohio. He said he will try and "not to lose" his winnings in the stock market.
Approximately 87.1 billion "virtual" shares were traded in the contest, which began on May 12 and ended July 18, 2008. The total value of "virtual" shares traded in the contest: $1.42 trillion. In the contest, each contestant registered for one account and each account had the ability to receive up to five (5) portfolios of $1 million "CNBC Bucks." This year, CNBC.com introduced a new element to the contest: each portfolio was allocated $900,000 "CNBC Bucks" to trade stocks and $100,000 "CNBC Bucks" to trade currencies. In last year's CNBC.com Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge, currencies weren't traded.
Each winner had his own unique trading strategy: Mr. Burke, for instance, who said he "went for broke," also said he traded heavily in currencies. For example, he executed 700 currency trades in just four days. In fact, Mr. Burke wouldn't have made it into the top 20 by trading stocks alone. Each day, Mr. Burke would wake up at 4 AM ET and watch CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange," the only daily, live global business program (4-6 AM ET). It is anchored from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., from London and from Singapore. His favorite trade: euro/dollar.
Mr. Lesser said he would buy on the dips and sell on the rallies. His favorite trade: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae. Although the stocks were "pounded" in Week 9 of the competition, he knew they would improve "once President Bush said they were important institutions." He also liked solar and energy trades: his trades in Evergreen Solar and Petrohawk Energy Corp. resulted in big gains.
Additional information about the contest results can be found at CNBC.com.
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