Stock recommendations from students in the portfolio management course at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has led to more than $100,000 in investment returns.

Fifteen students presented their findings after months of research of S&P 500 stocks in the Maraist Financial Services Lab and whether the foundation's stock portfolio should buy, sell or hold at the current rate of investment. According to UL Foundation board vice chairman Tommy Kreamer, the students who have gone through the course over the past four years have done well in their recommendations.

"To date, every stock that has been recommended by these students has been put into place in the portfolio," he said. "Since the class' inception, they've returned a total of 53% compared to the S&P 500 returning 57%... So what you might say is not too bad of a performance for people analyzing stocks for the first time and we're all very proud of them."

According to Geralyn Franklin, interim dean of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration, the UL Foundation initially invested $202,000 of its stock portfolio to be used by the students in the portfolio management course that began four years ago. It is now worth more than $300,000 and is authorized to go up to $1 million.

"The student-managed portfolio class is a signature program for us, particularly with the new Maraist Financial Services Lab and the access the students have to Bloomberg terminals and other resources," she said. "They've really upped their game since 2015 when we started this class."

Students evaluated, watched trends and compiled historical data to make forecasts and recommendations of the strength of stocks ranging from industry giants like Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and Citigroup to lesser known companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific and Vulcan Materials.

Grace Fornea was partnered with Blake Broussard to review two stocks, investment bank Goldman Sachs and game and toy company Hasbro. They recommended holding the current stocks in Goldman Sachs and buying Hasbro stock, which they projected will be growing as the company shifts into more digital and e-commerce sales.

"Being able how to do independent research and gather information from various sources and cultivating my own opinion on these stocks has been invaluable," Fornea said.

Rajan Dhanani and Alexander Van Eaton evaluated Detroit-based DTE Energy, which Van Eaton recommended holding, and Alphabet, which Dhanani recommended buying. Dhanani said the experience they received using the Maraist Lab and its Bloomberg terminals was invaluable and a privilege.  

"This has been one of the best experiences I've ever had in my college career," Dhanani said. "It's actually hands-on experience in all the theories and the studies that we learned. This was the time to apply everything we have learned."

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Email Dan Boudreaux at dboudreaux@theadvocate.com.