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Gold Stock's a Big Winner in the Bear Market

The market was generally horrible, but William Staab's stock pick glittered: Gold miner Randgold Resources rose 32% in the six months through March, making Mr. Staab, a Realtor, the winner of Sunday Journal's 33rd Investment Dartboard Contest.
"I think it did well because of the current state of the economy," which saw anxious investors rushing into gold as a potential safe haven, says the Albuquerque Journal reader.
Mr. Staab was one of those investors -- he bought some shares in Randgold right before the contest began. "I wanted to put my money where my mouth was," he says.
Stocks picked by five other readers fell, in a period when the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 30%. Last place went to David Highfield of Westminster, Md., whose pick of railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI) dropped 35%.
"It was the recession," says the Carroll County Times reader, a retiree and train buff. "There was a lack of goods moving across the rails because folks aren't ordering and buying."
As a group, the readers' stocks fell 13% from Sept. 30 through March 31, besting the Dow industrials' drop and also a 20% average decline for six stocks chosen by darts thrown randomly by Sunday Journal staffers. Over time, though, the darts have won more often than the readers, with 20 dart wins out of 33 contests.

New Picks Include a Rebuilding Bet and a Battered Bank

Here are the new picks and the March 31 starting prices for Sunday Journal's 35th Investment Dartboard contest, running through Sept. 30.
ABB ($13.94) Pep Petrocine of Tucson, Ariz., chose this Swiss power and automation technology company because "it was touted as being good for reconstruction and infrastructure." The retiree reads Sunday Journal in the Arizona Star.
Alcoa ($7.34) This blue-chip stock has been hit by falling prices and a 41% drop in sales. Despite posting a $497 million loss for the first quarter, the aluminum producer is "a good company for the future," says Frank Cirincione. Mr. Cirincione is an engineer in Baltimore who reads the Patriot-News from Harrisburg, Pa.
Citigroup ($2.53) Ron DeAngelo of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., thinks the share price of this banking giant "will go back to at least half of what it used to be, which would be a large increase." Citigroup's stock was over $25 in early 2008 and over $50 a year before that. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reader works in law enforcement.
ConocoPhillips ($39.16) Mary Tremblay of Twin Mountain, N.H., who owns a glass store with her husband, thinks rising energy prices could eventually help this oil company. Ms. Tremblay reads the New Hampshire Sunday News.
ITT Educational Services ($121.42) This company, which runs technology-oriented postsecondary degree programs, seems healthy, says accountant and Island Packet reader Martine Glasscott. "They have continually been doing well over the years and it looks like they are expanding," says the Bluffton, S.C., resident.
Procter & Gamble ($47.09) Gary Maxon of Montrose, Colo., believes this consumer-products stock is "good for the long run," even if it takes some time to get back to the $70 price it was trading at a year ago. The maker of Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste "just seems to be one that plugs along," says the retiree, who reads the Denver Post.
Where the Darts Landed
Darts thrown by Sunday Journal staffers hit utilities and energy company Black Hills ($17.89), financial- and tax-software company Intuit ($27), department store Macy's ($8.90), professional recruitment firm MPS Group ($5.95), steel manufacturer Nucor ($38.17) and Swiss bank UBS ($9.43).
Write to Anna Prior at anna.prior@wsj.com

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