Who beats the Sunday newspaper in the stock market game? Editor Georg Meck relies on a Dutch bank and a rocket from California.

Win money with the Dutch: who will make more out of 25,000 euros?  This is the bet of “Schlag den Meck” in the 2018/19 season.

Dhe Dutch bank ING wants to buy the German Commerzbank. This speculation preoccupied the markets during Holy Week. Behind this, a solid message was completely in the background: “Sunday newspaper is buying ING.” That is guaranteed. No, we will not take over the entire bank, but we will take over 400 shares at a price of exactly 4878.64 euros – as a stake for our stock market game.

Who will make more out of 25,000 euros? This is the bet of “Schlag den Meck” in the 2018/19 season. Our money is real, that of the other participants is fictitious, deposited in a deposit with play money, easy to find on www.faz.net/sdm. There is a weekend to be won in the luxury hotel Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, billing takes place in summer. At the moment there are exactly 151 readers in front of us in the competition, which motivates us, optimists who we are, more than discourages:

Lets go on we can do it better! So far, the performance in our depot has not been that bad: BASF and Continental have proven to be the solid German corporations that we picked them out to be. Both stocks have risen in value, about six percent each. We have a plus of 500 euros, which helps for the children’s Easter gifts. BASF and Conti stay in the depot, we let the profits run. In addition, we are now reaching for ING, the orange bankers who, in Germany, show domestic competition with ING Diba (and Dirk Nowitzki) how online banking works. A professional gave us the idea: Thomas Grüner, asset manager in Rodenbach, somewhere in the Palatinate.

Too late to get in?

“Green Fisher” is the name of his investment company, which claims to have 4,500 customers. Private individuals with assets of 250,000 euros or more entrust the money to Grüner – “an average of 400,000 euros”, as he says. The man does not promise customers miracles, but rather that they will participate in the growth of the global economy in the long term, measured by the MSCI World Index. We want to know from him how long the high phase on the stock exchanges will last. Are we, again, too late to get in?

The bull market still has plenty of room for improvement, believes Grüner, and the mood is still a long way from euphoria like shortly before the bursting of the new economy bubble. “In the last phase of the bull market, the shaky buyers,” he explains. That means: When even the last fearful venture out onto the floor, it is time to get up and leave. But nobody knows this point in time in advance, but you can train yourself to get a feel for it, says Grüner. “The best contra-indicator is our customers themselves, people always act wrong intuitively.” When his clientele presses him too hard to increase the proportion of shares in the portfolio, he suspects: be careful, it won’t work for long!

Thomas Grüner gives us two rules to take with us. Always remain dispassionate when investing, “don’t build an emotional relationship with a security”. We didn’t intend to do that either, as speculators we are cool to the heart. And secondly: “Diversification is the most important thing.” Never put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. He himself has 100 titles in his private depot, says the professional. He adds the heavyweights from all over the world, “including banks,” and thus arouses our curiosity: Aren’t banks the ones where the managers get rich, but in no case the owners?

ING is great

No, replies Grüner. There are more than Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank that have made their shareholders poor. “A lot of banks pay real dividends.” Wells Fargo in America is one of his favorites, as well as the French BNP Paribas and the ING Groep, the most important bank in the Netherlands. After all, a 5.8 percent dividend yield is the argument that grabs us, especially since the countercheck with a fund manager we trust confirms:

ING is great. ING also has its “Digital Leaders Fund”, whose price curve we like to watch as it rises, in its depot. Precisely because the Dutch are so far ahead digitally. But because we have to catch up against the 151 readers who stand in front of us in the stock market game, we need something more speculative in addition to the classic values: There has to be more fire in the depot! The aforementioned fund, which is looking for the digital leaders, has its strongest position in “The Trade Desk”, a fabulous company that admittedly says nothing to us, but goes off like a rocket.

Founded in California, it has been listed on the stock exchange since the fall of 2016 and has grown by almost 1000 percent since then. How it works? With online advertising. “The Trade Desk” helps the industry to address us on the Internet in a personalized way, that is, in a targeted manner, and is praised by fans as a “countervailing power to Facebook and Google”. Certainly, we usually become suspicious of such tones, but in this case we let the euphoria carry us away. We are putting 3500 euros on Mister Green, the name of the founder and CEO of “The Trade Desk”. So, Jeff, don’t let us down, we believe in you! If you want to get into the stock market game, register at www.faz.net/sdm. We will take stock on June 30, 2019.