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How does the stock market work?

As Wall Street : Money Never Sleeps hits cinema screens nationwide, financial education charity, ifs School of Finance offers young people a unique opportunity to learn how investing in the stock market works

Financial education charity, the ifs School of Finance has opened registrations for their annual ifs Student Investor Challenge competition for teenagers. The competition, now in its 18th year, is the largest and longest established competition of its kind in the UK, attracting approximately 40,000 participants each year. It is free to enter and open to teams of four students aged between 14 and 19, with the winning team receiving an all expenses paid trip to New York and £2,000 for their school or college.

The challenge will commence on 01 November with students investing a fantasy £100,000 in the stock market over a four month period. This is followed by regional finals involving a business and finance quiz and a national final where the top eight teams in the country compete for the final prize.

Rod McKee, Head of Financial Capability at the ifs School of Finance, said:
"The success of movies like Wall Street show the popular appeal of finance but many misconceptions about the world of investing still remain and need to be demystified. One only has to look at the financial crisis to see how important financial education is, and how poor financial decisions can negatively impact lives."

"We are delighted to run a competition which gives young people a unique chance to experience first-hand how investing in the stock market really works. This helps them understand the impact of investment decisions, from stock markets to personal finance. Many students in the competition will also take a keen interest in financial news for the first time because they want to know more about the companies or sectors they invest in. All this can only help students become better informed adult investors, and we would urge all schools and colleges to take advantage of this great learning opportunity.

To register to take part in the 2010 -11 ifs Student Investor Challenge, please visit .

The competition is supported by the Financial Mail on Sunday, and share prices are provided by Bloomberg. A video showing how the competition works can also be viewed on