≡ Menu

Weekend reading: Rats, you missed your chance

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

Since the world’s wealthy are happy to have their funds devoured by the locusts of high-finance – hedge funds and their 2/20% fees – then who knows, maybe they’ll be glad to have their money managed by rats, too?

Enlightenment Economics reports on a curious project to teach rats to trade:

The rats were trained to press a red or green button to give buy or sell signals, after listening to ticker tape movements represented as sounds. If they called the market right they were fed, if they called it wrong they got a small electric shock.

Male and female rats performed equally well. The second generation of rattraders, cross-bred from the best performers in the first generation, appeared to have even better performance, although this is a preliminary result, according to the text.

Marcovici’s plan, he writes, is to breed enough of them to set up a hedge fund.

If you’re thinking you want to get in early – before the best of the rat traders start to demand exorbitant amounts of cheese – you might head to the Rat Traders website to learn more.

Unfortunately you’ll discover that while the idea caught the blogosphere’s imagination this week1, the last updates from the site hail from 2009.

Perhaps the rats were blown-up in the financial crisis? Or maybe they turned to teaching or caring for the elderly or some of the other things we were told financial folk were going to do, having seen the error of their ways.

(Until about 2010, when they started making bazillions again.)

I think somebody should train kittens to trade.

The marketing videos would go viral in a minute!

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: Bollywood film maker Eros has launched a retail bond paying 6.5%. This Is Money reminds you of the risks.

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.2

Passive investing

  • Jack Bogle on the rise of index funds [Video]Barrons [@Ritholz]
  • Eugene Fama and the bigger slice of pie theory – MarketWatch
  • You can’t pick hedge fund winners – NY Times
  • Bill Gross and the dying breed of superstars – Bloomberg

Active investing

Other stuff worth reading

  • Conservatives to offer 20%-off houses to first-time buyers – ThisIsMoney
  • How to buy gold cheaper than from the Royal Mint – Telegraph
  • Occupational hazards of a job in finance – Michael Lewis / Bloomberg
  • CEOs are getting paid too much, according to everyone – HBR
  • Why is battling scammers left to this part-time crime buster? – Guardian
  • Student loans crimp future crippling debt options – The Onion

Book of the week: I first started seriously reading Martin Wolf’s financial journalism in the depths of the financial crisis. The FT writer’s professorial tone, rationality, and concern for wider humanity shone through and reassured me even when he was predicting doom like everyone else (rightly enough at times). Wolf’s new book about the past few years, The Shifts and the Shocks, is surely a must-read.

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every week!

  1. Thanks to Monevator reader G. for putting me on the trail. []
  2. Reader Ken notes that: “FT articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.” []

Receive my articles for free in your inbox. Type your email and press submit:

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • 1 Nicola September 27, 2014, 11:50 am

    Some great reads there – thanks for sharing! Have a good weekend 🙂

  • 2 grey gym sock September 28, 2014, 11:18 am

    the rat experiment seems to be flawed. the rats who got it wrong should have been fed instead of shocked – otherwise, what’s to stop them leaving and joining another experiment instead? you have to look after the talent.

  • 3 ermine September 29, 2014, 9:39 pm

    Is it just me or is the concept of ‘copy trading’ from that Telegraph article so deeply flawed that it isn’t even wrong?

    I’m all for the rise of the popularity of day trading. It seems ot be one of the signs there’s going to be a rumble soon, and it’s been hard to find value this last couple of years…

  • 4 dearieme September 29, 2014, 10:32 pm

    Oh ermine, at your age you must be aware that society always contains some heads that seek an arse to stick themselves up.

Leave a Comment