Absurdonomics: squirrel profiteering
Analysing the financial impact of the week's weirdest news stories.
"Absurdonomics" is the theory, recently coined by yours truly, that states the best place to look for financial tips is in the murky depths of weird news, dubious headlines and poorly-sourced Internet conspiracy theories.
As the editor of Asylum, a site where tales of the freakish outdo important breaking news every time, I feel qualified to make that analysis.
Last week in this column I made my first set of market predictions based on that week's strangest tales. After a donkey was forced to parasail in Russia I bet on the recreational marine industry receiving a mindshare bump; as the world's strongest beer was unveiled I bet over 3 million quid on headache pill sales soaring, and when some cows attempted to escape their slaughterhouse I bet on the collapse of the dairy industry.
Continue reading to see how I got on, and to read my three weird predictions for this week. If you want to learn how to earn big off the boom in squirrel meat sales, you'll make sure to do just that.
Beer made from cheese 'boosts sexual performance'
Brewers in Austria have unveiled a beer made with cheese, an aromatic concoction they claim can improve a man's health and sexual performance. Egger, the brewer responsible, argues that the creamy, "cappuccino-like" lager is rich in lactose and vitamins.
Despite generating great pun-based excitement in the Asylum offices (Cheddar Artois? Indian Pale Wensleydale?) the idea of a Stilton-infused beer was widely, and wisely, rejected. Inventive though these Austrian brewers are we don't recommend buying shares in anyone remotely connected with this mad scientist's excuse for a beverage.
On the other hand, if this beer does improve performance in the bedroom then it has a compellingly unique selling point. Perhaps Brewdog, the brewery responsible for this monstrosity, can respond with a slightly tastier version? If they do watch their value soar.
In the short term, however, I recommend investing in more traditional sexual health remedies -- men who are prepared to drink cheesy beer to regain their after-dark confidence will surely take a pill if given the option?
Action: Bought 1000 shares in Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), maker of Viagra, at 15.00.
London supermarket claims squirrel meat sales soaring
Low-fat squirrel meat might be making a comeback. One supermarket in London claims sales have rocketed after they began stocking the purposely-farmed rodents.
Eating squirrel is not quite as weird as it seems. In many places around the world it is still considered fair game (pun intended) and more than 2,200 Asylum readers (60% of those polled) said they'd eat the furry little rascals. The obvious prescription is to bet on squirrel futures by investing either in Budgens, the supermarket chain whose Crouch End franchise placed the wingless-pigeons on sale, or the Somerset farm who are leading the little blighters to the slaughter.
On the other hand, I believe this is a market with a squidgy soft-centre. Why? Because squirrels are some of the most numerous and easily-killed animals around. People aren't going to pay good money for meat they can catch in the park. As such -- and unless you have any major ethical or moral problems with the idea -- a good option might be to invest in the makers of anything that can take down a squirrel. Ball-bearing guns, for instance. Once we transfer to a subsistence squirrel meat-based economy you'll be laughing.*
Action: Bought 1000 shares in RBC Bearings Incorporated (NASDAQ:ROLL), a manufacturer of ball bearings, at 30.67.
* Only joking, animal fans.
Britain under invasion by tarantulas
The RSCPA has warned Britons to be on guard as a large batch of spitting-tarantulas have escaped in two separate incidents and are now breeding in Bolton.
There has never been a better time to invest in the spider-killing industry. To the barricades!
Bought 1000 shares in Rentokil Initial PLC (LON:RTO) at 102.30.
How did Absurdonomics perform last week?
Story: Parasailing Donkey Stunt Prompts Animal Cruelty Inquiry
Action: Bought 1000 shares of Textron, a leading investor to the recreational marine industry, at 20.77.
Result: Minor Loss ($10). Sadly the marine industry received no great publicity boost from the donkey debacle. Shares rose slightly on Monday to just over $21, then fell back to 20.76 (July 30).
Story: Strongest Beer Unveiled in Scotland
Action: Bought 1000 shares of Reckitt Benckiser, producer of Nurofen, at 3,313.00.
Result: Catastrophic Loss. Apparently seeing a beer served inside a dead squirrel put everyone off their drinks, and thus headache pill spending did not increase. Shares fell to 3,125 by Friday, a loss of £188,000.
Story: Cows attempt escape from slaughterhouse
Action: Short-sold 1000 shares of DairyCrest at 408.90 on fears the cows would escape en masse and lead a revolution against mankind.
Result. Soft gain. Some cows made it out, others got caught on the barbed wire -- just like in The Great Escape. Shares fell to 385.70, a gain of £23,200.