Absurdonomics: Giant rats? Giant profits!

Analysing the financial impact of the week's weirdest news stories.

Financial journalists, it has been shown, are not trusted by the public. This is unsurprising. Financial journalism is a game of lying, cheating and excuse-making. Except for the heroes at DailyFinance, of course, who coincidentally co-publish this column.


If financial journalists were accurate as well as evil that wouldn't be so bad.

Unfortunately, advice inspired by malice is always less profitable than that based on ignorance. This is because ignorant advice will pay out 50 percent of the time due to the law of averages, whereas malicious advice is designed to lose you money and almost always will.

The best you can do, then, is look for tips in a place so absurd and ill-judged that there is no possibility that they could be actively evil. Thus Absurdonomics, where we attempt to provide financial tips based on the week's weird news and tabloid nonsense.

Our guarantee? We're so ignorant we can't possibly be evil.

Three-foot-long giant rats invade Bradford

Residents of the town in Northern England are panicking after reports of an invasion by a type of giant rat.

The inexperienced Absurdonomicist's first thought here might be to make an investment in rat poison, or some kind of reinforced tennis racket company.

But save your money, dear reader. Let us instead follow this thought through to its logical conclusion and point out the flaw in your plan.

First, let us suppose that Bradford is indeed under invasion by giant rats. In the short term this will inspire a rush on rodent traps, poison and super-strong glue. Sadly just as a new strain of flu is resistant to existing anti-viral drugs, these new Megarats handily shake off the rat traps and emerge unscathed. This is a market with a gooey soft-centre. Avoid.

Frustrated, the residents of Bradford turn to more extreme methods. In the resultant hail of gunfire the rats again survive by heading underground into their network of Megarat Megatunnels. Sadly these tunnels are not owned or controlled by any publicly listed estate agent, so no joy there.

Blood boiling beyond reason now, and inspired by Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox, the townspeople purchase a series of diggers and begin to excavate Bradford in order to find the Megarat lair.

This is their ultimate mistake.

Emerging en masse into the centre of the Ratzilla army's gathering place deep underground, the Bradfordians are outnumbered. They make a futile charge against the giant rodents but are destroyed by their enormous teeth and sewage cannons. With Bradford now abandoned the rats emerge victorious and take over, establishing there a new and long-lasting rat kingdom. They proceed to take over the world.

This is an entirely logical series of events. The outcome is inevitable now. The only option for you is to invest in a seller of rat houses and rat accessories, such as PetSmart, and go into business supplying palaces for our rat overlords and their glorious new regime.

Action: Bought 1000 shares in PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM), retailer of rat-related products, at 32.72.


Donut-burger unveiled in America


A restaurant has unveiled a new burger comprised of a deep-fried Krispy Kreme donut, an all-beef patty, bacon and American cheese.

This obviously disgusting and hideously unhealthy burger will clearly never sell a single...

Wait, did you say deep-fried donut? With cheese? And bacon? Wow, that's pretty good...

Sorry. No. As I was saying this monstrosity will never...

Just £4 you say? That's amazing... No! No! Must resist!

ARGH, I'll have 50!

Action: Bought 100 Krispy Kreme burgers and 10,000 shares in Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD) at 3.79.

How did Absurdonomics perform last week?

Story: London supermarket claims squirrel meat sales soaring
Action: Bought 1000 shares in RBC Bearings Incorporated (NASDAQ:ROLL), a manufacturer of ball bearings vital to squirrel hunters, at 30.67.
Result: Minor gain. Enthusiasm for squirrel meat, and the ball-bearings with which to catch the little critters, inspired a rise in RBC's shares to just under $34 by Wednesday lunchtime. Unfortunately it appears that people then tasted the meat and realised that it's actually horrible. Shares dipped back below $31 by Friday to $30.85, a small gain of $180.

Story: Beer made from cheese 'boosts sexual performance'
Action: Bought 1000 shares in Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), maker of easier to stomach sexual performance enhancer Viagra, at 15.00.
Result: Major gain. Clearly the idea of Cheddar Artois did not appeal outside of its native Austria, and instead the world's men purchased Viagra in droves. Shares rose to 15.94, a tidy gain of $940.

Story: Britain under invasion by tarantulas
Action: Bought 1000 shares in tarantula-killing experts Rentokil Initial PLC (LON:RTO) at 102.30.
Result: Major loss. Either the tarantulas never existed, or we all made friends and called off the war. Shares fell to 96.55, a loss of £5,750.
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