Someone supposedly trained rats to trade in the foreign exchange and commodity futures markets.
Wonkblog’s Matt O’Brien tweeted about these “rat traders,” pointing us to The Enlightened Economist, who explained that artist Michael Marcovici’s claimed to have trained rats that “outperformed some of the world’s leading human fund managers.”
Basically, the rats were taught to either press a red or green button to signify buys or sells “after listening to ticker tape movements represented as sounds.”
They’re only fed if they call the market right. If they get it wrong, they get a small electric shock.
According to Marcovici’s website rattraders.com, they’re “developing a pedigree” by “continuously crossing the best trading rats with each other in order to breed specialists in various markets for our clients. The second generation of top traders usually shows a much better performance compared to their parents.”
And while we haven’t figured out how to audit the rats’ performance, the trades listed on the website appear to be well in the money.
The earliest trades listed occurred on March 6, 2009. This is the day the S&P 500 touched a crisis-era low of 666. Many stocks hit their lows that day.
On March 6, 2009, a rat named “Ms. Kleinworth” went long on Bank of America; it closed at $3.14 that day. Today, Bank of America closed at $17.05. Assuming “Ms. Kleinworth” didn’t close that position, it would have a 443% paper gain!
Unfortunately, the website does not appear to have been updated since 2011. And Marcovici had not responded to requests for comment.
Here’s a list of some well-timed trades from the website:
And if that’s not enough Rat Traders trivia for you, you can watch an interview with the company’s CEO, Michael Marcovici below.