Stock analysis is a complex field that people spend their lives and careers carefully studying. A Norwegian TV experiment has just shown, however, that investment know-how might as well be, in the most literal sense, a bunch of BS.

On the program Økonomiekspertene, Norway’s national broadcaster NRK gave 10,000 Norwegian kroner ($1,122) each to four teams to see where they would choose to invest it and what return they could get in three months. The competitors: two stockbrokers, an astrology expert, two beauty bloggers, and a herd of cows. The cows were allowed to roam over a grid of 25 company names and do what cows do. The producers then invested the cows’ money in the stocks on which the most cow patties had landed.

These cows’ investment decisions were as good as the pros

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

Image credits: RobinWigg

The stars were not aligned for the astrologist, who lost out over the three months. The professionals were up a modest 7.28%, and out of the competitors, the influencers won big, gaining over 10%. Most notably, the cows equaled the performance of the professionals, with 7.26%. A screenshot shows a host talking with the matriarch of the herd, Gullros, hilariously credited as “milk producer.”

The producers then showed the competitors their portfolio, which had earned a whopping 24%—they had invested in 20 different combinations and kept the one that did the best, demonstrating that betting on one lucky guess, as they had forced the competitors to do, isn’t the best way to do things in the real world.

But some of the lucky guesses were very lucky indeed. The influencers admitted they weren’t familiar with any of the companies and picked a pair based on their own liking for cruises and seafood. Gullros and friends joined the club of animals who don’t have any faculty of language or logic and don’t know what a stock is, but managed to do as well as the pros with completely random guesses. A previous experiment let a cat play with a toy mouse and then used the company names on the grid where he dropped it as stock advisory with similar results… so if you have a furry friend in your house, you might have nothing to lose by giving them some input on your finances.

Commenters think the art of stock analysis is a mystery

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