Could a Couple of Monkeys…or My Kids Pick Winning Stocks?

Could a Couple of Monkeys…or My Kids Pick Winning Stocks?

According the experts we have experienced a bull market in North America since March 2009.  The question on investor’s minds; how long will it last?  I don’t know and I will leave it to the experts to debate but what I do believe is that you could have picked almost any stock in the last 5 years and taken home a nice tidy return.  So, I have to wonder; could a couple of monkeys.. ahem… my kids pick a winning stock portfolio in this market?

I don’t have access to a group of monkeys, so I did the next best thing, I asked my kids to each pick out a portfolio of 10 stocks. I gave them the financial section of the newspaper and some markers and told them to pick 10 stocks. The picks were entirely their own and I stayed out of the room while they were choosing, so that I would not influence the results. A few of their picks made me cringe, but overall I think they may have made some solid choices.

My Kids Stock Picks

I have used their stock picks to create imaginary portfolios.  They were able to buy 1 share of each stock at the closing price on November 29, 2013.  I have assumed for this experiment that there were no commissions charged on these trades.  I am not sure if this is fair, but let’s assume it is possible to keep things easy to track.  I entered their stock picks into Google Finance to track them.

My 10 year old’s portfolio picks:

My 10 year old’s portfolio cost $1,326.53.  He is familiar with BlackBerry, eBay and Google but the other picks were completely random.  He was shocked at the price of Google and wasn’t sure if he would be able to afford it, but I assured him we are using imaginary money so any spending, gains or losses would be imaginary too.

Could a Couple of Monkeys...or My Kids...Pick a Winning Stock Portfolio in this Market? My10 year old's stock picks Nov 29, 2013

My 14 year old’s portfolio picks:

My 14 year old’s portfolio had a total cost of $1,189.78.  He was a little more thoughtful in his approach and he picked out companies he had been familiar with, either through using their products or watching their commercials.

Could a Couple of Monkeys...or My Kids...Pick a Winning Stock Portfolio in this Market? My14 year old's stock picks Nov 29 2013

 Together the kids and I are going to track the portfolios and see how they do.

Hindsight is 20/20 in the stock market.

They say hindsight is 20/20, so I wondered how these portfolios would have performed, had they picked these stocks exactly a year ago.  The results might support my “monkey stock picking theory.”

Here is my 10 year old’s portfolio if the stocks were purchased at closing price November 29, 2012.  One of his holdings had a 2 for stock split and overall his portfolio has a return of over 44%.  I think — ahem — that is a better return than I have achieved this year and better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF, which returned 23.50%.

Could a Couple of Monkeys...or My Kids...Pick a Winning Stock Portfolio in this Market? My 10 year old's stock picks 2012 to 2013

The 14 year old’s portfolio did not perform as well but did manage a 6.47% return.  Apple weighed down the results and if it had not part of the holdings, the return would have been 19.99% instead.  Here is how it looks:

Could a Couple of Monkeys...or My Kids...Pick a Winning Stock Portfolio in this Market? My 14 year old's stock picks yoy

I think it is going to be fun to watch how these portfolios grow (or not.)  And the lesson in all this?  I have felt pretty smug about how my investments have done.  Maybe, I have been overconfident.  Maybe, I should let me kids weigh in on my next trade?

Update:  My kids are stock picking dynamos. Check out my updates:

Monkey Portfolio Update 1

Monkey Portfolio Update 2

Monkey Portfolio Update 3

5 Comments



  1. Thanks. I agree and less stress with the stock funds. It will be interesting if my kids can outperform the index. Thanks for the tip too on the captcha.

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  2. I don’t know if children or chimps are any worse at stock picking than adults or professional money managers. In fact, all of the research says that stock picking is a losing game for anyone because short term market forecasting simply does not work. This is why index funds outperform active traders almost unanimously over 10+ years.
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