Keyword results: shares short

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Thoughts on Tern – Part 2

Bulls and bears in tech investment company Tern plc (TERN) can at least agree on one thing: the key to the investment case is its holding in Device Authority Ltd (DA Ltd), a provider of security solutions for IOT products. Tern holds 56.8% of DA Ltd’s equity and has to date lent it £3.1 million in convertible loan stock. The stake is carried at £12.8 million on the balance sheet (valuing the whole company at £22.5 million), representing 58% of the value of the portfolio. It is DA Ltd’s perceived potential that has seen Tern’s shares trade at multiples of its book value and been the hook upon which it has hung the majority of its 16 placings to date.

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EUA
EUA
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Lucian Miers writes to Eurasia Mining

Lucian is short of Eurasia Mining (EUA) and for a host of reasons I think he is right to be short. One of those reasons is a mystery shareholder. Lucian has written to Eurasia’s boss Christian Schaffalitzky and his letter, still not having received a response after several days, follows:

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Blue Prism – a “towards the lower end of the… guidance” global leader? Er...

Previously writing on self-styled “global leader in intelligent automation for the enterprise” Blue Prism Group (PRSM), in January with the shares down to around 1400p I concluded that the short interest remains understandable. The shares last closed at 1077p… and are currently further lower on the back of a “First half trading update”. So, what’s the latest?…

PREMIUM CONTENT

Blue Prism Group – full-year results, again states “strong cash performance”. Er...

Self-styled “global leader in intelligent automation for the enterprise” Blue Prism Group (PRSM) has announced results for its year ended 31st October 2020 with Chairman and CEO (hmmm) Jason Kingdon emphasising “we are building a global software company and have made a great deal of progress in the year”. The shares have currently responded to around 1400p, circa 25% lower!…

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Directa Plus – argues trading “success”. Really?...

A trading update from Directa Plus (DCTA) includes that the company “finished 2020 with better revenues than expected even at the start of December” – and the shares have currently responded more than 13% higher, above 90p. But revenue is, of course, vanity and the achievement in ‘better than expected’, of course, depends on what the expectations are…

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Bear
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Premier Oil – now a post debt restructuring deal announcement sell

In my experience there are often opportunities to be had in shorting a company’s shares in the period after a debt restructuring deal has been announced as shareholders are generally slow to grasp the effect of the dilution on their interests…

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DTY
DTY
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Dignity still has multiple challenges...

Back in August I observed the Competition and Markets Authority giving funeral operator Dignity (DTYa bit of a free bus pass. Back then I was wholly unconvinced this had changed the investment story sufficiently to warrant the share price romp that occurred, observing that ‘it feels to me as if another shorting opportunity is building’. Well if you had got your timing about right that would have worked out pretty well, with the share peaking at just over six quid after the update before falling about two quid in the subsequent few weeks. Good darts if you are smart. I kind of feel that an akin opportunity is building again…

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Bear
PREMIUM CONTENT

Sell sub prime auto loan shark Credit Acceptance Corporation

The tug of war going on in the markets now between reality and full on Modern Monetary Theory makes the stock market all but uninvestable until it is clear which side prevails. At the moment the latter seems to have the upper hand, but it is early days and I suspect that reality is not done yet. On the short side, many zombie companies which have been propped up since the GFC with artificially low interest rates are now sensing a new lease of life as they rush to the seemingly limitless Covid trough, as moral hazard abounds. There are always exceptions however...

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Blue Prism Group – I having previously questioned “a very strong financial performance”...

Previously writing on self-styled “a global leader in Robotic Process Automation” Blue Prism Group (PRSM), I questioned it arguing “a very strong financial performance”. Today it “announces the successful completion of the placing of new ordinary shares announced yesterday”...

Boku – argues “confident of meeting market expectations”… but you’d certainly hope so…

Having been heading back up, towards 100p, in early January, shares in Boku Inc (BOKU) recently fell below 60p but are currently back on the rise today on the back of an update including on Coronavirus impact on trading; “the recent growth we have seen in those countries that are most affected has been higher than in those where the virus has had a more limited impact so far”

KWS
KWS

Keywords Studios – emphasises “strong growth”… so why an approaching 9% share price fall?

Video games industry services provider Keywords Studios (KWS) has updated on trading, with CEO Andrew Day emphasising “the group has delivered strong growth, particularly from our two largest divisions, Functional Testing and Game Development services” and “our recently enlarged banking facility positions us well to capitalise on this clear opportunity”. The shares have currently responded to around 1250p. Er, approaching 9% lower…

Blue Prism – argues “a very strong financial performance”. Er…

Blue Prism (PRSM) has updated commencing “the group has seen a significant acceleration in sales in the second half of the year, contributing to a very strong full year performance” and including it “enters 2020 with a record order book”. Sounds promising…

ASC
ASC

ASOS – following results & the share price reaction, I can see why short interest remains…

Following results last week shares in online fashion retailer ASOS (ASC) are now approaching 40% higher than the pre-announcement levels. What does latest information suggest on this?...

STJ
STJ
PREMIUM CONTENT

'I want my cruise' moan St James's Place advisers!

Did you see on Friday that St James's Place (STJ) shares re-attained the 10 quid level? Well I guess it was a good day for lots of different UK domestic shares, even for those with ongoing cultural issues such as the large UK wealth manager which I have written on negatively in the past. So is the crisis over?...

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The Penny Finally Drops at PureCircle

Back in March, I suggested that PWC might like to brush up on the definition of a “Current Asset” with regard to the huge levels of inventory carried by PureCircle (PURE) relative to its annual sales...

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VRS
VRS
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Versarien – nearly time to deliver

Earlier this month Haydale Graphene (HAYD) released an announcement with the headline: Haydale Awarded Funding to Develop Airbus Approved Space Technology, in which a contract awarded by the European Space Agency was proudly proclaimed. The size of both the funding and the contract were not disclosed as is usually the case with these trifling disclosures and the Haydale share price (sub 2p) scarcely moved, leaving its market cap little changed at around £5 million. It struck me, however, that had Versarien (VRS) - market cap £167 million - made an identical RNS the market cap would probably have risen, at least temporarily, by several times that of Haydale’s total worth, such is the fervour that the company still inspires amongst its loyal retail following. But the point at which Versarien must start to deliver is approaching...

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Bear
PREMIUM CONTENT

Another Crack at Wayfair

Early last December, I recommended selling online home furnishing retailer Wayfair (NYSE - W) at $105. Helped by that month’s broad market sell off it promptly fell to $80. However I managed to close the position for a small loss as it rampaged back through my sale price, hitting over $160 in February. My gripe with Wayfair was and still is that ever since its inception in 2002 it has been incapable of making money and the more it grows its revenues the bigger are its losses (Q2 YOY revenue up 41% to $2.3 billion, losses up 81% to $181 million)...

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Blue Prism – “Director/PDMR Shareholding” announcement on COO joining... a share purchase then?

“Director/PDMR Shareholding” announcement from Blue Prism Group (PRSM) which commences “Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM), a global leader in Robotic Process Automation today announces that Eric Verniaut has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer”. Eric purchased some shares in the company then?...

Bear
PREMIUM CONTENT

Thoughts On Thomas Cook & Kier

I suggested selling Thomas Cook (TCG) back in May at 13p and at 5p today the company is still valued at £75 million. Given Friday’s announcement of the inevitable debt for equity swap, which “is not the outcome any of us wanted for our shareholders”, this is still far too high as will become apparent when the details are released...

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VRS
VRS
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Lucian Miers' thoughts on Versarien: the only question is WHEN do the shares collapse?

I see that Versarien (VRS) has finally got rid of Patrick Abbott so that he can devote more time to defending the charges of securities fraud for which he has been indicted. I wrote back in March that his employment demonstrated a huge lack of judgement by CEO Neill Ricketts – as did the failure to disclose the matter at the time. That he should be fired so soon (eight days) after publicly standing by him a second time after further charges were revealed compounds the sense of management incompetence...

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A Welcome Slice Of Luck and Thoughts On Purplebricks

It is not easy being predominantly short in a market that is yet again flirting with all time highs and so a bit of luck is always welcome...

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Tesla and The Barbershop Quartet

On a recent podcast, @TeslaCharts, a prominent and distinguished member of the Tesla (NASDAQ - TSLA) bear community on twitter known as $TSLAQ, described the ingredients needed for the Tesla phenomenon as the Barbershop Quartet, which I thought aptly describes not just Tesla but the investment climate which we have, until recently, taken for granted...

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TCG
TCG
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Thomas Cook – still a sell?

Having sat on the fence for a while now, I have, somewhat belatedly, come off it and shorted a few Thomas Cook (TCG) at 13p. Last time I did this was in November 2011 when it was in a similar predicament but was bailed out by direct intervention from David Cameron, who effectively ordered the recently nationalised bankers not to pull the plug. Sadly, for shareholders this time round, I suspect that Theresa May has more on her plate right now than bailing out the company a second time...

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Tesla and its Need for Cash

The horrendous Q1 delivery numbers from Tesla (NASDAQ - TSLA) should have finally buried the growth story for all but the die hard believers and the focus now should move on to when it has to raise capital or file for bankruptcy

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VRS
VRS
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Update on Versarien and its shocking new American Appointment

Since I last wrote about Versarien (VRS) in November last year the stock had fallen around 20% until yesterday when it ripped 20p on news that it had completed the US-based Graphene Council’s “Verified graphene producer” programme. This gives it a market cap of £187 million. That is a lot of hope value for an enterprise that seems to do little more than announce vague MOUs with various named, and more often unnamed, entities...

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IQE
IQE
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IQE – sell the rally

It is not, in my view, a great time to be shorting UK names which are sensitive to the underlying market direction as I believe that the UK market, currently suffering from peak uncertainty from Brexit, could see a major re-rating in the event of any solution bar a general election, particularly if there is some sort of fudge of May’s deal which is, I think, the most likely outcome (I am long FTSE 250 not 100 futures to avoid currency considerations). This is not to say that I have downed tools completely on the short side in the UK...

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AA
AA
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Lessons from AA plc

It never ceases to amaze me what Private Equity firms get away with. We are warned constantly that buying from them often ends in tears but, like moths to a light, the investment community cannot resist handing over other people’s money to them at crazy prices. It looks like Uber and Airbnb are lumbering onto the runway. In 2004 private equity firms, CVC Capital, Permira and Charterhouse bought the AA (AA.) from Centrica for £1.75 billion. Ten years later they borrowed vast amounts of money and paid themselves £2.5 billion in “dividends”…

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Roulette
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FCA binary options & CFD proposals – what do they mean ref. IG Group, CMC Markets & Plus500?

The FCA has announced proposals to “ban the sale, marketing and distribution of binary options to retail consumers” and “restrict the sale, marketing and distribution of contracts for difference (CFDs) and similar products to retail customers”. What does this latest nanny-state (oops sorry, “address harm to retail consumers from the sale of certain complex derivative products”) move mean for the firms in the industry?...

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Updated thoughts on Tesla - stay short

The recent market turmoil has seen some decent gains for those who have been predominantly bearish for a while in the face of an unprecedented bull market. Buying the dips, a wildly successful strategy for the last ten years, suddenly doesn’t feel so clever. My own view as to whether this time might be different was to look at the world’s favourite stock Apple (NASDAQ - AAPL) and see if it would lose its trillion-dollar market cap and then some. That to me would be a signal that the selloff has legs. That has now happened, and I believe that the long overdue reality check has started and is by no means over.

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VCP
VCP
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Victoria - update on bond fiasco, remains a sell

It will be interesting to see how Geoff Wilding, Executive Chairman at Victoria plc (VCP), responds to what is his first real hiccup since he took the helm five years ago, growing the company exponentially with a string of acquisitions that have been welcomed by the market and seen himself and his shareholders richly rewarded...

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Keep selling Purplebricks - trading statement truly pathetic in what it did not say

The trading statement from Purplebricks (PURP), as I rather suspected, was a little short on detail and the word “profit” did not appear once...

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Plus500 – emphasises “ahead of expectations”… but still a 14% quarterly revenue decline

A trading update from “online service provider for trading Contracts for Differences”, Plus500 (PLUS) including “in the three months ended 30 September 2018, the company's revenue was $100.1 million, a decrease of 14% compared to the same period last year. This period included two months (August and September) of trading post the newly implemented ESMA regulations”. The shares have currently responded, er, more than 6% higher, back above 1300p!…

VCP
VCP
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Victoria - lessons From my Carpeting & again a sell

“Drunken Sailor” commented to me a few days ago; I would find it useful if you could do occasional reflective pieces on ones that go wrong and any lessons to learn from them.” OK Drunken. Here goes…

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Lucian Miers: Still Short Tern

I suggested shares in Tern (TERN) were a sell in June - noting that its main asset, Device Authority, appears to need constant drip feeds of cash from Tern - which, in turn, taps the AIM market regularly and that this summer Jo Retail is proudly wearing his tech hat and taking a swing at The Internet of Things...

US-Flag-Blonde

Lucian Miers: Still Short Tesla

Last week was not ideal for those short of Tesla (US - TSLA) after that tweet announcing the potential biggest take private deal in history. Nothing now surprises me with this company and, also having been a victim of the Autonomy-Hewlett Packard debacle seven years ago, I am wary to dismiss the possibility of a deal out of hand. But as the week closed without any further details emerging, it is looking increasingly likely to me that the funding might not be “secured” as claimed.

US-Flag-Blonde
PREMIUM CONTENT

Tesla - Musk Looks Like He is Losing the Plot

Tesla (NASDAQ - TSLA) reports Q2 numbers after the close on Wednesday and after Elon Musk’s bizarre performance on the Q1 earnings call, this one is likely to be box office. Far from learning from that meltdown back in May, his behaviour since has been even more erratic - with his spiteful reference on twitter to the British diver involved in the Thai cave rescue as “that pedo guy” and, more recently, his contacting the boss of a vociferous critic on twitter “Montana Skeptic”, with threats of legal action.

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AO
AO

AO World – “expectations for the full year remain unchanged”, but reason for concern?

Previously writing on online electrical retailer AO World (AO.), I noted a trading statement argues progress but questioned the valuation. The shares have since risen to 180p before falling back somewhat - and are currently at 145p on the back of an AGM trading update…

US-Dollar
PREMIUM CONTENT

Update on Tesla - still a Short

Two months ago at the UK Investor Show, I tipped Tesla (US - TSLA) as my top short for 2018 at $300. The shares are now 11% higher than that having touched $370 in the interim, so my timing has not been great and for that I apologise. Nevertheless, I still believe that, despite it being a crowded trade, and despite the fact that Elon Musk still enjoys unquestioning support from his cult followers, the company faces existential threats which could overwhelm it in short order and it is therefore the right thing to maintain a short position.

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Bear

Catalysts at Tesla and Telit - keep selling!

In these benign markets, the word “catalyst” is heard frequently among bears. They may agree that they have found a real turkey, but fret about what specific event will engender a sudden loss of confidence and resultant share price fall. I suggested recently that a cash crunch is the most reliable catalyst for a correction, but it’s not that straightforward as demonstrated by two of my favourite shorts - Tesla (NASDAQ - TSLA) and Telit (TCM), both of which have traded sideways for a while.

Purplebricks & Ticking Timebombs

At last month’s UK Investor Show I grumbled about the difficulties of being short in the current fraud-friendly climate in which fundamental analysis seems way down the pecking order of share picking criteria and suggested that unless it can be shown that a company is in imminent danger of going bust (Carillion, for example) shorting right now is an uphill battle. I might have added that shorting a name where there is a small free float is also a dangerous game. Which brings me back to Purplebricks (PURP).

TCM
TCM

Telit - results re-emphasise a compelling sell at 160p

Despite missing even the most pessimistic forecasts, Telit Communications (TCM) was given the thumbs up by the market, up 3% as I write, to 160p. I guess on the basis that the kitchen sink job is now over and it is onwards and upwards from here.

AO
AO

AO World – trading statement argues progress, but what of the valuation?

Online electrical retailer AO World (AO.) has updated on its year ended 31st March 2018 – this update with a range of analysts' expectations provided

AO
AO

AO World – “pleased” with the revenue growth, but why not provide the range of analysts' expectations?

CEO of online electrical retailer AO World (AO.), Steve Caunce, is “particularly pleased with the double digit sales growth in our UK business” and “pleased with the strong growth achieved” in Europe. Hmmm, what about the bottom-line and outlook though?...

Carillion – follows July’s with another material profit warning, dilution extraordinaire ahoy?

Carillion (CLLN) topped the top shorted London-listed shares at the start of 2017 (recent performance update HERE) and remained so in our Autumn update HERE. Having commenced the year above 235p, the shares had slid below 200p before a July profit warning, business review and Chief Executive “stepped down” announcement. They are currently down from above 40p to below 30p today on the back of an “Update” announcement…

TCM
TCM

Telit - press rumours provide selling opportunity

The timing of last week’s short call on Telit (TCM) was somewhat spoiled by rumours, fuelled by a story in the FT, of a bid for part or all of the company. Rothschild was said to be gauging interest in the automotive division with a price tag of £100-150 million, “according to two people briefed on the situation”. It was hinted that the obscure Chinese fund, Run Liang Tai Management, which has recently acquired 14% of Telit might bid for the whole company.

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