You can sometimes get some borrow in Versarien (VRS) and if you can you should even with the shares, which were once almost 200p, having slumped to below 15p. The next collapse will happen and happen fairly soon. It is a when not an if.
I start with a sort of Lucian Miers-style checklist for short candidates. How many boxes does Bidstack (BIDS) tick?
While there is disagreement among the investment experts about whether inflation, stagflation or outright recessionary deflation is on the horizon, there seems to be a consensus that times are going to be tough for a the rest of this year and 2023.
Two weeks ago today at Sharestock, I spoke about Victoria Carpets Plc (VCP) and outlined the reasons why I thought it still had the makings of a good short, despite its fall from £12 in January when I last wrote on it. Although the stock closed yesterday at just 427p, the share price gyrations of the past fortnight underline why I stated that right now might not be a great time to open the short. The shares raced ahead post Sharestock but are now 53p below the share price then.
Back in November of last year the CEO of Cake Box (CBOX) sold 3 million shares at 350p to mug fund managers. That means that over the past two years he has trousered £16.4 million at 170p and 350p. Lucky him. The company, which I have called out for months as a slam dunk car crash waiting to happen, has recently served up a horrific profit warning and its shares touched 90p. But then the CEO invested £250,000 at 121p and hey presto the shares are now 142p – more than halfway back to the pre-warning 180p level. This is absurd.
Next time TUI (TUI) threatens to go bust the German Government will be in no position to bail it out given how many other large German companies will be on their uppers by this winter. So says Lucian Miers who is short of the stock in a material way.
B2B video streaming technology company Aferian (AFRN) has announced results for its half year ended 31st May 2022 and confidence in second half prospects.
Thungela Resources (TGA) has announced results for the first half of 2022, noting “profit for the reporting period of R9.6 billion in a volatile operating environment (H1 2021: R351 million)”. This has currently helped the shares up to around 1500p, so how does the value look now?
Well you cannot say that this was not predicted here! Cineworld (CINE) has issued a lack of profits warning and says that when its balance sheet is deleveraged ( when? If?) shareholders will be screwed. The alternative, of course, is administration and a total wipeout!
The IPO of Procook (PROC) last November was one that I explicitly warned you about. That offer was at 145p. The shares are now 40p but CEO Daniel O Neill really is the most almighty spoofer, his share buying of late is a red flag in itself, an invitation to go short.
Short selling outfit Iceberg recently published a bear dossier on carpets roll-up play Victoria (VCP), which I reposted on this website HERE. Writing to you from Greece, I am not aware if the deadwood press is taking this matter onwards as what Iceberg wrote was very punchy indeed and I am sure that Victoria’s PR spinners will be using phrases involving the dreaded L word (lawyer) to any of the spineless 4th Estate hacks who ask questions.
I should declare that I am a shareholder in this company. I bought 1 share a few years ago so that I could attend its AGM to quiz the management on the catalogue of lies they had told to investors. Then covid struck. On a properly regulated market Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) would have been given the order of the boot years ago, but this is AIM.
GSK plc (GSK) has announced a “slightly better than expected” first-half performance, and the shares have responded up to 1755.8p.
After Fevertree’s (FEVR) recent profits warning, Lucian Miers says that he has closed his short. Not that he expects the shares to surge higher just that he sees greater opportunities out there for the teddies. I am not so sure.
OptiBiotix Health (OPTI) has announced an update on recent scientific and commercial activities, emphasising it is “increasing the range of products, applications, and territories creating the potential to open larger market opportunities”.
It is hard to imagine a more perfect storm than the one that now faces Cineworld (CINE). I know Lucian and I have been telling you to short it for some while, and you will be well in the money if you have followed that advice, with the shares now just 21p. But that is 21p too high, and so it is not to late to open a short or to add to your position.
Lucian Miers and I both warned that this would happen as, I think, did the Dark Destroyer Matt Earl. Chris Bailey is a non-drinker and disagreed. Never trust a non-drinker, as my pal Evil Knievil (not a non-drinker) would say. On 19 May Fevertree (FEVR) told us to expect flat FY EBITDA of £63 million to £66 million. Today, less than two months later…..
Whilst drowning in debt, Cineworld (CINE) has made no formal announcement. Instead, its in-house PR clown confirms - by email - that:
On 4 December 2020, shares in Russia PGM promote, Eurasia Mining (LSE:EUA), hit 40.55p. Morons across the interweb, spurred on by blatant market abuse, pondered what colours their Ferraris would be painted. Today, the shares are just 5p, after dire finals earlier this week. There are two questions Eurasia must answer:
As we marched on Saturday, the Rogue Bloggers discussed this and that. As he sobered up, even Lucian Miers joined in the conversation, and asked whether he should short Avacta (AVCT). The answer is yes, and here is why.
On February 18, I generated industrial-scale abuse (of me) from anonymous internet warriors. All I did was suggest Shield Therapeutics (STX) as a slam-dunk short, at 25.5p. The savants insisted, as is usually the case in such circumstances, that I didn’t understand the maths, and should go back to working in a pizza store, etc, etc, etc. The shares are now just 14.6p, and the final collapse is almost upon us. Add to your shorts. Let me explain.
I estimate Cineworld (CINE) is worth c. 2p per share, as noted in yesterday's bearcast. Perhaps my greatest flaw is overkindness. It is a real failing, with which I constantly struggle. Anyhow, Evil Banksta - being a banksta - has no such problems, and takes me to task for my generosity. He explains:
Jubilee Metals (JLP) has announced two new appointments: Manuel Lino Silva de Sousa (Ollie) Oliveira as Chairman, and Berenberg as joint corporate broker. That is good news for institutional interest, with the market cap now £390 million, at a 14.85p share price.
Yesterday, Amigo (AMGO) announced that the High Court had approved its revised business scheme. Since the FCA had withdrawn its opposition, that was no surprise at all. Seeing the shares fly to 9p was also no great shock, given the utterly insane ramping by Bulletin Board Morons. But the shares are now back at 7.5p, and are a fabulous short.
Fevertree (FEVR) has issued a trading update, which seems to read well, but the shares are down and will fall further. Let me explain.
Lucian Miers’ (the bear raider) top three UK short positions are:
I suspect that very few investors and surprisingly few PLC directors have any idea what a recession looks like. For starters most folks in both camps are rich but in a recession, it is the poor or lower middle classes who get whacked hardest. That is especially so when it is an inflationary recession as those lower down the order tend to have the least ability to “play catch up” by forcing through pay rises. And secondly you have to be of a certain age to remember a savage inflationary recession as an adult – the last one was ended with some fairly painful medicine by the blessed Lady Thatcher forty years ago.
Iron ore pellet producer, Ferrexpo (FXPO), has announced results for the 2021 calendar year, and that it has continued to operate, launching a significant humanitarian programme to assist those directly impacted by the Russian invasion.
In response to some dynamite exposes on Shareprophets about Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (COPL), the company released a bizarre RNS in which the sole executive, Arthur Millholland, dismissed his critics, mainly Tom Winnifrith, as snake oil salesmen and expressed “renewed confidence” about the future. Pots and kettles spring to mind here when Millholland’s track record is taken into consideration.
AEX Gold (AEXG) has announced exploration drilling results from its Nalunaq project, which, it emphasises, verify that the Valley Block, unrecognised by previous operators, is a new high-grade zone and supports its 'Dolerite Dyke Model'. This, it says, has been used to predict the location and extent of five new high-grade zones.
As Q1 limps to a close, it is difficult to see clearly through the fog of war. Mindful, doubtless, of the Covid aftermath – which bottomed almost exactly two years ago and led to a spectacular rally in stocks – investors have returned, and the sell-off seems to have petered out.
Imperial Brands (IMB) has announced an update on its actions and impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, concluding on Russia “an orderly transfer of our business as a going concern would be in the best interests… have begun negotiations with a local third party about a transfer”.
OptiBiotix Health (OPTI) has announced that it intends to seek admission of its ProBiotix Health business onto the AQSE Growth Market with an associated fund raise of approximately £2.5 million at an indicative premoney valuation of £22.5 million and a distribution in specie. With, at a 35.5p share price, OptiBiotix as a whole currently capitalised at £31.3 million, is this good news? You bet!
In today’s podcast I look in detail at Deepverge (DVRG) whose CEO Gerry Brandon is a 100% arse and whose most recent RNS is utterly deceptiive. I also look in detail at musicMagpie (MMAG) where a placing will be messy but is a slam dunk cert if the Fat Lady is not to make an appearance and at Cineworld (CINE) which remains a slam dunk short.
I see that amid some optimism that we might see peace in Ukraine the FTSE 100 is staging a bit of a rally as I write. And with that all sorts of stocks among the small and mid-caps are heading higher. Of course, I pray for peace. If we get it then all stocks will be marked higher but for how long?
Online fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO) has performed terribly for anyone who has been invested over the past year or so and has seen its share price drop by around 75% during that time.
Can we all agree that the Covid bubble/lets all WFH bubble has burst and also that the tech bubble is bursting. I will write up the top way to cash in on this on the N50 website this weekend. Meanwhile here is some more free money for the bears.
Given the hysteria surrounding the situation in Ukraine over the weekend, the falls in Western-listed Russian names were relatively muted with most being down low single digit percentages on Monday. The exception to this appeared to be FTSE 100 constituent Evraz plc (EVR), the steel producer and coal miner with major operations in Russia and Ukraine. The stock which had closed on Friday at 444p opened at 285p, showing a decline of 159p or 35%. The press was quick to latch on to this “carnage”:
Small stake-building by a French Covid tester in Novacyt (NCYT) saw its shares surge yesterday and that prompted jumps across the sector. Over in Bulletin Board Moron land the talk was of merger mania sweeping the sector. I hate to disillusion you guys …
This has been a very good share tip for our readers but there is more to come. Jadestone Energy (JSE) has announced that “2021 production averaged 12,545 boe/d, in line with expectations” and “cash balances at the end of the year are estimated at US$117.4 million, representing an increase of 30% year-on-year, even after the largest spending programme in the company’s history”. This sounds encouraging.
Lucian Miers and myself have repeatedly called out Cineworld (CINE) as a compelling short and those who have followed our calls have prospered. But the FT, the home of almost every wrong call in history from backing the UK joining the Euro to selling its gold in 1997, runs a story “Cineworld debt pile set to save cinema operator from bankruptcy.” You might think this is a reason to buy. Au contaire. A resting banksta writes to me to explain.
I start with Hitpiece – the latest NFT scam. Aren’t all NFT’s scams? I discuss the ephemeral nature of contemporary music as an asset class. Then onto Amigo (AMGO) where – with the shares surging – it is surely ‘a mega’ short. Then it is onto regulatory and ethical failure at Braveheart (BRH) and Chamberlin (CMH), the common links being the scumbag Trevor Brown and the scallywags at Peterhouse Capital. Then on to more regulatory failure at Chill Brands (FRAUD) before I take along look at UK SPAC (SPC) and all who sail in her. Finally a few words on Optibiotix (OPTI) where I plan to catch up with Steve O’Hara later today.
I start with a few words on Oxford Cannabinoid (OCTP). I have not said fill your boots nor should you. The issue here is management allegedly lining their own pockets ahead of corporate action which they know all about. One should not buy shares in such companies. Then I reflect on an excellent piece by Maynard Paton on Cake Box (CBOX) which you can read HERE. I comment on some of the excellent points he makes but add in half a dozen of my own, notably comparing boasted net cash and net interest costs but also the shameful CEO pump and dump and the macro headwind given the demographic of its end user base. This is probably not another Patisserie Valerie but at 320p it is a stonking short.
Components and (currently) Packaging and Filters company Essentra (ESNT) has announced fourth quarter like-for-like revenue up 12.7% on the prior year (+11.1% v. Q4 2019) and that it “expects to deliver FY 2021 operating profit in the range of analysts’ forecasts” (£80.7m-£84.3m) and “order book trends remain strong”. The shares are now 340p, a just shy of £1 billion market cap, but is there still further to go here?
Shares in cyber security group Shearwater (SWG) are down from more than 200p reached early last summer and more than 140p as recently as November to currently 99p to buy. There is clear trading expectations risk, but also reasons for optimism that the shares will spark again and they now look a risk/reward Buy.
If the share price of a company is in sharp decline and the CEO walks it is for one of two reasons and neither is good. It could be that the CEO knows that things can only get worse and wants to put as much clear blue water between him and a ship that is bound to sink. Or the rest of the board know that stakeholders will only do what is needed to try to keep the ship afloat if there is a change of captain, it is an admission that the ship is in deep trouble. Either way it is always a sign to sell or short or add to shorts and that brings me to Omega Diagnostics (ODX) where I have been a long term bear.
Cineworld (CINE) reckons that as the world emerges from the scamdemic its trading is improving helped by some really great movie releases. I am not quite so sure about that and today’s trading update misses out the most critical number investors need to see, the movement in the vast debts in which this company is drowning. That omission tells you all you need to know.
This is a market where being short can be exceedingly painful. As Gabriel Grego found out the other day, even what appear to be slam dunk frauds can roof it. This is what happens at the fag end of a bull market. But in the UK, I sense that there is now real ennui among investors, both institutional and the spivs at the bucket shops, when it comes to placings.
I trust that numerous warnings from myself and Lucian have allowed you to make good money from shorting Cineworld (CINE) all the way down. The shares have collapsed this week on news that it has lost a Canadian court case and is on the hook for C$1.23 billion but that merely accelerates the end game here. Do not even think of closing your short at 31p. My target is buttons. Post an inevitable debt for equity swap and bailout placing this is a penny share.
Evil Knievil: “the best time to kick a man is when he is down.” The great bear raider is correct, especially in these crazy times when so many frauds or near bankrupts seem able to defy gravity as the believers still belief and continue to BOTFD, so providing share price support. But in some cases even the believers are starting to smell the coffee.
Atalaya Mining (ATYM) states it is pleased to announce its quarterly and nine-month results for the period ended 30th September 2021, with it emphasising “another strong quarter… robust operational performance, combined with strong copper prices, has seen our EBITDA for the first nine months of 2021 more than triple from the amount generated during the same period of 2020”. So what of a now more than 400p share price?
‘The best time to kick a man is when he is down’ is a quote from my friend the bear raider Simon Cawkwell, aka Evil Knievil. It is not a reference to individuals who have fallen on bad times for Cawkwell is, sometimes, not that uncharitable, but to shares in companies hitting new lows.
I am all for patience when it comes to investing, but the forbearance of small retail investors when it comes to continual promises made and broken by small and disreputable companies never ceases to amaze. Amazon and Apple are two examples, often cited by dreamers, of plucky minnows which struggled for years before exploding into being behemoths. If they can do it, the thinking seems to be, why not anyone? Give them more time and money.
Since, a few weeks ago, Matt Earl launched his first bear dossier on Civitas Social Housing (CSH) its shares have fallen by 25% to 91p. The company did issue a response to the first dossier published by the bear raider known as “the Dark Destroyer”.
You can get borrow and you should. There is a collapsing long position on margin but the real reason to go aggressively short of Chill Brands (CHLL) is the deafening sound of silence. Let me explain.
Apparently The Hut Group (THG) ‘is a British e-commerce company headquartered at Manchester Airport … operates over 100 international websites that takes brands direct to consumer through its proprietary e-commerce platform’. How wonderful but the last time I wrote about the stock (here) observed that it was ‘over-loved’. Kind of interesting then to see a big 43% fall in the share price year-to-date.
Tomorrow, I shall tell you about a young man in despair, naming no names but what it says about this country. Today, I look at Powerhouse Energy (PHE) options and warrants, Zoltav Resources (ZOL), Sensyne (SENS), Supply@ME Capital (SYME), Parsley Box (MEAL), Deepverge (DVRG) and Chill Brands (CHLL).
In the last week shares in Cineworld (CNE) rose 25% from 66p to 83p, adding around £230 million to its market cap. To put that number in perspective it represents more that its entire profit before tax in 2019, the last full year without Covid.
As things stand at 69p, we are 289% ahead on this share tip but there is much more to come. SkinBioTherapeutics (SBTX) has announced its probiotic food supplement to help alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis, AxisBiotix-Ps, is to launch on 29th October, following highly positive results from its consumer study in May and key commercialisation activities since.
Two or three weeks ago I clambered off the fence and explicitly told you to short Eurasia Mining (EUA) at 28p. The shares are now 23.6p in the middle. So far so good for we bears but the company is still valued by the market, on a fully diluted basis as there are loads of in the money options, at well over £700 million which is insane. A placing announced yesterday is the cue to add to your shorts.
Miner in Azerbaijan, Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) has announced results for the first half of 2021 and that “FY 2021 Production guidance of between 64,000 to 72,000 gold equivalent ounces remains unchanged”.
This weekend’s short letter on the N50 website will look at a company whose shares you can trade. Today, I am feeling pretty proud of my take-down of Standard Listed Umuthi (UHS) whose March 4 IPO was to have valued it at £368 million. A series of articles HERE has seen its sole NED resign and nobody now seems to doubt that this is a complete fraud with no business and that the revelations are truly shocking. Sadly, as it is an obvious zero, its shares are suspended but there are lessons. Here are 10 signs that this was a fraud:
On each of the four there is borrow and Lucian is short. There is a 5th where he has a small short but borrow is hard to obtain. I go through all five and explain why they will all see a share price collapse if not a total wipeout.
Two dogs, covered extensively on Shareprophets.com where i am short are leaving it rather late to come up with the goods. Chill Brands Group (CHLL), formerly Zoetic, has until Tuesday to publish its results to March 2021 (and that’s after a Covid extension) and Supply@Me Capital (SYME) has stated that a trading update is “expected” this month.
On February 3 2021 I published a damning 60 Red flag dossier on a fraud called Zoetic (ZOE) with the shares at 76p. The response was utterly poisonous.
As I predicted it would in my last piece, Tern plc (TERN) came back to the trough last week with yet another placing (its 16th since it emerged from the ruins of Silvermere Energy in 2014) and the shares predictably sold off, causing a few rumblings of discontent among its shareholders, 100% of whom (bar management) are retail. But before I lay into the company and its management, let me present you with a fun fact regarding dilution, a dirty word for most equity investors.
Insurance businesses investor B.P. Marsh & Partners (BPM) has announced results for its year ended 31st January 2021, emphasising “total shareholder return of 10.1% for the year including the dividend paid in July… remain optimistic that we will be able to secure scalable and high growth investments, which will deliver substantial shareholder returns over time”. That sounds good to us.
For the past year myself and Gary Newman have repeatedly warned about the crazy valuation of Remote Monitored Systems (RMS), about the director lying – another one exposed today – and about the collapsing face mask bubble. We were met with derision and abuse for numerous online trolls. On a day when our analysis has been wholly vindicated with Remote shares crashing, here are three of those trolls in action.
Lucian Miers wrote about one aspect of Eurasia Mining (EUA) that smells all wrong to him the other day. My friend and colleague is yet to get any satisfactory answers on that matter. But here is another oddity.
Even in these crazy times when shares in insolvent frauds go up, some things just have to be a slam dunk short. The good news with this one is that there is borrow. Lucian Miers is already short so I suggest you join him in taking free money off morons who are buying Tern (TERN).
SkinBioTherapeutics (SBTX) has announced the results of the AxisBiotix-PsT consumer study of patients suffering from psoriasis and it says that it will now be seeking regulatory approval for the product as a food supplement in parallel in the UK, US and Europe… targeting a commercial launch of theAxisBiotix-Ps™ product in Q4 2021”. Do the maths! This is going to be massive.
They say that the best way to rob a bank is to own one and it is with a slight feeling of queasiness that I have been recommending buying the shares of Ferrexpo (FXPO), whose founder, Kostyantyn Zhevago, has been accused in some quarters of doing just that (fortunately the shares have done quite well). For balance however, I am short the shares of Eurasia Mining (EUA), which also appears to have connections with a party accused of the same skulduggery.
Being a bear over the past year has, as I have noted many times before, been painful. You expose a company for being a fraud and its shares go up. You reveal that it has lied to investors and…its shares go up. You demonstrate that it is trading poorly and is running out of cash, its shares dip but then, post an oversubscribed placing, start to roof it again. It is unnatural. But it is the way of life in the last blow off stages of a bull market.
Shares in the Standard Listed fraud that is Zoetic International (ZOE) are, at 56p mid, almost 50% off their all-time highs achieved at peak pump earlier this year. To have suffered such slippage amid a bull market for pot and small cap stocks takes some doing and is, in itself, something of a red flag. The posh but extremely dim and morally bankrupt PR man for this firm, Mr. Henry Harrison-Topham, tried to steady the nerves of the fools invested here with a trading update but it was no good. It was a case study in where what the company did NOT say serves as a red flag.
As Q1 draws to a close, I have few regrets about having been inactive in the market particularly on the short side.
My suggestion, made to AIM Regulation and HERE, that shares in all covid testing stocks be suspended on Monday seems to have aroused every idiot who has ever bought an AIM listed share into outrage and anger. Brokerman Dan has joined this populist outrage.
There is an “Update on Nalunaq Development” announcement from AEX Gold (AEXG) which we apologise for and about which CEO Eldur Olafsson was also very apologetic in a chat we’ve had. He damn well should be…
In today’s podcast, I look at Iconic (ICON), Eden Research (EDEN), Supply@ME Capital (SYME) and Zoetic (ZOE). I also look at macro madness in UK short caps and look at what happened in 2001 and 1721, both of which were very similar to today.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past week or so, you can’t but fail to have noticed the news around a massive ‘short squeeze’ on a number of heavily shorted US stocks, with GameStop ($GME) and AMC Entertainment ($AMC) attracting particular attention.
This has not been a very good share tip so far. But things are getting better for the company and the share price and they will get better still. It takes a while to restore both output and even longer to regain investor confidence. A Q4 2020 Report from Centamin (CEY) emphasises that 2020 results will be in-line with October guidance and reiterates the 2021 outlook . This has helped the shares higher but there is more to come. On what has not been a great tip so far we suggest averaging down.
The big tech stocks have led the US markets ever higher and valuations as a whole for this subgroup look, to me, to be stretched. But I have been saying that for a while so you may choose to ignore what follows. However, while I have compared shorting such enterprises to standing in front of an oncoming express train waving your red flags, is there now a case for shorting Twitter? At $47.42, the market cap is $37.8 billion.
Today’s expose of Iconic (ICON) is shocking and shows that Dave Sefton is again getting shareholders in a PLC to takle the equity risk for his private ventures. I explain the pattern and what Damon Heath at Shard Capital needs to do about this on Monday. This has got to stop now. Then I look at the religious cult members Evil is tackling with his Tesla short and how it will play out. I start with my act of lockdown defiance today which has confifrmed to daughter Olaf what a boring old man I have become.
So says my good pal, the infamous bear raider Evil Knievil, and he is right. You and I look at a high flying stock where the valuation is insane but where if we go short the valuation can easily go to double insane before gravity kicks in. Especially in fevered times such as those we live in, kicking a man when he is standing strong is not such a smart move.
Optibiotix (OPTI) has announced that Non Executive Director (NED) Peter Wennstrom – of whom we’d never heard – is to step down to be replaced by Christopher Brinsmead CBE, subject to the completion of regulatory due diligence being carried out by the Company’s Nomad. For a £50 million odd capitalised company, Brinsmead is a real BSD to pick up.
A few years back, Ocado (OCDO) was one of the most reviled companies in the UK with the shares regularly topping Short Tracker’s most shorted table, peaking in 2016 with 20% of the shares out on loan. The short interest is now negligible as the bears (myself included) have been sent packing with the relentless, almost tenfold, rise of the share price over the last few years which has only recently looked to be running out of steam.
Berkeley Energia (BKY) has announced progress including an authorisation renewal and the Spanish Supreme Court rejection of an opposition appeal against its Salamanca uranium project.
There was a telling exchange in a Downing Street press Conference this week between Jonathan Van Tam and the deputy PM Boris Johnson. The real PM, Princess Nut Nuts, was elsewhere plotting the Long march to a full green revolution. Van Tam suggested that Covid restrictions such as face nappy wearing and social distancing might need to stay in place, essentially, forever. The deputy PM said that he was not so sure about that and it might be good to get back to normal at some point. Cue frosty glances.
I have been on the case of Trainline (TRN) for some time but events this week now mark this stock out as a compelling short. The deadwood press will not say so because they concern a female CEO, a poster girl for woke corporatism. But since I don’t hold with this PC shite I simply look at the facts.
What would you do if you were running a PLC with almost no cash and which was burning cash? It is a position I have been in and it is not a good place to be. You cut costs perhaps? Or you just do whatever is needed to raise fresh equity whatever the cost involved in doing that…
I ponder this grave question after considering the illogical hateful restrictions we face in Shipston next week. In another podcast, I raise the possibility that Donald Trump might win on November 3 because of factors the deadwood press and BBC opt to ignore. All is explained HERE. Then I discuss three sets of builders here at the Welsh Hovel who must be starting to dislike me. Then it is onto Centamin (CEY), Bidstack (BIDS) and Network International (NETW) – a £1.5 billion short?
Chutzpah: extreme self-confidence or audacity, usually used approvingly.
Just how many red flags do you need? Because at this AIM listed company, there are more than you’d see on the annual May Day parade through my old stomping ground of Clerkenwell. Let’s list the Verditek (VDTK) red flags:
I have had a bit of a soft spot for the oil services company, Hunting plc (HTG), since 2009 when I bought it around 350p, which proved to be its post GFC low having collapsed from around 900p. By 2012 it had returned there. I have dipped my toe at around 185p having read the interims to June 30th and hope to repeat the trick…
I am not a great train traveller so cannot boast vast first hand experience of using the online booking service Trainline (TRN). However that does not stop me noting that at 415p the just under £2 billion market cap is quite utterly absurd…
Forgive me, dear readers, for returning to the matter of the great Coronavirus bubble but data came out late Thursday from the ONS which screams at you that it is about to pop.
We live in crazy times. What is the difference in value between a company that says it is insolvent and one that has not formally admitted it but admits that its financial records are fiction and whose CEO has been arrested? The answer $170 million. And the fraud is apparently worth more!
After yesterday's bombshell I understand Elecosoft (ELCO) has threatened legals. This, as I explain, is a sure fire sell signal. I discuss Intu (INTU) - ouzo time for me - and the forthcoming banking crisis ahead of which Metro Bank (MTRO) is one sure fire short. And I look at Tomco (TOM) urging it to come clean on its true financial position.
I have written of the risks to the shorter several times here of late. Indeed, I explicitly warned against going short at what turned out to the bottom of the recent market correction. Forgive me for reminding you of that call! And given the unprecedented Government intervention in our affairs which smacks of market manipulation I am reluctant to consider new shorts. However:
Since warning you not to be short as the market almost bottomed it has been painful for those who ignored my advice. But I sense that a few opportunities may be opening up again. There is something Orwellian in the way that our Government makes statements about the Corona economic mess it has created with its non-sensical policies, the MSM parrots them and then as a nation we are expected, when not applauding the NHS or snitching on our neighbours for having two walks a day, to repeat and accept. And so we are told that the housing market is “opening up again.” And that swift action in getting housebuilders back to work & allowing estate agents to go to back to lying to buyers and sellers alike, will protect the nation’s favourite obsession, house prices...
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...
Apparently, last night the BBC aired a celeb packed fund raiser, its Big Night In. It was another occasion when multimillionaires urged we poor plebs to hand over our hard earned cash to a “good cause”. This time it is Coronavirus or rather the fight against it. My own views on Covid 19 are clear, I regard it as the biggest policy blunder in British History driven by utterly crazy GroupThink. But I digress slightly.
I view St James Place (STJ) as a long term short since it has always and continues to provide a truly appalling service to its customers. You can fleece punters to reward staff and shareholders for only so long but eventually you reap what you sow and for me that makes this company uninvestable. The Dark Destroyer offers up a more detailed financial analysis of why his Shadowfall fund is short. Enjoy
Covid-19 has changed the world. Well perhaps not the virus itself but the governmental response, which I continue to see as the biggest exercise in GroupThink madness the world has seen. But the change has come and a clear victim is Hammerson (HMSO), a heavily indebted owner of retail properties. Its last stated NAV was 601p, the shares trade at 84p. Either this is the cheapest stock going or something is so wrong that it could be horribly expensive...
What are shares in Sound Energy (SOU) trading at today? 1p, 2p? I reckon this drowning in debt POS is worthless but only time will tell. It was not that long ago that shares in Sound traded at 90p. Not one institution bought as the stock headed to a £700 million market cap driven by obscene share ramping by the then CEO James Parsons, aided by some of the less scrupulous characters on the AIM scene...
Okay, I have been wrong with such calls before. Quindell (QPP) was a total and demonstrable fraud, running on fumes and so just had to be a zero... Then along came those Aussie poltroons from Slater & Gordon, who bought most of its worthless assets, so saving Quindell but train-wrecking their own company. It happens now and again that the corporate world throws up an even bigger fool than your average Bulletin Board Moron on the LSE Asylum. Moreover, these are “challenging” times...
With the current state of the markets there isn’t a lot that I would exactly be rushing to buy at the moment, as I think that even the good companies that have strong enough balance sheets to survive relatively unscathed, could well go a fair bit lower yet.
It strikes me that having a big short position right now might be a tad unwise and indeed smart bears are closing many positions. Do not get me wrong, I think that the medical and financial crisis has a good way to run but none the less there are very real dangers in being short. Having said that I suggest to you two stocks where if you are not short yet, you may wish to open a position. I also urge you all to keep safe and stay well.
As someone who occasionally shorts companies, particularly on AIM, my goal is to find companies which are total frauds and so their shares ultimately prove worthless and I get 100% profit. However, I also like to short what I term "stock promotions", where management and/or shareholders have used various methods to get the stock to levels which are impossible to justify. On AIM, a stock promotion can take companies which are essentially worthless to a value of several hundred million pounds, depending on the story being spun.
Another day, another announcement from fully-listed NMC Heath (NMC) regarding the share shenanigans of its founder and now former co-chairman. Today we learn that the good Dr Shetty appears to have taken out a 7 million share short position and had been using his shares as part of a general pledge to secure a current $30 million term loan! Did we know about this before the start of the year? Er…
The consensus in the US markets right now seems to be that things are getting a little crazy out there but that Trump will keep the show on the road until November, when, in the absence of a stock market rout, he will trounce Sanders or Bloomberg in the election. Therefore, there is little to worry about until then.
I have, for several years, warned that the valuation of Bulletin Board darling Versarien (VRS) was crackers. At one point it reached £200 million. As I write, ahead of the market open, it is still – with the shares at 49p – valued at c£70 million. Given that its core graphene business generated sales of just £27,000 last year and that the cash guzzling PLC is fast running out of cash, I am sure you’d agree the valuation is bonkers.
Two sources whom I trust told me that Eurasia Mining (EUA) was doing a placing via Optiva. And so I ran the story, first giving the company the opportunity to comment, an opportunity it passed up on. The shares had been falling for a few days and that is normally a good sign, on the insider dealing plagued market that is the AIM Casino, that a placing was underway. So I guess a few folks sold on the basis of the article. Fear not folks, count it as a lucky escape.
There is borrow so don’t hold back. The market cap was £28 million at a 0.305p share price when this piece first appeared. The shares are now 0.285p but this could go all the way.
The Times suggests that Muddy Waters may be kicking itself for not shorting both London-listed stocks from the stable of Dr Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty. Whist its short on NMC Health (NMC) may be doing well enough, Shetty’s other vehicle – Finablr (FIN) has been having a torrid time, with the shares halving since December. Finablr has only been on the market since last May, but scratch the surface and there are many questions which look like Red Flags to me jumping out.
Lucian Miers and I have covered Versarien (VRS) many times, looking at the maths as to why the shares, at 79.5p having fallen back a good bit, are still monstrously overvalued. It was one of Lucian’s sell tips of the year HERE and he, and I, reckon that fair value is sub 10p. Eurasia Mining (EUA) is another AIM casino ramp which, on fundamentals, looks to be massively overvalued. I would not be a buyer of the stock even if it fell by two thirds from the current 4p.
During the first seven days of Christmas each of the team will serve up two share tips (buys or sells). I will serve up 4. That makes 20 in total. Enjoy our share tips of the year 2020. Sixteenth up is a SELL from Lucian Miers who is short of the shares in the company below.
During the first seven days of Christmas each of the team will serve up two share tips (buys or sells). I will serve up 4. That makes 20 in total. Enjoy our share tips of the year 2020. Eleventh up is a SELL from Lucian Miers who is short of the shares in both of the companies mentioned below.
This month has been the opposite of December 2018 which saw a steep decline on Christmas Eve which marked a year low on Wall St. Now we are seeing new all-time highs posted practically every day. Even the derided stock markets of Europe and the UK - as represented by the FTSE 250 - are at or near all-time highs…
Over the next week or so each of the team will serve up two share tips (buys or sells). I will serve up 4. That makes 20 in total. Enjoy our share tips of the year 2020. Second up is a SELL from Peter Brailey who owns no shares in the company below and is not short.
Thank heavens the election is less than a week away. In just ten days those hapless cretins most of whom could not get a decent job in the private sector and who show that politics really is showbiz for ugly people (and liars, knaves and halfwits) will be off our screens and we can all think about important issues like Christmas. Until then there will be reams of comment from the media and City “experts” on how to position your finances. Don’t bother to read it…
@THeAIMClown is long of Eurasia Mining (EUA) though he doesn't declare as such as he drones on ad nauseam about how cheap its shares are. But he demands to know on twitter of, the wrong, Gary Newman and myself if we, our families, friends or associated parties are short. Where to start?
All three are concept stocks and shares in all three will at some stage slide towards zero...
Manufacturer and brand owner in the beauty, wellbeing and lifestyle sectors, Creightons (CRL) has announced results for its half year ended 30th September 2019 and that it believes it is “in an excellent position to take advantage of any opportunities”…
The value of any asset traded in any volume is determined by the price at which buyers and sellers are prepared to transact. So for some surprisingly large companies where the liquidity ( lack of) or some other reason means there are no institutional investors, or trades, the share price is thus largely determined by private investors, many of them untrained in analysis and some of them full blown Bulletin Board Morons.
Lucian Miers calls in from Cambodia where he is escaping the nonsense of the election campaign, to ask is Jo Swinson really as dim as she seems and is Mothercare (MTC) bust. I am afraid that I have no answer to either question...
I ask a question which a year ago would have been something you would not have thought of asking: could Ted Baker (TED) go bust. Its shares, £17 a year ago, now trade at 470p valuing the business at just £212 million.
For those who missed out on Thomas Cook (TCG) which failed in its attempt to blag £200 million off her majesty’s government, the bonds in Sirius Minerals (SXX) - which failed in its attempt to blag $1 billion from HMG - are trading at 33 cents on the dollar.
Having closed my short in sleazy estate agent Purplebricks (PURP) a while ago and even having a little trade on the long side, I have been sitting on the fence awaiting developments amongst its four largest shareholders (Axel Springer, Neil Woodford, Merian and Toscafund)...
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...
In today's (long) bearcast I look at Burford (BUR) asking questions of bulls and bears, at Thomas Cook (TCG), surely a slam dunk short at 8p, at Cabot Energy (TOAST), ADM Energy (ADME) and finally at Seedrs where the PR bird is trying to bully me into publishing a falsehood. She is picking on the wrong man. maybe she confuses me with the spineless financial illiterates and PR cocksuckers at the deadwood press?
We warned our readers yesterday that Muddy Waters was on the case. In fact we've been warning about Burford (BUR) for months on this website. The company responded with a pathetic RNS this morning which caused the shares to spike. Now they are tumbling as the Carson Block report is out and its damning. Carson opines:
This morning’s data from Morningstar is bad news for Neil Woodford, but perhaps not as bad as THIS if it turns out to refer to Burford Capital which is his second biggest holding in the gated Equity Income Fund (WEIF) – we shall find out at 8am. Yesterday saw his Income Focus Fund (WIFF) lose 0.4% in NAV per unit and WEIF dropped 0.54%.
On Wednesday evening Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) passed another important milestone on the road to bankruptcy by showing that even with record deliveries of 95,000 vehicles in Q2 it is incapable of making money. Having promised in Q3 last year that the company would be profitable from now on-in and not require further funding, having raised $2.4 billion in May, it has now racked up losses of $1.3 billion in the first six months of the year. The departure of the last remaining grown up, co-founder JB Straubel, who has been selling stock all year, is also cause for grave concern...
Back in May, ten days before the end of that month’s savage sell off on Wall St, I suggested selling a Cannabis Index on the basis that it was likely to lead the market down and lag any gains in the other direction. I am pleased to say that despite the rip-roaring June to-date rally in the US markets, the IG Cannabis Index is now lower than it was at the end of May. It is still an outstanding sell here (the level on the IG Cannabis Index now is 904 but I am sure there are others). Following the same reasoning, I think Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is an excellent short after yesterday’s 11% fall…
At 57.3p the shares in Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) trade at bang on a 30% discount to stated NAV. There has been an enormous amount written about the Woodford fiasco since it started to unfold but a couple of points are worth making...
I start with a few reflections on D day from my own family history. Then I look at Neil Woodford and what needs to happen.Then at unfolding events at Diversified Gas & Oil (DGOC) which make it, arguably, the most compelling short on AIM. Do folks understand the scale of what is going on here? Then I cover Motif Bio (MTFB), Cabot Energy (CAB) and finally Blue Jay (JAY) another truly compelling short.
I take my hat off to a chap who has created the blog Oarfish Research for he is a truly talented individual who has produced some spectacular research on £878 million capitalised ( at 126p) AIM listed Diversified Gas & Oil (DGOC). Reading Mr Oarfish’s truly spectacular analysis I can only conclude that this company is monumentally overvalued. It could be the most overvalued stock on AIM.
As I write the Dow Jones has recovered most of Monday’s fall, but it still looks possible for it to be down for the fourth straight week. Either way, it looks like this year’s straight-up rally is running out of steam. In my view, a good way to play market downside, rather than shorting the Dow or S&P, is to be short the cannabis craze…
That Purplebricks (PURP) remains above 100p after Tuesday’s announcement is surprising. With the closure of its Australian division and retrenchment in the US, the global growth story is dead, leaving the UK market as its primary focus where the going, by the company’s own admission, is tough.
Normally when a company loses its auditor in a public spat and the non execs start leaving it is a massive red flag and a huge sell signal even after the initial knee jerk falls. Quite often it is the first step to bankruptcy. With this in mind I had a quick look at Ferrexpo(FXPO) over the weekend with a view to shorting it first thing on Monday morning. I ended up buying the stock. Here is why.
A few weeks back I covered Bould Opportunities (BOU) and the huge increase in the share price, and I must admit that I am surprised that the share price has managed to stay up at these levels. At the time I last wrote about this company - which recently changed its name from Photonstar LED (PSL) - the shares were trading at around 0.045p, and I have been expecting them to drop hard at some point – and still do...
I have spoken about Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) at the last two UK Investor Shows and written about it extensively as a once in a generation short opportunity. Given that it is probably the most covered and talked about stock in the world, I do not propose to continue writing about it for a while but do make the following observations after its Q1 release on Wednesday…
Andrew Davies narrowly missed out on what surely would have been the corporate hospital pass of the decade – last year he was announced as the new CEO of Carillion, but it went bust before he got his feet under the desk. Now he comes in as the new CEO of Kier (KIE) and despite the rights offer of last December, his first move is a strategic review.
On Saturday I shall be on the main stage at UK Investor in a bears panel with the Dark Destroyer Matthew Earl and new bear on the block Duncan Stewart. We can promise fireworks. Here is a taster, an idea from Matt...
Shares in IQE (IQE) are volatile. In the past year they have traded between 136p and 56p and closed yesterday at 68p. The market can often be unforgiving when companies disappoint but in the case of IQE it seems remarkably tolerant…
Bears often pigeonhole duff companies as frauds, fads or failures as if they belong in one or other of these distinct categories. The truth is that quite often a fad resorts to fraud when it realises that it is a failure. The most obvious example of this right now is Tesla. But there are others.
I wrote recently about Telit Communications (TCM), suggesting that the shares were worth selling whether or not it received $105 million from TUS for the sale of its automotive division.
As I write, the Telit Communications (TCM) share price at 120p is trading close to its lows as next Wednesday looms. This is the date that the acquisition of its auto division by TUS International, postponed twice already, is “expected” to complete…
I wrote about Flybe (FLYB) last week when the shares were trading at 3p and suggested that, borrow permitting, they should be shorted as:
As I have pointed out before, when a company’s management tells you that it is bust it pays to believe them. Last month I recommended shorting Flybe (FLYB) at 15p on the basis that although the statement in November, putting itself up for sale, had not used the word “worthless” to describe its equity, it was clear that any bid for the debt-laden company was not going to leave anything more than a token amount for shareholders.
My 2018 bear tip at the UK investor show was Tesla so apologies for that. It is ,however, rather looking like the ten year bull market may be coming to an end and stocks that are vulnerable are over leveraged names with refinancings coming due and crazy valuations. So I am going to stick my neck out and predict that 2019 is the year that Musk finally gets his comeuppance. The shares are now $317.
Petropavlovsk (POG) has updated that the first stage of its plan to reduce its guarantee for 31.1% owned IRC Limited is completed and that “with the twin events of concluding the restructuring of the IRC Facility, and with the successful ongoing ramp up of Petropavlovsk's Pressure Oxidation Hub, the company is poised to generate returns for its stakeholders in 2019 and beyond”…
Well the next disaster set to strike Neil Woodford looks to be Kier Group (KIE) again, for he appears to be caught between a rock and a hard place. We know that the rights issue was announced on 30 November and that Neil was on the hook for around £37 million from that. Yet as the shares crashed on the news, Woody was buying yet more, increasing his stake from 14.12% to 15.4% (15 million shares) by 4 December. But the shares now trade below the rights offer price. Uh-oh!
Shares in fully-listed Interserve (IRV) had a bad week last week, tumbling to a new low point of just 27.5p, which makes my sell call at around £1 look like an act of pure genius. Having suffered something of a tremor following a BBC report that there were plans to tap shareholders up to sort out its balance sheet – which looked a little unlikely given the (then) market cap of around £50 million and debts of around £600 million without a massive debt-for-equity swap – the shares recovered some temporary poise on a Statement following recent press coverage which failed to mention the issue.
It has been pointed out to me recently that an article I wrote last month on Versarien (VRS) has been the subject of some debate on twitter. My offending sentence was:
I hinted at the short case for Accesso Technology (ACSO) a few weeks ago HERE. What follows is a far, far more detailed proposition as to why this stock is grotesquely overvalued. At 1,880p, the market cap is £512 million...
Reading the interims of First Derivatives (FDP), purveyors of smoke and mirrors to the gullible analyst community, the questions continue to stack up.
It could be that the current market turbulence is no more than an entry point for easily the most successful investment strategy of the last ten years: BTFD (Buy the Fucking dips) but I sense that this time we might be about to discover who has been swimming without trunks.
It could be that the current market turbulence is no more than an entry point for easily the most successful investment strategy of the last ten years: BTFD (Buy the fucking dips) but I sense that this time we might be about to discover who has been swimming without trunks.
In this two part series I shall explain why the valuation of Accesso Technology (ACSO) is quite simply insane. At £29.20 the market cap on the AIM Casino is £791.2 million. That is bonkers. In part two I shall look at the “interesting” way it generates profits and its dire cash generation. But let us start with sales growth for this is valued as a mega growth stock.
A couple of months on from the well-received annual results of Versarien (VRS) on 19 July, the share price has risen to even higher levels from when I initiated coverage (HERE), now valuing the graphene part of the business at well over £200 million so I thought I’d pose a simple question to CEO Neill Ricketts – how are those collaborations coming along?
I don’t propose to dwell on Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) today as it is in danger of becoming an obsession to me, as to many others. Suffice it to say that what was shaping up to be a pretty disastrous trade is looking a lot less serious and it is now clear that Musk’s claim to have funding secured for a take-private deal at $420 per share was wide of the mark to put it mildly.
On Thursday, shares in Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) rose to levels not seen since June, as the market reacted favourably to its Q2 numbers and the subsequent earnings call.
It is easy to dismiss Versarien (VRS) as just another overhyped AIM stock but, as today’s results show, that does not do it justice. It is currently in a class of its own. In fact, I would say you have to go back more than a decade to Pursuit Dynamics to find something with a valuation, pound for pound, as unhinged as this one.
Prelims from Purplebricks (PURP), announced on Thursday, did nothing to persuade me that the shares are not an outstanding short.
Purplebricks (PURP) is due to report its results for the year to April 30th next Thursday and has promised more detailed guidance than that which was given at the time of the Axel Springer investment in March.
Shoe Zone (SHOE) has announced results from “a good first half” ended 31st March 2019 and “trading momentum has continued into the second half, in line with expectations for the full year”…
Kosovo and the Balkans region marble quarrier Fox Marble (FOX) has announced 2017 results, including that “sales have been lower than expected” but that it “has made important progress over the year… Our factory in Kosovo is now fully operational, we have entered into a number of promising sales agreements, and we are beginning to see momentum building in the demand for our marble”…
As I write, Tesla (US - TSLA) at $305 has regained the level at which it was trading on Thursday when Musk lost the plot on the Q1 conference call, causing the price to drop 7% in minutes.
Having been recommended at a 125p offer price in June and following a recent AGM update, shares in Mpac Group (MPAC), then Molins plc, are now comfortably above 200p...
Shares in Purplebricks (PURP) have had a good run of late, hitting 355p the other day, just a fraction shy of the price at which the German firm Axel Springer invested £125 million on the 26th of last month. Don't lose heart my fellow bears...
“Let bygones be bygones” is an extremely dangerous sentiment when it comes to investing and invariably leads to regret and recriminations. It is certainly the wrong sentiment for regulators. It was apparent last year in Telit Communications (TCM), which was given a relatively easy ride by the market after it emerged that its founder and CEO, Uzi Katz, was a fraudster and fugitive from justice.
In January I wrote that Tesla’s luck might be running out and suggested selling at $310 with a sub $100 target by Christmas. Having traded higher for most of February the shares closed last night at $254 where it is still massively overvalued at $43 billion.
When a company issues an RNS which involves an unnamed third party, investors should run for the hills. In the case of BNN Technology this is problematic as the shares have been de-listed from AIM because the last NOMAD Strand Hanson resigned and no one else was prepared to take it on (not a good sign when you consider the depths that most NOMADs are prepared to plumb for ready money).
Paul Scott is having a go at me on twitter and on the comments section here - which I publish as I believe in free speech - but I put him straight on what research means and why he is - not for the first time - applying a double standard. Come on old boy - be fair and look at the actual facts. Then I look at Vela (VELA) and what its share price says about sentiment on the AIM Casino. En passant I cover the dog Arian (AGQ) Finally a detailed look at Countrywide (CWD) - dire statement today - and where that leaves Purplebricks (PURP). Which is the bigger short? A tweet from Scott is below:
I see that today’s Telegraph is reporting that Emerald Investment Partners (and the man behind it, Alan McIntosh) in emerging as a key player in the refinancing discussion of fully-listed Interserve (IRV). We are told that Emerald has pledged to back the refinancing, which is very good news. The last thing we want to see is another Carillion-style collapse.
Hello, Share Chewers. I bought many of my IQE (IQE) shares at around 20p. I saw them rise to 140p. But after reading disparaging comments by Uncle Tom, I sold three-quarters of the holding. Sadly, the remaining quarter fell to 104p a few weeks ago.
Last year I was involved in two rollercoaster rides, UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) and Cloudtag (CTAG). Having called UK Oil a sell at 3.1p, I saw it go to 11p. As I write it is sub 3p. In July when it was around 6p I used a WW2 analogy and suggested that the army of bulls had reached Stalingrad. To continue the theme it is looking like Berlin is all but surrounded.
I have been taking a look through the FCA table of registered short positions, following my piece on Interserve of Friday. I don’t offer anything exhaustive, but the largest individual short positions interested me as they are as high as 5.42% of the capital. That’s quite a bet. Oh, and just as it happens, Neil Woodford features with two of them. They are also all stocks where we at ShareProphets have been bearish.
I noted yesterday that shares in fully-listed Interserve (IRV) seemed to be in free fall. At time of writing they were down 15% and they dropped further at the close. There was no RNS, nor any news I could find. Following a spot of digging, the FCA spreadsheet of net short positions shows a spot of recent activity: why?
It being the weekend, I thought I would take a break from stock specifics and make a few observations about a brilliant film that I watched recently on Netflix that I would recommend to anyone interested in investing, and particularly short-selling, as it tells the fascinating true story of Bill Ackman’s costly billion dollar short against alleged pyramid scheme, Herbalife (NYSE: HLF).
The current exuberant mood of the market has thrown up some great opportunities for bears as well as bulls on AIM recently. But for bears they are not for the faint hearted. Timing is particularly difficult when shorting rubbish and, particularly in these times, it pays to drip feed into a position and to maintain plenty of margin. Even then it is not unusual for a stock to double against you as happened to me recently with Online Blockchain (OBC)
I was a little surprised by the abuse I copped from recommending Versarien (VRS) as a short at 80p last week. I had failed to spot that it now regularly occupies second place in the ADVFN bulletin board rankings behind charlatan oil promotion UK Oil & Gas (UKOG). (Thankfully I have heard that rumours of a name change to UK Oil and Blockchain are wide of the mark).
Advanced materials engineering group Versarien (VRS) floated on AIM at 12.5p around four years ago. Its plan then was to commercialise a process called Lost Carbonate Sintering, the brainchild of a Dr. Zhao of the university of Liverpool. More recently it appears to have shifted its focus to graphene products.
I note the comments made by Cynical Bear as he analysed the stonking collapse in the shares of AIM-listed Tern (TERN) and wondered if this would be the worst ever example of the death spiral. It seemed that there was little untoward in the disclosed details of the funding package, but there is one omission which leaves me thinking that the collapse is set to continue.
The fortunes of London’s two most shorted companies, Carillion (CLLN) and Ocado (OCDO) have differed sharply of late.
I had to smile this week as both Aberdeenman and Neil Woodford published blogs dealing with their investment elephants in the room namely Nuformix (NFX) and Prothena (NSDQ: PRTA) respectively. Worryingly, it was hard to tell the difference between arguably the finest stock-picker in the UK of the last twenty years and the Scottish market-abusing LSE, Twitter and blogger loon!
Finally the truth is beginning to emerge at the London-listed, Israeli-based Internet-Of-Things fraud Telit Comunications (TCM) - one of my top three shorts along with Purplebricks (PURP) and UK Oil & Gas (UKOG).
I suggested last week that the time had come for oil stock promotion UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) to come clean about its financial position and update the market on where it stood on its flow testing at Broadford Bridge. I suggested the shares were a sure fire short at 4.6p.
I have to take my hat off to UK Oil & Gas (UKOG). It has kept the show on the road for far longer than is customary with these types of promotes and seems to have cemented its position as the nations’ favourite oil tiddler after the long reign of Gulf Keystone (GKP) in the good old days of "The Tod squad".
One of ex-fraudster Sam Antar’s golden rules for companies committing fraud is never to respond to criticism. Telit Communications (TCM), the Israel-based Internet of Things fraud, broke this rule yesterday by rushing out a badly worded rebuttal to a Sky News story which stated that the FCA had begun making enquiries into events at the company.
Last night at 5.25pm Nyota Minerals (NYO) announced that its shares were being booted off the AIM casino. The roll call of shame on this one is appalling. We have AIM Regulation, broker Peterhouse and the directors of the company seemingly all at fault here, not to mention former Nomad Beaumont Cornish and two further Nomads, ZAI Corporate Finance and Allenby being dragged in. It is a true horror show. But rather than look in the mirror, the directors pointed the finger at ShareProphets – blame the media, the investigative journalists, blame evil Tom Winnifrith and myself, Nigel Somerville. This is shocking.
From the FCA's spreadsheet of short positions required to be disclosed to it, the following shows the shorted AIM shares with positions from 2016 and thus far in 2017 (by net short position %) - and if this position has increased (red), reduced (green) or remained unchanged (black) since last week...