Poor Jim Chanos. The man who has made headlines in recent years for his strident bearish call on China has run out of stuff to short.
His latest suggestion is to short New York-listed Chinese stocks – if only he could get his hands on them. Other people, it seems, have got there first.
Chanos sees shorting US-listed China stocks as a great way to broaden his wider bet against China as a whole. Bloomberg reports:
“Almost all of them have odd looking financial statements,” Chanos, the president and founder of New York-based Kynikos Associates LP, said on Bloomberg Television yesterday. “We wish we could borrow almost all of them.”
But that’s easier said than done – with some stocks seemingly impossible to get hold of in order to sell/short them. More from Bloomberg:
Renren Inc., a Beijing-based social-networking company that went public in the U.S. earlier this month, is among the most expensive U.S. equities to short. The stock is difficult to borrow with 72 percent of the lendable supply out on loan, according to Data Explorers, a New York-based research firm.
Short sellers have borrowed 96 percent of Beijing-based China Shen Zhou Mining & Resources Inc. (SHZ)’s lendable supply, meaning there is almost no equity available for short sellers to bet against. Its shares are also among the most expensive for short-sellers to borrow according to Data Explorers.
It’s easy to see why. Aside from the growing concerns over financial statements, as highlighted by the SEC probe launched this week into Longtop, the stocks in many cases just aren’t that attractive.
Of 453 US-listed Chinese stocks, only 7 of them have ever paid a dividend. Of that same list, only 265 have a booked a dime of profit, while many of them have seen their share price fall off a cliff this year.
Some of those that haven’t are trading at eerily high multiples. Baidu (BIDU:NSQ) – China’s Google – trades at 71 times this years earnings, while Sina (SINA:NSQ) – other internet portal – trades at 132 times earnings. And then there’s elong (LONG:NMQ) – the travel website – which, despite its impressive growth prospects, already trades at a nose-bleed-inducing altitude of 246 times earnings.
Which raises the question: what took Chanos so long?