Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Media pendulum swinging toward short sellers?

I was shocked, shocked, when I found two stories today outlining the constructive roles short sellers play in the market.

At, Susan Antilla, a Wall Street columnist for Bloomberg excoriates regulators and calls short sellers "important contributor(s) to keeping markets honest." Here are a couple of the many zingers in the article:
  • "With regulators taking a refreshing two-decade snooze, it’s now up to judges, plaintiffs’ attorneys, short sellers, bloggers and detectives to fill in for the somnolent stock cops."

  • "...regulators and whiny corporate executives often think the wise way to deal with shorts is to investigate them -- not the public companies they target for incompetence or cheating."
The New York Observer has a Q&A with Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates. He touches on Lehman, health care, politics, Goldman Sachs, among other topics. Some highlights:

  • "People thought [Lehman Bros.] were tough, no-nonsense guys. But we were saying, actually, they’re incredibly aggressive risk takers with a wide berth for what they consider the truth."

  • "Putting more and more money into housing and keeping us healthy in our golden years doesn’t necessarily make us a more productive society. We should be devoting more of that money to technology and education."
Is the media pendulum really swinging toward understanding how short sellers work? Not yet, but people are beginning to realize that there is an important function for contrarians in the market.

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