Saturday, March 5, 2011

Short Stocks Like David Einhorn?

Business Insider recently linked to an interview with David Einhorn in which he lays out how he short stocks--or at least how he did it in this past financial crisis. Here's the relevant section:

Interviewer: Okay. I guess I want you to continue to sort of chronologically in August of ’07, as you said you see BNP Paribas freeze redemptions and that gives concern and you’re talking to the rating agencies among other things and you’ve identified the type of companies that you had concerns about. Can you just sort of take us through chronologically through the end of ’07 and into ’08 and how things changed, if at all, for you folks?

David Einhorn: Yeah absolutely. So this is sometime in August, we put on a bunch of positions and our team here basically divided up the names for sort of further work cause we wanted to figure out which were the ones that were the most exposed. Whereas the initial couple dozen was ticked off relatively quickly over the course of a weekend, which is not our normal amount of time to [do] due diligence, but I felt that given what was going on, there may not be a lot of time. And so we began putting on those couple dozen positions a little faster than we ordinarily would if we were just researching an individual security.
So from there we began concentrating our work and trying to figure out well which were the better, more exposed companies and which were the less exposed companies and over the course of the next couple of months, we focused the list down and we covered a number of the shorts and we increased a number of the shorts as we focused on the people that we thought were most vulnerable.
In sum, Einhorn quickly shorted a group of businesses in an industry with problems, worked feverishly to differentiate the worst of that bunch from the best, and then covered his shorts or added to them accordingly. You can check out the rest of the interview at Santangel's Review.

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