Seeking Alpha has a popular podcast called Behind the Idea. They recently interviewed Wall Street Hedge Fund Manager Sahm Adrangi who is well-known as a trader that often takes short positions on publically traded firms. On this podcast, they asked about his recent short idea and what types of advanced techniques he and his team at Kerrisdale Capital Management take when it comes to shorting stocks.
There’s been a lot of talk during this long bull market that hedge funds are out of style. The trend is towards index investing where you just own the whole market. Others espouse strategies such as quant or other mechanical approaches to investing. However, as Sahm Adrangi shows there is still plenty of room for a manager who analyzes stocks and companies and then selects among them. He says that he hasn’t had too much difficulty investing long in good stocks and shorting companies that he sees as not delivering.
One of the companies who stock Sahm Adrangi recently shorted is Proteostasis (PTI). He and his analysts went over this firm’s Phase 2 data for their lead drug candidate and saw some big issues with it. This company is trying to develop a drug candidate to treat cystic fibrosis. The lead drug candidate, PTI-428, claimed there was a 5.2 percent increase in lung performance shown in their latest clinical trial. He said this was nonsense and the drug barely did better than a placebo.
The Behind the Idea podcast series also talked about another one of his shorts which was St. Joe. This is a Florida land developer that owns a huge tract of land. The long-time plan for this land is to build a giant residential and commercial development. Sahm Adrangi looked into this land and found out it is desolate swamp land in the middle of nowhere. He says there is absolutely no viable way St. Joe’s plan for this land is going to ever be realized. He said that St. Joe was valued at $1 billion with much of that value based on this land. He sees St. Joe as being nowhere worth that amount of money.
Shervin Pishevar used social media to express the deep concerns he has about the US economic situation in February 2018. He tweeted 50 points in 21 hours addressing immigration, bitcoin, bonds, and more. He had some grim predictions for the stock market, big US companies, and big funds.
The last time Shervin Pishevar used Twitter, he announced that he would be resigning from Sherpa Capital. This is a venture capital fund that invested in Munchery, Uber, and Airbnb. He got his start in the Silicon Valley area and has seeded at least 60 companies. He has been recognized for some of his work, even being awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in the year 2016.
One of the concerns that Shervin Pishevar expressed in his Twitter rant had to do with Silicon Valley no longer being the modern Rome that it once was. It has lost its exclusivity and no longer is the stronghold on ideas and talent. He mentioned that the US is building physical and cultural walls to keep immigrant talent out, but he says that this talent does not need to come to the US anymore. Entrepreneurship is a movement that has gone viral. One of the examples that he gives is of individuals in China building a train station in less than 10 hours.
He had particularly ominous predictions for the stock market, saying that he expected it to go down an aggregate 6,000 points in 2018. He also had dark predictions for big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. These big companies are able to buy out small startups, which is bad for the overall economy. He talks about how they should fall because that is the way evolution works.
Shervin Pishevar mentioned that currency is the ultimate app. An entrepreneur can raise capital in any way they want using any kind of currency. Since small companies can use unique capital, they can spur the economy onward. This means that governmental and financial institutions are facing a reckoning of irrelevance. The shift has to do with a revolution in stateless digital currencies. According to Shervin Pishevar, this will be unleashed over the next few decades.