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.