Laurent Condon, a professional trader in France, won my short seller contest on Short Sellers Don’t Have Horns – his second victory in the annual contest.
Kondon previously won the competition in 2017-2018, and finished third the following year. He has also excelled in some of my other competitions.
In addition to the short-selling competition, I run a traditional stock-picking competition called Dorfman’s Three-Stock Derby, and an economic forecasting competition called the Derby of Economic Forecasting Talent, or DEFT.
Condon finished first and third in the traditional stock-picking contest, so he took honors in five of my contests—best bid of any.
So far, he has not won any prizes in the economic forecasting contest “As you know from my hilarious results in your DEFT contests, I have no clue about macroeconomics,” he wrote to me a few days ago.
Short sellers bet on stocks selected for the decline. They borrow shares and sell them. At some point, they have to buy it back, but if the price drops in the meantime, they win. Think of it as buying low and selling high, in reverse order.
Contestants in the most recent short-selling competition did remarkably well: all 16 participants chose a stock that went down. This is a feat never achieved before in the 19-year history of this competition.
The average return was around 56%, the second largest in the history of the competition. The biggest was 80% in September 2000-2001, when the bear market was raging.
The last competition ran from September 30, 2021 until September 9, 2022. A new competition will start soon. You are invited to play, whether or not you are short selling stocks in real life.
Condon made a 91% return on his short sale Camber power (CEI)which is great considering that most energy stocks have done well in the past year.
He said a year ago that Camper "has no profits, understatement of sales, and (and) poor management." The stock has rebounded, based on a press affair related to a "patented carbon capture system."
Condon felt this news was less than meets the eye. He said, "It seemed to me that management was more concerned with issuing press releases... than managing their business."
Camper also showed that Condon called the "explosive stock issue." When a company issues new shares, it usually dilutes the value of the old shares.
Now, one of his favorite shorts is MicroStrategy
. "Officially, this is a software company," he says. “But it is actually a very risky financial instrument, bitcoins on steroids, that is, bitcoins bought with debt. We are talking here about billions of dollars in debt.”
David Hillman, a retired attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada, took second place with an 88% gain from a short sale of Carvana (CNVA). Carvana sells used cars online, and delivers some from buildings that look like giant vending machines. Its debt is more than 15 times the company's net worth.
The Carvana was about $322 when Hellman entered the competition, and it's now about $322. Hellman believes the stock market will be "volatile and range-bound" over the next 12 months.
Derek Galbraith of Westmount, Quebec, Canada, placed third with an uncovered gain of 79%. Beyond the Middle EastR
Galbraith believes the market will be in a "wait mode" for two or three months as investors seek clarification on inflation. But he expects 2023 to be even better. "It's hard to see a bad recession when unemployment is historically low," he says.
you can play
You are warmly invited to enter my twentyThe tenth Annual short selling competition for short sellers who don't have horns. Pick a stock that you expect to drop a lot from September 30 of this year through September 8, 2023.
Entries should include your name, home city, phone number, email, and the name of the stock you think is stumbling. It must be in US stock. I'm not required to give your reasons, but I would appreciate it if you did.
You're not required to short the stock for real money, but it's okay if you do.
The first place holds a prize to be chosen at my discretion. Previous awards have included a short cake and an album by pianist Bobby Short. The second and third place do not hold any prize except glory.
Submit entries to [email protected] by midnight on September 30th. If you prefer old mail, write to John Dorfman, Dorfman Value Investments, Suite 1900, 101 Federal Street, Boston MA 02110.
Disclosure: The hedge fund I manage (and invest in) is short "Beyond Dead."