Investor's Champion Blog
Provides refreshingly forthright, independent comment on predominantly small cap companies and specialist investment funds. Informed opinion, based on first-hand research, but pulls no punches in exposing management weaknesses.

Evil Knievil – more like Idiot Knievil!

The great short trader Mr Cawkwell (or Evil Knievil as he is known) is probably suffering a bit today with the share price of one of his short calls, Debtmatters, having recovered somewhat. We are bound to hear more from him now as he attempts to drive the price back down again.

I participated in the float of Debtmatters at 65p so with the share price standing at 176p it’s still not a bad return over 18 months or so. Admittedly the shares have been up close to 400p and I have trimmed off a bit but I really can’t complain. I wonder when Mr Cawkwell started shorting?

I have noticed that Mr Cawkwell (or his so called diarist/publicist) only appears to come out when the market suits him. With shares prices having had a great run over the past couple of years short sellers have had a very tough time making money. It’s therefore surely no coincidence that we are beginning to hear from him again when certain pockets of the market are struggling. In practical terms I assume he will also close out any of his own short positions well before those private investors to whom he communicates his ideas.

I thought it might be an idea to do a little digging into Mr Cawkwell’s other great short tips from the past. The following make interesting reading:

‘For me Easyjet is an obvious sell…… 492p, it is on a fancy rating. Easyjet has 300p written all over it.'
Current share price 649p-oops that must have cost him!

'Hedge fund manager Man Group is my only short position in the FTSE 100 it’s capitalised at £2.5 billion. Conceivably this company might just find itself managing £15 billion of funds within the next 18 months although its high charges and somewhat patchy recent performance makes me sceptical…..with a following wind, Man might just be worth £1.5 billion.'
Current market cap of Man £10 billion with funds under management on 11th January $60 billion-that must have cost him dearly!

If he is indeed Britain’s ‘most feared bear trader’ I fear our nation’s investment skills our following the same course as our cricket team!


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