Ignore the China bears, says at least one prominent investor.
Jon Carnes, aka famous China short seller Alfred Little, is back. Writing as analyst Alfred Little, Carnes has been hunting for opportunities to short suspect Chinese stocks since 2009, and has met with notable success in his endeavors.
That’s why many people were surprised when Carnes announced this week he is now bullish on Chinese stock markets, and anticipates an 111% increase for the Shanghai Composite Index over the next couple of quarters. Carnes newfound optimism in Chinese stocks is all the more surprising as it comes at a time when most equities analysts and money managers are betting against China, worried by bubbly valuations and constant government intervention to prop up share prices after a $4 trillion mini-crash a few weeks ago.
Jon Carnes / Alfred Little says recent China correction is a “buying opportunity”
Carnes says his bull case for China is simple — the huge surge to a seven-year high in the markets this spring and summer caught most Chinese investors by surprise, and they will not miss this “buying opportunity.” He notes that In a country where household wealth topped $21 trillion last year, only around 10% of the people own stocks.
“A lot of people missed out on the bull market,” Carnes said in a recent phone interview with Bloomberg. “This violent correction is a huge buying opportunity for them.”
More on Carnes
Carnes’ investment career began two decades ago with a mere $3,000 of savings from a part-time job, and he has been researching Chinese firms for more than 10 years now. Six years ago Carnes began looking at short-sale opportunities in firms he suspected of cooking their books to boost profits.
Given Chinese authorities dislike of short sellers, Carnes decided to develop a fake online identity. He came up with Alfred Little, and used that pseudonym to publicize his short picks.
He was in the right place at the right time. In fact, Carnes was ranked first of 28 short sellers last year tracked by Activist Shorts. Of note, eight Chinese firms he made public short bets against have since de-listed or seen fraud charges filed.
That said, his exposing of corporate fraud made him a number of enemies along the way. He decided to leave China after he received threats of violence back in late 2011.
Shortly thereafter, authorities charged his Chinese-born colleague, Kun Huang, with defamation and Huang served two years in prison in China.
The false Alfred Little identity also led to fraud allegations by Canadian securities regulators, but Carnes saw the charges dismissed earlier this summer.