Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams

Kind of Slimy

Found an interesting new blog called Sharesleuth -- no link. I'll tell you why.

The purpose of this weblog is to investigate public companies in the "pink sheets" that are not doing as well as they say -- publish the results and then sell them short before publishing the report -- in other words, it's a scheme to drive down share prices to make money for the owner of the weblog.

UPDATE: As a result of the emails, here, in PDF form, is the first report. Look it over yourself. Look at the "conflict of interest" statement. Realize that what he is attempting to do is induce panic selling so that the price drops, and he can buy shares to make up his short position cheaply (see link on selling short, above).

Final Note: On his most recent update on the same company, it now says that he owns no shares: his short position has been covered. For those wondering about the arithmetic, the date of his original post was 7 Aug., and the update is 23 Aug. On Aug. 7, the close was $6.91 per share, and on Aug. 23, the close was $5.20 per share: the spread is $1.71, for a percentage change (someone else's loss), of 24.7%. Not a bad return for some paragraphs on a website. But, and here's the interesting note: in the meantime, the company has reported on second quarter activities, entering into other agreements, appearing to be doing something (they sold 1.3 million gallons of ethanol, which means they may not be just a paper fraud, unless Mr. Cuban also wants to say that the sales didn't exist -- the original article might be able to still say "But a investigation found no evidence that Xethanol (XNL: AMEX) has produced significant quantities of ethanol from those raw materials.", but we'd have to find out what "significant quantities" were, and why they were significant). And other financial journalists are catching on to the problem.

And here's the point for me: after all this, I don't know whether XNL would be, or would not be, a good company. In other words, net gain of knowledge from this website: zero.

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