Sunday, April 15, 2012

Controlling For Volatility By Shorting Losers

The Jaded Consumer has a new article at Seeking Alpha that looks at how to control the effect on one's portfolio of a volatile holding like Apple by shorting a competitor that will do worse than it over time (but will be blown about in the same winds that make unhedged long positions frightening). Investing Long/Short To Manage Volatility in Apple follows Investing In Smartphone Failures, which looks at Research In Motion and Nokia as illustrations of companies that might make a good short to pair against an investment in Apple. The articles seek to explain the reason one might want to enter a long/short in the first place, and form a sort of a prequel to the article on why the AAPL/RIMM long/short is attractive.

Other articles take a longer look at Research In Motion's potential and its long-term risks. Eventually, when RIMM's investor constituency stops pricing the firm as if it has enterprise value and won't simply squander the resources its management holds for investors, RIMM will stop being an attractive short. Then, maybe we take a look at Nokia. If Dell becomes a large enough force in smartphones, we can revisit whether it's become a services company or is still a low-margin commodity vendor with no moat.

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