In The Face of Fraud Allegation Against GE by Harry Markopolos, Is It OK to Short GE's Stock?
Harry Markopolos came out with a damning report which suggests there are some irregularities with GE's accounting that have led him to believe GE is cooking the book. I haven't read his report and so I don't know the details, but this news has made many rounds in the mainstream media. Since the news broke, GE's share price has dropped a bit too. As I'm writing this, GE's share price is now $7.97 a share. Short interest in GE's stock is climbing too.
The big question is what is going on with GE that has led a famous fraud investigator Harry Markopolos to stake his reputation on a report that alleges GE is a fraud? Even if GE is cooking the book, do you want to be brave and short of GE's stock? According to Statista.com, GE employed about 283,000 people worldwide from 2005 to 2018. I don't know how many employees GE is currently employed though. With so many employees being employed by GE, will the government dare to throw GE under the bus even if the allegation may come true?
Whether the market is up or down, I think traders don't care because they can make money either way. They can buy into the bull and they can also short into the bear. With the current trade war atmosphere that is going on between the U.S. and China, the market is having a seizure. It behaves erratically. It could spike 300 points in a day or it could also plunge into the abyss such as down 700 points in a day for the Dow. In this current atmosphere, I can see the temptation for shorting GE stock since Harry Markopolos' report came out. Nonetheless, in this atmosphere, I could also see GE has a chance to weather the storm unless GE is unable to meet its financial obligations on all fronts.
GE is a veteran when it comes to weathering the storm since it's a 127 years old company. Nonetheless, nothing could last forever, and so GE could be on its last leg. You never know, right? As I mentioned GE is employing a lot of people, and so I'm wondering even though Harry Markopolos may be right about GE cooking the book -- GE could very well be cruising along just fine throughout this storm since it's a big company and may have the means to connect to the government and the right people to calm down the storm in coming days. When a big company like GE goes bankrupt, I could imagine a lot of people will lose their jobs. This could negatively affect the company's host country in a very big way!
As of writing this, I have not shorted GE's stock. I'm thinking about shorting GE's stock but fearing that Harry Markopolos' report won't affect GE's stock price that much. Harry Markopolos said it's impossible to make sense of GE's balance sheet, so I don't know how much sense for one to go to take a deep look at GE's balance sheet. Harry Markopolos is famous because he was very early in condemning Bernie Madoff for being a fraudster and he was proven to be very accurate. This man now stakes his reputation on GE is cooking the book, and he compares GE with Enron's scandal. I think when there is smoke, there may be a fire. It's just how brave can you be when there is an opportunity that just appears right in front of you, right?