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 GE’s stock? According to Statista.com, GE has 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 are 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 is 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 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, and 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 that how brave can you be when there is an opportunity which just appears right in front of you, right?

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Facebook Haters And Lovers Came Out In Droves On Facebook IPO Day

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facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

It’s easy to envy others who are wealthier than us, but when it comes down to the truth we too want to be just as wealthy or wealthier.  CNN has a piece, Surprise: The Internet hates rich people, which suggested that people were not happy about how their profiles and social interactions had become monetized and made many Facebook staffs and investors super wealthy.  I think the people who envied about the newfound fortune of Facebook staffs and investors were probably angry that they didn’t get a piece of the action — they are the contents and yet have got nothing from Facebook IPO (Initial Public Offering).  Obviously, it’s within our human nature to feel like that!  Obviously, Facebook has done nothing wrong to deserve such a scorn and envy, because it’s a company with a sole purpose of making the people who run and invest in the company wealthier.

Facebook IPO was happened during the trading time today, but after the market has closed the share price for Facebook stock is just 23 cents higher than its IPO share price which was at $38.  At $38.23 a share now, some people on CNBC news had reported that there were people who felt disappointed that Facebook stock wasn’t doubled on IPO debut.  Obviously, it might be that people were not so sure that Facebook could sustain the hype, and they might feel that Facebook stock was too overvalued.  In any case, the emotion was running high all day as people were either hate or love Facebook for its IPO debut.

I do think I might have an idea for the people who envy of the newfound fortune of Facebook staffs and investors, they can simply band together and create a competitive social platform (i.e., similar or better than Facebook) which will share whatever fortune derives from running such a social platform to all social members.  It’s just that they do have to convince businesses around the world to advertise with this particular social platform, and if the business takes off the social members within this particular social platform will reap the shared profits.  Perhaps, they can too have an IPO and all social members will share the profits from having a successful IPO (if the IPO is successful though).  Nonetheless, they have to address how much profits to be shared with new members and veteran members.  They might have to come up with a very complicate mathematical formula to distribute whatever profit there is to all of their social members, or else some people will definitely complain that they have not received the fair portion of the profit.

I don’t think we should hate Facebook staffs and investors for their newfound wealth that derived from Facebook IPO debut, because Facebook IPO debut followed a well accepted corporate structure in regarding to how a private company allowed itself to become a publicly trade company.  The people who hate to see Facebook becomes successful can always cancel their Facebook accounts.  Also, they can band together to create a social platform that allows sharing profit as to how I had described in a previous paragraph.

In regarding to the future of Facebook stock, I don’t think anyone will definitely know.  Facebook is a company that has a lot social members (as in 900 million users or more) and yet it cannot generate the level of revenues that people are expecting it would.  Furthermore, Facebook type of business is all about being excellent in retaining happy members, because unhappy members can always just leave Facebook for a competitor in matter of a second.  People can always leave Facebook for something better or newer or fresher.  In upcoming days, Facebook has to come out with services that are stickier than just allowing people to be connected and stay happy, because happiness can be very moody sometimes — as in I’m happy now, but how about a few minutes later?  Sure, people love to connect, and Facebook is good at this, but there will always be plenty of alternative social platforms and web services that are also excel at allowing people to feel socially.  Facebook future will have to rely on convincing its members that not only they have to be connected and stay happy within Facebook, but they also have to click onto Facebook ads and do whatever else that can generate the kind of revenue that Facebook shareholders have hoped for.