From yesterday’s Lombard column in FT
Bearish hedgies have confined themselves to shorting shares in Asia-focused fund managers …
Crispin Odey is chief among Mayfair’s prophets of doom. The pioneering hedge fund manager expects collapsing eastern markets to tip the world back into recession. He has accordingly sold 6.4 per cent of Ashmore and 1.5 per cent of Aberdeen in expectation of their shares dropping. About 16 per cent and 8.6 per cent of these fund managers’ free floats have been sold short, according to Markit.
,,, Aberdeen, for example, is a skilled Asian fund manager in the view of pundit Mark Dampier of Hargreaves Lansdown. Short sellers probably just think Martin Gilbert’s group specialises in a product so dangerous that it would be transported in lead-lined vessels if it were a physical commodity.
Shares in asset managers offer geared exposure to the markets in which they specialise. Their overheads stay the same, at least temporarily, even as their assets balloon or deflate in response to fluctuating stock prices and fund flows. Bears are presumably shorting Asian stock index futures too, though less visibly.
If the bears are right, Khong and Blackstone may have to wait to receive their rewards from Sentosa
“Blackstone seems to look for distressed assets and deep value,” said Vikrant Pandey, an analyst with UOB Kay-Hian Pte in Singapore. “In the U.S. it lapped up mass market apartments for their rental yields and deep value. In Singapore the luxury segment is offering deep value compared to mass market.”