Good morning! Apologies for being a bit late today - this was due to having several too many sweet sherries last night with one of my brokers, who kindly ventured down to Hove for our annual Christmas dinner. I do believe in getting my money's worth, so no turn was left unstoned!

We actually got thrown out of the Pub, for "slurring too loudly", and audibly swearing. We contested this summary justice, as we were the only people in the Bar, but the Manager's decision was final unfortunately. It was probably for the best.

 

So it's an unusually brisk canter through this morning's results, and there are thankfully very few published today. I've noticed that a lot of highly rated, speculative stocks have really come down to earth (or part of the way anyway) in the last couple of weeks. I tried to get a borrow on WANdisco (LON:WAND) (as reported on Twitter on 3 Dec) in order to short it at 1524p, but unfortunately my broker was not able to find any stock for me to short against. Pity, as it's dropped to 1215p (down 20%) in the last fortnight. The valuation still looks bonkers to me, at nearly £300m. Turnover is growing, but so are losses, so the market cap looks wrong by a factor of more than ten to me. Although I don't understand what they do - I only look at the figures.

The convention here is that I won't mention stocks that I have actually shorted, as apparently it upsets some readers too much - who haven't grapsed that anyone is perfectly entitled to go long or short, and that shorting is an essential part of a healthy market, as it keeps a lid on speculative valuations, and thus pricks bubbles as they form.

That said, shorting is not something I generally do, as timing is everything, and if a share price is already wrong by several hundred percent, there is little to stop it getting even more wrong - just look at the TMT lunacy of 1999-2000, where £trillions of wealth was spuriously created out of thin air, and then vanished again during 2000-2002 when the bubble burst in Mar 2000. I'm hearing a lot of echoes of that period right now actually, so am treating those sounds as a warning to be careful, and…

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