Monday, March 14, 2011

What if you can't?

That question in the title could be in response to a standard investment assertion, "You need to do your own work."

CCME looks like a fraud.  (Roddy Boyd did some great work here.)  It might not be a fraud, but I met with the company in late 2009 and it had a certain toogoodtobetrue feeling to it.  There is more bad news out today.

On the face of it, this play on Chinese in-transit advertising could have been a great investment.  The growth rates and returns were fabulous.  The stock wasn't that expensive, there was a liquid ADR which made buying this no more difficult than buying shares in Microsoft.  Now the stock, which has been halted since last week, looks like it may have made $400+ million in market cap vanish.

The guy getting credit for revealing the fraud actually did a lot of work that is not remotely possible for the average retail investor, or even the extraordinary retail investor, including going to China to meet the company.  Fast-growing China plays are still very much a hot area.  Investing in them as an individual requires an extra dose of caution, and a smaller position, if doing so when you're not in a position to ascertain whether there's any there there.

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