Macquarie Bank shares soared today despite supposedly influential US stock picker Jim Cramer devoting his entire 6-minute sell segment on CNBC last Friday to the Millionaire Factory.
This fact alone was enough to generate this story on the US owner-driver truckies website, which is campaigning against Macquarie’s voracious appetite for American tollroads.
Cramer was himself bouncing off Enron whistle-blower Bethany McLean’s recent MacBank feature in Fortune magazine, which itself borrowed plenty of material from Edward Chancellor’s cracking 5,000-word Breakingviews.com feature back in May.
Adam Schwab correctly pointed out in Crikey on September 27 that McLean didn’t add much to Chancellor, although she was given access to all the key Macquarie personnel.
These things tend to feed on themselves because The Sunday Observer then weighed in last week with a rehash of Fortune’s arguments taking a British bent and Macquarie was quick to hit back with a brief letter to the editor yesterday.
While Fairfax has largely left Macquarie alone in recent months, The Australian is fighting them with all guns blazing over a defamation dispute and even The Monthly wheeled out Gideon Haigh to produce this excellent hard-hitting cover story in July.
Throw in the credit crunch and it’s clear that Macquarie has had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at it this year. Not only is it still standing – the machine is powering ahead with ever higher profits.
Macquarie Fortress, which was supposed to be the bank’s brush with sub-prime contagion, paid me a $21.37 distribution last month – close to the highest regular distribution I’ve received all year on my 440-plus $500 investments.
Notorious short-seller Jim Chanos first revealed Macquarie as a great shorting opportunity at a big hedge fund conference in New York on 23 May.
This was just as the shares were reaching a record high of $98.64 and it was good advice if you then covered the position as the stock plunge to a low of $64 on August 16. An American shorter would also have made a currency gain given the Aussie dollar briefly fell below US78c on August 16.
However, it has been all one way traffic since then as Macquarie has emerged apparently bullet proof – its reputation for risk management enhanced whilst the Wall Street giants stumble.
The Aussie dollar has risen from US83c in May to US90c today and Macquarie shares today bounced another $1.45 to $87.40. Chanos is now doing his shirt, despite the best efforts of his media mates Chancellor, McLean and Cramer.