Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goldman Sachs vs. the First Solar Bears: "First ya tree 'em, then ya kill 'em" (FSLR)

In early pre-market trade the stock is down $1.32 at $155.08.

Hunting bears with dogs is a nasty little blood sport. The dog pack attacks the bear until it is chased up a tree.
Then with the pack baying and barking the hunters take potshots at the bear, no more than 10-15 yards up the tree, point-blank with a rifle, until the bear falls out of the tree, usually still alive, and the pack sets in on it.

There seems to be a similar fate in store for the bearish short sellers of First Solar.
FSLR is the most shorted of the S&P 500 stocks with 29.4% of its float sold short. Here's Bespoke's list of the largest short interests in the S&P 1500 (incl. the midcap 400 and the smallcap 600), FSLR is 11th on the list.

Eyewitness accounts* of Pickett's charge on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg say a moan went up from the massed Confederates when the Union troops finally fired on the advancing rebs.

There was something similar from the ranks of the FSLR shorts yesterday. When the stock hit and closed at a new 52-week high yesterday one fact was inescapable: Every short position laid on in the last year was underwater.

I don't know about others but for me the pain threshold is getting close when a short goes 2% against me. The buying we've seen over the last two weeks and especially the $8.99 uptick on triple average volume yesterday was just the artillery barrage, now things could get awful for the shorts, with Goldman Sachs playing the role of the Union infantry.
Gettysburg was the price the South paid for having Lee. The first day's fighting was so encouraging, and on the second day's fighting he came within an inch of doing it. And by that time Longstreet said Lee's blood was up, and Longstreet said when Lee's blood was up there was no stopping him... And that was that mistake he made, the mistake of all mistakes. 
Pickett's charge was an incredible mistake, and there was scarcely a trained soldier who didn't know it was a mistake at the time, except possibly Pickett himself, who was very happy he had a chance for glory.
...William Faulkner, in "Intruder in the Dust", said that for every southern boy, it's always within his reach to imagine it being one o'clock on an early July day in 1863, the guns are laid, the troops are lined up, the flags are out of their cases and ready to be unfurled, but it hasn't happened yet. And he can go back in his mind to the time before the war was going to be lost and he can always have that moment for himself. 
-Shelby Foote in Ken Burns' "The Civil War"
Kinda makes this stock market stuff seem a bit sordid in comparison. 
*"They were at once enveloped in a dense cloud of smoke and dust. Arms, heads, blankets, guns and knapsacks were thrown and tossed in to the clear air. ... A moan went up from the field, distinctly to be heard amid the storm of battle."
-Lt. Col. Franklin Sawyer, 8th Ohio