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How Hedge Funds Short Stocks: 4 Ways to Find Short Stock Ideas

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Pokemon Go’s popularity exploded like a firestorm. The mobile hit leapfrogged Twitter in active users in just days after launch, and Nintendo’s stock price has risen 57% since. Expectations of further monetizing Nintendo characters are high. But let’s think about the reverse – could Nintendo be a prime example of how to short stocks?

Are the lofty expectations for Nintendo realistic, or is there irrational exuberance?

Pokemon Go is certainly not the first mobile game with high expectations, and it won’t be the last either. In 2013, a Japanese game developer called Gungho Entertainment released Dungeons and Dragons, wich monopolized mobile usage among Japanese teenagers. Gungho’s stock skyrocketed 2100% in just 5 months.

But as the game waned, Gungho’s stock price has dropped 80% since. And before Dungeons and Dragons, there was Farmville. A similar story played out with its developer Zynga.

Each case is different. Whether history would repeat itself in Pokemon Go is up for debate. But irrational exuberance is certainly one of the central themes in developing a short stock pitch.

Good advice on how to short a stock is notoriously difficult to find. There are a plethora of volumes written on finding undervalued investments to go long. But what would make a good short stock idea? Is identifying unrealistic hype simply enough?

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