A tip – and a warning – from SA’s hottest stock market fund manager

I got to share the Momentum Investment Summit podium yesterday with hot money management firm 36One’s co-founder Cy Jacobs. As 36One keeps outperforming, Cy’s own reputation continues to soar. He has become the closest I’ve seen to the late Simon Marais, erstwhile chairman of Allan Gray. Cy keeps a low profile, so being able to question him on a public platform is a rare privilege.

At the same event in June last year, Cy told us 36One had a big short position in the ill-fated Abil (ie sold shares it did not own). After Abil’s demise, his colleague Jean Pierre Verster revealed the firm’s hedge fund made a profit of R100m on this view.

This time Cy wouldn’t be drawn on a single stock to sell, but did say he is negative on SA Inc – especially consumer-facing businesses exposed to the local market. And he’s still staying far away from shares in resources companies.

On the upside, Jacobs believes despite its stratospheric surge, media group Naspers remains “heavily undervalued”. Last year he picked Pinnacle Computer as the share most likely to rise, after its price had been smashed in a corruption scandal. Pinnacle then traded at R12. It is still available today at R12. A suggestion, perhaps, that it is worth taking a good hard look at this fallen angel?

From Biznews community member Barry Brown

My mother came to RSA to live with our family when she was over 70. Within weeks she told me South Africa is not a country. People here, White and Black are too full of me, and little of we. She had lived in England through 2 world wars. 1 as a child but the 2nd as a nurse. She saw many men die. Her husband she married in 1942. He had returned after 15 years in USA/Canada to join up. Remember if you joined the Army you had a 10% chance of survival. In the Navy at best 20%. In the RAF 50%. Call up or joining was bad for you, and bad for me. But it was good for the country. That is where she was coming from. “Good for the country.” Blood, sweat and tears! I guess she would think “Party first” would have been close to treason! Certainly in War.

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