Hedge-fund heavyweight Jim Chanos, head of $6.7 billion Kynikos Associates, the world's largest short-selling fund, gave his current list of favorite shorts to investors at the seventh annual Value Investing Congress in New York.
Chanos's top shorts:
Chanos calls it a "slow value leak in an era of rising production costs."
Exxon has "very quickly gone from net cash to net debt," says Chanos.
He predicts industry production costs will rise from $5 to $15 per barrel on average, and more for the national oil companies.
A popular stock with value investors, Gamestop is a good short, says Chanos. He says the industry business model is being destroyed by digital distribution, as the cost of transmitting and storing information drops to zero.
For-Profit Education Sector
The business model is under increasing pressure and is 90 percent subsidized by federal loans, says Chanos. He called it "a national shame" where degrees are not earned, but "sold and marketed."
Agricultural Bank of China
It's China's biggest lender. Chinese state banks' lending sprees are now three years strong and off-balance sheet lending by the banks is "only adding fuel to the fire," according to Chanos. "I can't overstate how leveraged Chinese banks are," he said.
Chanos shared his general rule that if he couldn't understand what a company does after three readings of its 10K, he opens a file on it.
"But you guys should run the other way," he joked to the roomful of value investors.