US Markets

Jim Chanos: Why I'm still short Alibaba

Jim Chanos betting against China
Jim Chanos betting against China

Noted short-seller Jim Chanos is still betting against Alibaba, he told CNBC on Wednesday.

Chanos, the Kynikos Associates founder, has previously taken a bearish stance on the Chinese economy and companies exposed to it. He said he has "real questions" about financial metrics and cash flow for Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.

"We just don't see how profitable or unprofitable that business is," he told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report" from the Sohn Investment Conference in New York.

(To watch the full Chanos interview, click here.)

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Chanos, who added that he suspects Alibaba is unprofitable, did not say how large his position is. Alibaba's U.S.-traded shares were slightly lower Wednesday.

Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company is set to report results for its quarter ended March 31 on Thursday. For the previous quarter, the company said it had diluted earnings per share of 76 cents, an increase of about 114 percent from the prior-year period.

Chanos remains pessimistic on China overall, saying it "is the gift that keeps on giving on the short side." He argued that China has started to re-inflate its real estate market.

Chanos said he is "probably interested" in companies dependent on China and with a negative free cash flow.

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He also doubled down on his criticism of companies linked to Elon Musk. Chanos said he remains short both Tesla Motors and SolarCity.

"We have all kinds of questions on the profitability of the business," he said.

Tesla shares fell about 4 percent Wednesday, fueled by news that two key executives will leave the company. Tesla and SolarCity did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Chanos also said he is still short embattled drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The company, dealing with financial questions and leadership changes, has seen its shares fall 66 percent this year.

Pershing Square's Bill Ackman, among others, has repeatedly supported the company and touted its prospects for a turnaround.

Chanos said investors are trying to "bottom fish" the stock.

Valeant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Reuters and CNBC's Seema Mody and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.