Soros Is Brilliant, but Don't Get Left Holding the Herbalife Bag

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Six months ago, many of us were in scratching our collective heads wondering what Bill Ackman was thinking when he so aggressively (and poorly, I might add) attacked Herbalife (HLF).

If you haven't already read Ackman's presentation, you can find it, with slides, at factsaboutherbalife.com. Not only did I find it utterly unconvincing, I found most of the same arguments Ackman used just as easily be applied towards any business venture and or sales positions.

Despite the presentation having more fluff than sustenance, investors dumped shares faster than Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff, and investors' emotions were on full-tilt. Aside from investors dumping shares after a billionaire declares the stock valueless, none of it made sense to me.

I wrote two key articles why shareholders shouldn't sell in the face of an oncoming train. The first one titled "Will Herbalife End Up a Penny Stock?" details why Ackman will need to step up his sales game if he ever finds himself in need of selling Herbalife products -- a future we can't totally exclude if his short position continues to move against him.

I'm not sure how much Ackman paid for the advice to get short Herbalife, but he should have hired me. I would have charged a lot less and not advised shorting this one, much less to the moon. I wrote the above article after the shares closed at the very low of the move. So to the person who gave the recommendation, how do you like them apples?

I wasn't done, though. I followed up with two more pieces "Investors Sweep Bill Ackman Into Dust Bin" and "Herbalife Hedges: Dan Loeb Owns Bill Ackman".

Again, the whole thing doesn't pass the smell test. Why risk your reputation on a massive short position that you know can blow up in your face while also stating you intend to donate all the profits if you're right to charity? Calculating the risk to reward is so far off the scale that it makes the quants who developed the models for loans to sub-prime appear reasonable.

Since that time, we enjoyed one of the most memorable and highly entertaining sparring matches between Ackman and Carl Icahn on live on CNBC. The spat included a lesson in "Schmuck Insurance," and if you're one of the only people left who hasn't watched, you don't want to miss this.

The verdict is in, and the market has passed judgment. Since the presentation, Herbalife shares increased over 50%. In fact, shares are making a new 52-week high while I type and are only a few Energy Boost sales away from making a new all-time high.

Now we find George Soros has entered the room and bought a few shares, according to CNBC. By "few shares" what I mean is Herbalife is now ranked in the top three positions of the billionaire's portfolio.

Now it's time for me to shift gears once again and to advise investors to begin taking money off the table and or put in tight stops. The real remaining upside is that Ackman is forced to cover his $1 billion short position, something he claims he hasn't started to do so yet.

We all know Herbalife's stock can take the life right out of you from the kick-in-the-gut moves, and after the recent run-up, you don't want to be left outside holding the bag when Icahn and others exit.

I called the bottom, and while I'm not calling this the top, the chart does appear ready to retrace some of the move. After a retracement I believe will happen, the shares will need another catalyst to push the price higher.

Unless there is another Soros available to jump into the cage match, who is left to buy?

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Robert Weinstein is an active trader focusing on the psychological importance of risk mitigation, emotion and financial behavior of market participants. Robert co-founded the investing blog StockSaints, where he writes a journal about his trading activity and experiences.

In addition to TheStreet, Robert also contributes to Real Money Pro, providing real-time trading ideas for stocks, options and futures.

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