Jim Rogers has a penchant for making controversial statements. He designs the statements carefully so as to evoke outrage amongst the intelligentsia.
On an earlier occasion, Jim Rogers made the provocative statement that NAMO has done “nothing but talk” and that he (Jim) was getting disillusioned and was contemplating selling his Indian shares. At that stage, Jim Rogers was badly mauled by Nilesh Shah, the CIO of Kotak Mutual Fund. Nilesh not only gave a point-by-point rebuttal to each of Jim’s points but also ridiculed and mocked him for not wanting to invest in India (see Dear Jim Rogers, You Are A Fool For Wanting To Sell A Gold-Mine Like India: Nilesh Shah, Kotak MF).
Jim Rogers laid low for some time, licking his wounds. Now, he is back in the ring to take another swing. In the latest piece, Jim declared that he has lost all hope in India and that he has sold off all of his shares and is never going to come back.
Predictably, the ace stock pickers wasted no time in attacking Jim Rogers.
Porinju Veliyath, the outspoken stock picker who manages an AUM of Rs. 240 crore, was first off the block. He minced no words in condemning Jim Rogers: “Dumb Rogers ‘exits India’ without really entering; holds world record in getting almost every prediction wrong!” he said.
Porinju found a strong ally in Anuj Singhal, the markets editor with CNBC TV18. He not only endorsed Porinju’s comment as “Epic” but added that Jim Rogers “is not only dumb but arrogant, rude and a non worthy. Most networks have banned him but in India, we treat goras like god”.
Anuj couldn’t hide his contempt for Jim Rogers. “The biggest call Jim Rogers made in 2011 was “Dollar is doomed” – Enough said” he thundered.
Samir Arora, the whiz kid fund manager with Helios Capital was also contemptuous of Jim Rogers: He mocked Rogers by asking “Anyone seen any interview/comment/tweet recently by Jim Rogers on China and how everything is going as per his plans there?” and also provided data on how India has outperformed China over the past twenty years.
Sandip Sabhrawal also joined the fray by declaring that he is “shocked” at the publicity that Jim Rogers is getting. He vented his ire by suggesting that Jim Rogers is a “one-hit wonder” and that his pessimism is actually a “contrarian buy signal”. “Markets will be much higher a year from now” Sandeep said confidently.
However, Jim Rogers was not without his supporters. Sanjay Jha, the Congress spokesperson, took advantage of the situation to take a dig at NAMO. “Jim Rogers quitting Indian stock-markets lock, stock(s) & barrel due to a failed, lazy & incompetent Modi Sarkar must be worrying for bulls” he tweeted.
Markandey Katju, the eccentric former judge of the Supreme Court couldn’t resist adding his two-bits: “You can’t invest just on hope (i.e. jumlas)” he said.
Surprisingly, even Govind Ethiraj, former CNBC TV18 anchor, appeared to be in Jim Rogers’ camp. “Jim Rogers is not a career diplomat & not here to massage our egos, if you disagree, go & buy India equities” he said.
T. S. Harihar, market veteran, praised Jim Rogers for not being a “pushover in the world of investing” and said there is “profound wisdom” in his words.
Now, we have to wait and watch whether Jim Rogers lives to regret his decision to sell Indian stocks or whether he will be vindicated in his stand.