This year was a better year for short sellers than last year, Jim Chanos told CNBC on Thursday. As for 2015, the renowned short seller said he's still betting against Caterpillar (CAT) and has retained a small short position in IBM (IBM).
While both names were lifted in the market rally Thursday, Chanos, the founder of Kynikos Associates, isn't concerned.
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"I try not to let the price tell me what to do with a stock. I try to let the fundamentals because we can hopefully do a better job of predicting fundamentals than we can stock market prices. If we get the fundamentals right over time, over a portfolio, the stock prices will take care of themselves," he said in an interview with " Closing Bell ."
In fact, he said the market has begun to bifurcate and companies that are doing financial engineering are having a tougher go of it.
While there have been a record amount of stock buybacks, "what we're looking for in financial engineering is companies that are masking bad operations by buying back stock and/or playing accounting games," Chanos said.
Caterpillar is faced with fundamentals that are deteriorating and have been for two years, Chanos noted. The company is highly exposed to the mining industry, which is a difficult area. Its two backup businesses are energy and construction. While the latter is still good, former is now going to be a drag, he said.
However, despite oil's decline, some of the largest companies haven't seen their stocks go down much, Chanos said.
"If you look at Exxon (XOM) in the last five years, roughly 75 percent of their business is oil production, 15 percent is refining, 10 percent is chemicals," he said. "They are still an oil company. And the last time oil was down at these prices, Exxon was trading in the $60s. It's trading at $90," he said.
He also found it interesting that lower energy prices don't appear to be giving a boost to consumer spending.
"We're seeing companies as big as FedEx (FDX) and as interesting as Dunkin Donuts (DNKN) tell us that in fact that's not happening. And I'm just wondering how much these energy savings at the gas pump are American consumers going to spend or is it being used for other reasons," Chanos said.