Reaction to Viceroy’s report on Capitec has verged on the ridiculous. A not-so-great research outfit wrote a not-so-great report on Capitec. It was bearish. Viceroy had or has a short position in Capitec’s stock. The shares sunk 13% on the day the report was released, but three days later, the price had recovered. This didn’t stop Capitec, the Reserve Bank, the National Treasury and a host of commentators from leaping to the front line of attack on Viceroy. The research was bad, they claimed. It missed key points about the bank’s operations. It made speculative claims about the way the bank reschedules its loans, falsely saying it was hiding losses. It made outrageous statements about putting the bank into curatorship. All these critiques may be true – and largely were. But bad research is released every day. The difference is that most research – bad or otherwise – is on the long side. A positive research report can be just as wrong on the facts, but no one will complain provided t...

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