Investments

Short Selling for Investors

May 27, 2009



Shorts. Let's see. If there are shorts there must be longs. Which is best? Longs or shorts?
If you are trading in the stock the stock market experts like longs better than shorts. If you are "long" that means you own stock and that is "good". If you are short you have sold stock and that is "bad". At least that is what Wall Street preaches. And why do they want to make you believe this and is it true? Let's examine the facts.
Today I hear stories on the financial news and there are articles in the paper that people who are "short" driving the market down. They have sold more stock than they own and this is causing the market to collapse. I even hear that Congress is trying to pass a law that will not allow people to sell short. They are blaming hedge funds who are allowed to sell short. The basic flaw in this concept is when a short sale is initiated it must be done on an up tick. That means the stock must be going up in order to make a "short" sale. No short sale may be made to pressure the market down. That is a fatal pin in the balloon of that lie.

There are reasons people will make the sale of a stock. If you own it you may just need the money now or if it is going down you may not want to lose money should the downward trend continue. There is on old saying in the market – "the trend is your friend". If you see a stock that is declining you may want to sell it first and when it declines further you will buy it back at a lower price later on. This actually puts a floor under that stock because some time in the futures you MUST buy it. Whoever is doing the shorting does not matter whether it is an individual or a hedge fund. They are actually doing two things that are both good for the market. They are providing a future buy to support the price at a lower level that keeps it from going lower and they are providing liquidity to the market.

When you buy long you want it to go up so you can sell it later at a profit. When you sell short you sell it now with the idea of buying it back after it declines. Both are driven by the profit motive. How can one be good and the other bad? It is like saying there is good electricity and bad electricity.

If company CEOs don't want people to short their stock I suggest they look in the mirror to find out who is at fault. The CEO is not running his company properly and that is why the stock is declining. No outside person or group can drive a stock lower that is making a good profit. There is a good reason for the price decline.

Buying short does not put the market down. The ultimate outcome of a short sale (covering the short) is very positive for the market.

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http://www.mutualfundmagic.com Copyright Albert W. Thomas All rights reserved. Author of "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!" Former 17-year exchange member, floor trader and brokerage company owner.

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