FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2008-211 Commission Also Takes Steps to Increase Market Transparency and Liquidity
Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2008 — The Securities and Exchange Commission, acting in concert with the U.K. Financial Services Authority, took temporary emergency action to prohibit short selling in financial companies to protect the integrity and quality of the securities market and strengthen investor confidence. The U.K. FSA took similar action yesterday.
- SEC Order Halting Short Selling in Financial Stocks
- SEC Order Requiring Institutional Money Managers to Report New Short Sales
- SEC Order Easing Restrictions on Issuers to Re-Purchase Their Securities
- Form SH
- Form SH Instructions
The Commission’s action will apply to the securities of 799 financial companies. The action is immediately effective.
SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said, “The Commission is committed to using every weapon in its arsenal to combat market manipulation that threatens investors and capital markets. The emergency order temporarily banning short selling of financial stocks will restore equilibrium to markets. This action, which would not be necessary in a well-functioning market, is temporary in nature and part of the comprehensive set of steps being taken by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and the Congress.”
This decisive SEC action calls a time-out to aggressive short selling in financial institution stocks, because of the essential link between their stock price and confidence in the institution. The Commission will continue to consider measures to address short selling concerns in other publicly traded companies.
Under normal market conditions, short selling contributes to price efficiency and adds liquidity to the markets. At present, it appears that unbridled short selling is contributing to the recent, sudden price declines in the securities of financial institutions unrelated to true price valuation. Financial institutions are particularly vulnerable to this crisis of confidence and panic selling because they depend on the confidence of their trading counterparties in the conduct of their core business.
What is short-selling?
Short-selling is the practice of selling borrowed shares in the hope of repurchasing them later at a lower price. This is done in an attempt to profit from an expected decline in the price of the shares.
For example, shares in Company X are selling for £1 each. A short-seller would borrow 1,000 shares through a broker and sell them immediately for £1,000, hoping the price falls.
What is Short Selling? Exhaustive
Have you ever been absolutely sure that a stock was going to decline and wanted to profit from its regrettable demise? Wouldn't it be nice to see your portfolio increase in value during a bear market? Both scenarios are possible. Many investors make money on a decline in an individual stock or during a bear market, thanks to an advanced investing technique called short selling.
Short selling is neither terribly complex nor entirely simple. In other words, it's a concept that many investors have trouble understanding. In general, people think of investing as buying an asset, holding it while it appreciates in value, and then eventually selling to make a profit. Shorting is the opposite: an investor makes money only when a shorted security falls in value.
Short selling involves many unique risks and pitfalls to be wary of. The mechanics of a short sale are relatively complicated compared to a normal transaction. And, as always, the investor faces high risks for potentially high returns. It's essential that you understand how the whole process works before you get involved.