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Shorting a Stock

The biggest risk of shorting is that the stock can go up, sometimes by a lot. It may be easier to understand short selling by considering the following analogy. Tesla stock (TSLA) recently increased in price by more than threefold despite no significant improvement in the company’s financials. It increased from about $250 per share to over $900 per share in three months.

Shorting a Stock

A naked short is when a trader sells a security without having possession of it. A covered short is when a trader borrows the shares from a stock loan department; in return, the trader pays a borrowing rate during the time the short position is in place. Investors may also choose to short a stock to hedge a long position in order to limit their losses. For example, let’s say you own shares in a company that you anticipate will perform negatively in the near future, but you want to hold on to your shares.

Who Are Typical Short Sellers?

In finance, being short in an asset means investing in such a way that the investor will profit if the value of the asset falls. This is the opposite of a more conventional “long” position, where the investor will profit if the value of the asset rises. Astute traders will often aim to short a stock somewhere between the actual release and the time it takes the analyst to generate the report.

A margin call would require a short seller to deposit additional funds into the account to supplement the original margin balance. The primary risk of Shorting a Stock is that it will actually increase in value, resulting in a loss. The potential price appreciation of a stock is theoretically unlimited and, therefore, there is no limit to the potential loss of a short position. Experienced short sellers may prefer to wait until the bearish trend is confirmed before putting on short trades, rather than doing so in anticipation of a downward move.

Example of a Successful Short Position

This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. This is the reverse of a conventional long strategy by which the maximum gain on a stock you’ve purchased is theoretically infinite but the most you can lose is the amount invested.

  • To open a short position, a trader must have a margin account and will usually have to pay interest on the value of the borrowed shares while the position is open.
  • Short selling is an especially systematic and common practice in public securities, futures or currency markets that are fungible and reasonably liquid.
  • Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.
  • Put options are similar to short selling, as they also profit from a decline in a stock’s value.
  • Short selling is not just used to profit from a stock’s downtick; many investors use it to hedge their risk.

When a security is sold, the seller is contractually obliged to deliver it to the buyer. If a seller sells a security short without owning it first, the seller must borrow the security from a third party to fulfill its obligation. Otherwise, the seller fails to deliver, the transaction does not settle, and the seller may be subject to a claim from its counterparty. Certain large holders of securities, such as a custodian or investment management firm, often lend out these securities to gain extra income, a process known as securities lending.

What is short selling in a share market?

While we adhere to strict
editorial integrity,
this post may contain references to products from our partners. Mercedes Barba is a seasoned editorial leader and video producer, with an Emmy nomination to her credit. Presently, she is the senior investing editor at Bankrate, leading the team’s coverage of all things investments and retirement. Any estimates based on past performance do not a guarantee future performance, and prior to making any investment you should discuss your specific investment needs or seek advice from a qualified professional. For example, you could have been very smart to short bank stocks before the 2007–2009 recession.

  • A trader who has bought stock can only lose 100% of their outlay if the stock moves to zero.
  • In other words, if you short 10 shares of a $200 stock, you need to have $1,000 available as margin in your brokerage account.
  • When you take a long position, the maximum risk you take is the total price of the shares you buy, with a theoretically unlimited reward.
  • The process of shorting a stock is relatively simple, yet this is not a strategy for inexperienced traders.
  • The eruption of two savage global bear markets within the first decade of this millennium has also increased the willingness of investors to learn about short selling as a tool for hedging portfolio risk.
  • Or, if you want to limit downside losses without actually exiting a long stock position, you can sell short in a stock that is closely related to or highly correlated with it.
  • Short selling also leaves you at risk of a short squeeze when a rising stock price forces short sellers to buy shares to cover their position.

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