Posted by: euzoia | October 2, 2010

So who says you cannot make money in a bear market? – What does it mean to short a stock



Shorting a stock means to sell it first then buy it back after the market (or that stock in particular) goes down. Short sells are bearish on the market, believing that the market will be going down and that they can make money buy “shorting”. Sell first, buy back later at a lower cost, hence buying low and sell higher but i reverse order. Shorting can considered somewhat more aggressive because you can lose a fair amount of money if the stock does not go down but insetad goes up. You then have to “cover your short” by buying at an even higher price.  


HI! I’m going to offer the most basic information regarding this question, as the answer can really get complicated for the non-licensed brokers out there who are interested in investing and shorting stock.

When you buy stocks, shares (an investment) in a company making them available to the general public, you must have all the money necessary to cover those shares at the time of purchase. Stocks are sold in lots; meaning, they are sold in say, bundles, of 100. So, for example, one would see a company listing their stock at $30. That means $30 per share. So the buyer knows they have to multiply that figure by 100. Hence, a lot, or 100 shares, of Company X’s stock being sold at $30/per share, would cost $300.
100 x $30 = $3,000.

K, that’s the basics for purchasing one lot of stock, but oftimes, people investing purchase much more than 1 lot of shares in a company. So you can imagine how expensive it can get the more shares you buy.


Had to Amend Here

Now, for traders who have a feeling that the price of a particular stock will go down, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) allows for the selling of shares not yet owned by an investor. How do you sell something you don’t own? You do so on the promise that the shares will be delivered at a specified time in the near future. There are only ever a certain number of shares available for short selling, and an investor needs to ask his/her broker whether the short stock of interest is available to short. If the short shares are available, the broker will lend the short shares to an investor, placing them in his/her account. But hold up! It’s really not all that easy. An investor needs a Margin account to be able to short sell stock. And, it can get really tricky if one is unaware of the terms and conditions of trading on Margin.

What is Margin? First of all, an investor must apply for a margin account at the brokerage that is handling their trading account. This involves a review of a person’s trading history; i.e., how long they have been trading, the individual’s credit history, and their net worth (the amount of securities a person has/or will have in their margin account, as well as the amount of liquid worth (cash on hand that is not tied up in stock or other securities, and that can be no less than $100,000 in a marginable account). There are then certain conditions that must be met to maintain a margin account. For example, should the margin account drop below 100K, the broker will send a margin call to the account holder, which gives the trader 24 hours to bring the cash balance in the account back up to 100K, even if that means selling some of the shares of stock in the account. Stocks are the only security that may be margined.

Once the brokerage firm’s manager approves the trader for trading on margin, they must make available to said trader the rules and regulations of buying stock on margin. This is an SEC mandate. K, I’ll go as far as to tell you that short selling stock requires that a trader meet initial Margin Requirements. That is to say, 50% (set by the SEC, but a brokerage can charge more) of the total purchase price of the shares, determined by the price the stock is trading at the time the stock was sold short. And, there are other rules that must be followed by the trader who short sells stock, i.e., the “plus-tick” or “short sale” rule, which simply means that a stock may only be short sold when it is trading up, i.e., during a rising market. This is to prevent excessive boiler room short sales that force the price of the stock to go down. Depending on supply and demand of short (borrowed) shares, a trader can hold the short shares in his/her account until a time when the price of the stock drops below the price at which the shares were sold short to him/her. Then the investor would Buy to Cover the short shares (rule: sell short, buy to cover) at the then current stock price and make a profit.


Completely Reworked

K, had to fix this up everyone. It’s been some time since I’ve worked at a brokerage. So last, but not least, and considering the last statement above, what might the implications of trading on margin be? Well, this is where things can get really scary for a trader!!! Jeez, and I’ll try to make this simple as possible, cuz there is really so very much to the game of trading on margin. Say, for example, I want to short 100 shares of Company X’s stock trading at $25. The total purchase price of those shares would be…? Right, $2500. That means that I short sell the shares for $2500 and the brokerage firm will place the short sold stock into my account. It might even look like this under the Cost column of your portfolio: -$2500. Then, it’s a waiting game…a tense one at that!!

Considering what you’ve read to now, what might you guess an investor trading on margin is hoping? Hope you said that the price of the stock will go down?!! Let me explain why: Say that Company X’s stock is trading at $30 by market close the day we shorted our stock. The stock would have gone up $5/per share and the 100 shares we shorted would now be worth $3000. If we were to Buy to Cover the short shares in our account, we would have to buy them back for $500 more than the price at which the stock was trading when the short shares were put to us (placed in our account), and we’d be the big losers at the party. Especially if we didn’t have enough cash to cover the whole purchase of the short shares, because we would have to sell some other securities in our account to close out the trade. OK, but wait. Say the stock was trading up two hours before market closed, but at close, the price of the stock drops and is trading at $15. Now the shares that were sold short to us at $2500, are now worth $1500; meaning, were we to Buy to Cover the shares at this price, we would only have to pay $1500, and the difference would be our profit. Thus, you see the scary part of trading on margin.

Sorry this took so long. Your question was awesome, and I hope this helped you understand a little bit better, but this long answer is but one of the reasons that you’ll hear people talk about the volatility and risk involved with trading. For more info, I suggest you visit and you can go straight to the source, the SEC website is really great for the newbie AND the seasoned investor. Here’s a link to the various search results relative to Margin and Short Selling on the Investopedia website:

All the very best!!!



Short selling stocks is the most misunderstood and under-utilized of stock trading techniques.

The idea of making money because of a stock price dropping, seems very foreign and down-right doesn’t seem to make sense to most people.
Many stock investors feel it’s un-ethical to sell short. They seem to believe we have to root for our companies to do well. Since most people in the markets have a natural tendency toward optimism, selling short is often viewed as being negative.

The fact is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing the reality of both the marketplace and economy.
Cycles are a fact of life. In the same way that it’s rational to sell and avoid a large loss when a stock starts to decline, it’s also reasonable to profit from that decline.

So what is short selling?

Selling stocks short is placing a sell order for shares you do NOT currently own, in the expectation that the share price will drop in the future.

For example, if you sell short company XYZ at $30, you simply borrow the shares from your stock broker for delivery to another buyer. If XYZ drops to $20, you then buy XYZ stock shares to replace those you owe your broker.
And in the process you make $10 a share.


Mengubah Tatanan Dunia Internasional « dongan’s 3.0


Oleh Rene L Pattiradjawane

Kita terkesima melihat pertumbuhan China, yang menjadi sebuah model pembangunan baru di dunia. Model China ini berbeda dengan modernisasi yang pernah dilakukan negara-negara Barat melalui tahapan kolonialisasi dan imperialisme pada abad yang lalu.

Dalam konteks regionalisasi, perdagangan bebas, dan 60 tahun hubungan bilateral RI-RRC, China mendadak ibarat seekor gajah yang mendadak ada di dalam ruangan.

Bukan itu saja, China pun dilihat sebagai ancaman bagi siapa saja, termasuk AS yang didera krisis keuangan dan ekonomi terdalam pada abad ke-21 ini. Bisa dipastikan, China akan bisa mentransformasikan dunia secara fundamental dengan kekuatan lebih besar jika dibandingkan dengan negara-negara kekuatan global selama dua abad ini.

Isyarat yang dikeluarkan China selama ini selalu memberi kesan bahwa para penguasa di Beijing menginginkan kebangkitan RRC pada abad teknologi informasi ini. Ditegaskan pula, niat itu tidak akan menyebabkan perubahan drastis tatanan global yang selama ini dikendalikan Barat. Namun, secara perlahan tapi pasti, kebangkitan China mulai menggeser posisi yang selama ini dikuasai Barat.

Negara-negara maju sepertinya tidak mengakui eksistensi China sebagai gajah di dalam ruangan. Barat menilai pertumbuhan dan perkembangan globalisasi, yang kini didorong oleh China, seharusnya mengikuti norma-norma universal, termasuk soal etika, kemanusiaan, demokrasi, hak asasi, kebebasan, dan semua norma lain beraliran liberalisme. Barat menganggap mustahil asas sosialisme-komunisme akan mampu mengubah tatanan dunia yang dibangun selama dua abad terakhir ini.

Namun, tanpa disadari, kini mulai terjadi pergeseran luar biasa dalam perimbangan kekuatan global yang terjadi secara sotto voce (mengecilkan nada suara), bahkan hampir tidak terlihat.

Fenomena ini menunjukkan perbedaan signifikan antara kebangkitan China dan kebangkitan Jerman atau Jepang dalam dua Perang Dunia. Kebangkitan China juga berbeda dengan kebangkitan Uni Soviet pada era Perang Dingin.

Lantai pabrik

Sejak dimulainya keterbukaan dan reformasi dalam sistem ekonomi dan perdagangan China tahun 1978, perjuangan China cukup panjang dan berat untuk bisa diterima sebagai komunitas internasional dengan segala privilese dan posisi yang setara dengan negara adidaya lainnya. Sebagai kekuatan yang baru bangkit, China diharuskan untuk berubah dan menerima norma-norma internasional.

Di sisi lain, secara perlahan banyak pengamat dan politisi dunia mulai melihat China sebagai ancaman terselubung dan mengatakan dunia kini menuju apa yang disebut sebagai ”The Coming China Wars”, seperti judul buku yang ditulis oleh Peter Navarro pada tahun 2008.

Navarro melihat China secara perlahan menaklukkan satu per satu negara-negara kuat, dan bangkit di tengah globalisasi sebagai ”lantai pabrik”. Kebangkitan itu muncul dengan mencurangi perdagangan internasional dengan menggunakan slogan ”harga produk China” yang relatif murah dibanding negara mana saja.

Pertumbuhan ekonomi China yang tinggi selama dua dekade terakhir ini selalu dipacu lewat ekspor. Pertanyaannya adalah apakah dengan terus-menerus memacu ekspor akan membuat China mampu bertahan dan meraih pertumbuhan berkesinambungan di tengah resesi global yang menurunkan daya beli?

Pertumbuhan ekonomi China yang sangat tinggi tidak pernah dialami oleh negara mana pun di dunia ini. Prestasi China ini dianggap tidak adil dengan tuduhan China telah mempraktikkan merkantalisme, mencakup subsidi ekspor, pembajakan hak cipta, dan berbagai aspek yang dituduh telah menjadi penopang ”harga produk China” yang murah itu.

Hal yang menarik adalah di tengah menurunnya daya beli konsumen, China tetap aktif mencari berbagai peluang untuk mempertahankan pertumbuhan ekonomi serta memperluas jaringan pasar, termasuk mencari sentra kerja sama baru untuk menopang kebutuhan dalam negeri, terutama sumber-sumber energi baru.

Kekuatan dominan

Wajar ketakutan terhadap China muncul di mana-mana, termasuk dengan diberlakukannya perjanjian perdagangan bebas ASEAN-China. Banyak yang merasa akan sulit sekali untuk bisa bersaing dan bertahan dalam melakukan perdagangan dan kerja sama ekonomi dengan China, yang condong akan menguntungkan RRC.

Kita pun harus memahami kalau persoalan China akan tetap ada di masa mendatang, seperti ketimpangan pendapatan, pembangunan berkelanjutan, polusi, korupsi, dan lainnya yang tidak serta-merta hilang begitu saja. Bersamaan dengan itu ada titik-titik kritis lain yang mengancam sumber mata air atau impor minyak yang mengharuskan para penguasa di Beijing menghadirkan pemikiran baru untuk menyelesaikannya.

Regionalisasi China di kawasan Asia-Pasifik harus memberikan pilihan menarik, termasuk di antaranya gagasan yang diajukan Beijing, yakni diperlukannya mata uang global baru yang secara de facto menggantikan mata uang dollar AS sebagai alat tukar internasional. China pun secara aktif mulai mencari cara secara progresif untuk memberi peran bagi mata uang renminbi di arena internasional.

Tidak bisa dihindari, China adalah sebuah kekuatan dominan di kawasan Asia Tenggara. Ini adalah tahapan untuk menjadikan China sebagai sebuah kekuatan global setara AS. China menunjukkan ambisinya untuk menjadi lokomotif pertumbuhan regional. Ini adalah pendekatan untuk menjadikan China sebagai pasar bagi negara-negara regional sekaligus penyedia investasi dan teknologi.

Kebetulan di tengah resesi global sekarang ini, kebangkitan China dan tenggelamnya AS sebagai kekuatan dunia terjadi hampir bersamaan. Ini menghadirkan terjadinya pergeseran signifikan dalam perimbangan kekuatan ekonomi dunia maupun di antara kedua negara tersebut. Kita berharap pergantian penjaga (changing of the guard) tidak menimbulkan guncangan dahsyat yang membahayakan pertumbuhan ekonomi maupun perdagangan di mana-mana. (RLP)



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