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Curbing Enthusiasm on Short Sales

On Wednesday, February 24, 2010, the SEC narrowly approved curbs on short selling, addressing what some consider to be one of the major contributing factors of the 2008 financial crisis.  The new rule is a modification of the “Uptick Rule,” which was designed to be a preventative measure against downward spiraling stock valuations in turbulent markets.  However, the rule was eliminated in 2007 because of its lack of efficacy.
 
The new rule will operate much like a circuit breaker, taking effect once the price of a stock has declined by 10 percent in a given day. Once triggered, short sales will no longer be permitted at or below the National Best Bid or Offer for the remainder of the day and the following trading day.
 
The modified uptick rule will take effect in approximately 60 days, but stock exchanges have up to six months after that time period to implement the new rule.
 
Highly debated since the 2008 financial crisis, short sales have been one of the most controversial issues facing the SEC.  Opponents of such regulation have pointed out that financial stock valuations tumbled even after regulators imposed a short-term ban on short selling late in 2008.  Others have voiced strong disappointment that the modified uptick rule did not go far enough to protect investors.  One thing is for sure – this is not the last we’ll hear on short sales.

 

PondelWilkinson, investor@pondel.com