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Market declines: what is accomplished by banning short-selling?
In 2008, U.S. regulators banned the short-selling of financial stocks, fearing that the practice was helping to drive the steep drop in stock prices during the crisis. However, a new look at the effects of such restrictions challenges the notion that short sales exacerbate market downturns in this way. The 2008 ban on short sales failed to slow the decline in the price of financial stocks; in fact, prices fell markedly over the two weeks in which the ban was in effect and stabilized once it was lifted. Similarly, following the downgrade of the U.S. sovereign credit rating in 2011?another notable period of market stress?stocks subject to short-selling restrictions performed worse than stocks free of such restraints.
AUTHORS: Battalio, Robert; Schultz, T. Paul; Mehran, Hamid
Market declines: Is banning short selling the solution?
In response to the sharp decline in prices of financial stocks in the fall of 2008, regulators in a number of countries banned short selling of particular stocks and industries. Evidence suggests that these bans did little to stop the slide in stock prices, but significantly increased costs of liquidity. In August 2011, the U.S. market experienced a large decline when Standard and Poor?s announced a downgrade of U.S. debt. Our cross-sectional tests suggest that the decline in stock prices was not significantly driven or amplified by short selling. Short selling does not appear to be the root cause of recent stock market declines. Furthermore, banning short selling does not appear to prevent stock prices from falling when firm-specific or economy-wide economic fundamentals are weak, and may impose high costs on market participants.
AUTHORS: Battalio, Robert; Mehran, Hamid; Schultz, T. Paul