Intelligence

Wall Street Hates Short Sellers: TK Reasons Investors Should Love Them

This piece, as conceived, will outline (briefly) what short-selling is, and then touch on the fact that many on Wall Street hate short sellers. It will then proceed to argue against this view, and point out the many ways in which shorts play a vital, important and underappreciated role in financial markets. Some of Wall Street’s built-in hypocrisies on this topic will be pointed out (there’s a circuit-breaker for when prices fall too fast, but not for rising too fast, short-sellers get attacked for talking their book but bulls can do it all day long on TV, etc.). The meat of the article will focus on the value short-sellers provide. 1) They make the market more efficient. 2) They can be and often are a whistleblower when there’s fraud, excessive risk, overvaluation, mismanagement or other shenanigans afoot. 3) Their independence from Wall Street brokerage and underwriting firms help avoid conflicts of interest that poison the trustworthiness of sell-side research. 4) Shorting is a precondition for the existence and success of the hedge fund industry. 5) If, as a long-term shareholder, you’re right and the short is wrong, they’ll help juice your profits, bringing initial buy-in price down and fueling the rally with the short squeeze. That basically leaves insecurity as the frankest reason people dislike short sellers, and if you have that little confidence in your picks you shouldn’t own them to begin with. I’m looking for comments on all aspects of this article!