Short Position


In finance, a short sale is the sale of an asset that the seller does not own. The seller effects such a sale by borrowing the asset in order to deliver it to the buyer. Subsequently, the resulting short position is “covered” when the seller repurchases the asset in a market transaction and delivers the purchased asset to the lender to replace the quantity initially borrowed. In the event of an interim price decline, the short seller will profit, since the cost ofpurchase will be less than the proceeds received upon the initial sale. Conversely, the short position will result in a loss if the price of a shorted instrument rises prior to repurchase.

Short Position

The Short position is often just termed as short and refers to the selling of a security which is currently not owned. This means that it refers to the sale of a borrowed financial instrument with the expectation that the asset will drop its value due to such transitions. It is also termed as selecting the sale option from a detailed options contract which allows an investor to make different decisions.

Explaining Short Selling

The practice of short selling requires the identification of securities that may be going down and then selling them without owning them. The short seller will repurchase these securities again and aim to benefit from the differences in prices that occur during the two phases.

Short selling can be described as a risky investment strategy. The short seller entirely depends on the belief that the security price will go down to make the profit. The short seller can also face an exponential loss if the prices of the security or the asset start to rise altogether. This is called a closed out situation where the short seller is in no position to make a profit with this technique.

Where is Short Selling Used?

Short selling is frequently used in the currency markets as well as in buying public securities. The method of short selling requires advanced knowledge of a financial market and therefore, short selling investors can be accused of using an unfair advantage, especially if they have a position in an important financial institution such as a stock exchange.

Short selling is also against the traditional practice of holding assets and waiting for their prices to rise in the coming years. This is a technique that is now termed as long selling as opposed to the principle of making an income from reduced prices.

Short selling requires a covering act because the securities that are sold are never bought and always remain in the ownership of the actual lender. This means that the lender can, at any time, ask for their securities to be paid back and usually the short seller then buys back the available stock of funds at a reduced price and makes a profit in between.

Problems with Short Selling

Short selling can create a very difficult position in a market which is already struggling as it promotes the market prices to go down further. The 2008 crisis in the United States showed that when large investors engaged in short selling, it became very difficult for companies such as Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley to maintain their businesses.

Short Position FAQ

What is long and short position in options?

Having a “long” position in a security means that you own the security. The opposite is “short” position. A “short” position is generally the sale of a stock you do not own. Investors who sell short believe the stock’s price will decrease in value.

How do I adjust long call options?

When adjusting a losing long-call position, a trader should consider selling something to take back some of the losses incurred. One way is to sell calls against your position at the next higher strike, converting the long calls into vertical spreads.

What is a call position?

A long position in an asset means the investor owns the asset. A call option is a contract that gives the buyer, or holder, the right to buy the underlying asset at a predetermined price by or on a certain date. However, it’s not a must to purchase the underlying asset.

What is short selling example?

If an investor thinks that Tesla (TSLA) stock is overvalued at $625 per share, and will drop in price, the investor may “borrow” 10 shares of TSLA from their broker, who then sells it for the current market price of $625.

Is short selling allowed?

Short selling is legal in most stock markets, unlike so-called naked short selling — shorting without having first borrowed the shares. When markets go bad, governments and regulators sometimes impose restrictions in an effort to help stem the slide.

Do you pay interest on short selling?

Yes, you pay interest, but the interest is applied to the price of the underlying shorted not the amount of cash proceeds of the sale since the underlying is what’s borrowed. The interest will increase the value of the short liability and will contribute to a diminishing maintenance margin.

How do brokers make money on short selling?

Brokers make money from commissions, the borrow fees that you pay and from the B/A spread if they are a market maker. Some, like Robinhood, can also make money on the cash received (Robinhood doesn’t pay interest on cash balances).

Further Reading