How Stocks Are Shorted

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How Stocks Are Shorted

Perhaps the word “short” stocks can be a little disconcerting for noobs in the stock market game. But the fact is “shorting a stock” can be a lucrative method, nonetheless with huge risks accompanying it. Shorting a stock is when investors bet against the stock market. 

It goes without saying that this method requires skills and is certainly not for the faint of heart. Not to mention, not for those who have zilch experience in the stock market game. 

In essence, stock shorting is when you, the investor, open a position by borrowing shares that don’t belong to you, and then you put it on sale to another investor. It’s basically like selling short or in the stock market parlance, shorting. Shorting is a bearish stock point. Bearish is characterized with falling stock prices. 

To put it in another way, you short a stock if you sense that the stock price is going to drop.

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Short-selling or shorting enables the investors to gain from the stocks when the securities or the stocks decrease in value. So as to achieve to sell short, you need to borrow the stock through the brokerage firm of someone who owns it. You then sell the stock and then keep hold of the cash profits. 

The investors or in this case, the short-sellers expect that in time, the price of the stock will decline, thereby giving them the chance to purchase back the stock at a much lower price than the first sale price. Whatever cash is left after purchasing back the stock is income for the short-sellers. 

Off the cuff, you will get the impression that short-selling or shorting is just as simple and unexceptional as taking ownership of a stock. But if you look into it, quite a few investors deem shorting as an approach or a strategy. If you look into it closely, you will probably see that short-selling or shorting does make sense. 

Check out the widespread behavior of the market. Nearly all if not all investors possess funds and stocks and other investments that they want to increase or skyrocket in value. 

The stock market can drastically shift over short spurts of time but in the long run, the market actually seems predisposed to mount up. For stock investors who have been in the stock market industry longer, ownership of stocks is definitely a safer bet than shorting the stock market. If you come to think of it, shorting or short-selling as the name reminds you — is best fitted for a short-term revenue strategy. Occasionally, you will stumble into an investment that you’re certain will fall in the short run. 

In those instances, shorting can be a method to gain money from that company’s setbacks. Short-selling is more complex than straightforwardly going out and purchasing stock but it enables you to make a profit when other investment portfolios are diminishing. 

Let’s dig into the risks of shorting or short-selling. You probably know by now that there is no investment nor strategy that comes without risks. Shorting or short-selling can be a lucrative money-making strategy if and when you call the right shots. However, short-selling comes with higher risks more than what a typical stock investor comes across. 

Explicitly speaking, when you short a stock, you are somehow stacking up boundless setbacks and risks but very limited potential for gains. If you look at it, this is exactly on the other end of the pole when you purchase stocks. Buying stocks comes with fewer risks of loss but with boundless potentials for profit.  

When you purchase a stock, the greater loss is what you have paid for it. If the stock goes nil, you will experience a total loss — but, you will never lose more than that and it can never get worse than that. Inversely, if the stock skyrockets, you will enjoy limitless profit gains. It’s fairly typical for continuing stock investors to obtain financial gains that are way bigger than their first investment. 

In short-selling or shorting, the process changes in direction. There’s a maximum limit on your prospective earnings. But there’s no hypothetical limit to the losses you may experience. 

Let’s look into this situation. Let’s say you sell 100 shares of stock short at a price of $5 per share. Your financial takings from the sale are $500. In the event that the stock goes to nil, you get to keep the full $500. On the other hand, if the stock climbs to $50 per share, you need to spend $5,000 USD to purchase back the 100 shares. 

That will give you a net loss of $4,500 — that’s way over the initial profits from the short sale. Give time to mull this over. This is one of the downsides of shorting. 

Having said that, despite the high risks involved in shorting, it can still be a functional way to take well thought out positions against specific companies for investors who know their game plan. When you’re at the head of the game in stock market investing, short-selling can give you more golden opportunities for higher returns than those who merely own stocks and other investments. 

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