Short Selling

What is Short Selling?

Short selling is a trading strategy designed to make quick gains by speculating on the falling prices of financial security and is done by borrowing the security from a broker and selling it in the market and thereafter repurchasing the security once the prices have fallen. The interesting part of this phenomenon is that a trader can sell a stock or an asset even if he does not own it in his portfolio. It is mostly done on financial instruments trading in financial markets, commodities, and currency marketsCurrency MarketsFor those wishing to invest in currencies, the currency market is a one-stop solution. In the currency market different currencies are bought and sold by participants operating in various jurisdictions across the world. It is important in international trade and is also known as Forex or Foreign more.

How to Short Sell a Stock? (Steps)

The mechanism of short selling involves three basic steps:

  1. You borrow shares from your broker by paying a small fee. The broker can arrange these shares by contacting large institutions.

  2. Now, once the broker has arranged the shares in your account, you can sell them at the current market price on the anticipation that the market price will fall and then buy them at a lower price.

  3. The last step in this process is buying back the shares once the target priceTarget PricePrice Target in the context of stock markets, means the expected valuation of a stock in the coming future and the valuation may be done either by the stock analysts or by the investors themselves. For an investor, price target reflects the price at which he will be willing to buy or sell the stock at a particular period of time or mark an exit from their current more is achieved. Now If the price has moved in the direction, you predicted then you have made a profit else you will have to buy back shares at a higher price, eventually leading to a loss.

  4. The trader returns the stock to the broker.


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Example of Short Selling Stocks

Let’s take the example of short selling.

You can download this Short Selling Excel Template here – Short Selling Excel Template

Consider a scenario where a stock is trading at $500. The quarterly results are awaited in a week, and looking at the competitor results, it looks probable that the firm will post bad numbers. A trader wants to utilize this opportunity and earn by short selling this stock. Since the trader does not own this stock, he would have to borrow these stocks from his broker. Post this, and the trader short sells the stock anticipating the stock price will go down. The plan is that the trader will buy back the stock once it has fallen by 10%.

The quarterly results declared one week later are on expected lines, and the firm has posted a fall of 10% in profit on a yearly basis. The stock prices crash and stock declines by 15%. The trader seeks this opportunity and, maintaining financial discipline, close his positions at $450, 10% down from the market price of the last week. The trader has made a profit of $50 (10%) on each lot. Assuming the contract was for ten lots, it leads to a profit of $500 on an investment of $5000.

Calculation of Annual Return will be –

Short Selling Example 1

The scenario just discussed was a favorable scenario when the stock price moved in the anticipated direction, and the trader has made an annualized return of 520%. No assets in the world can give that return. However, on the contrary, if the firm had posted good results, the stock price might have boomed, and the traders’ position would have worsened. The results are summarized below.

Calculation of Annual Return will be –

Short Selling Example 1.1

Advantages of Short Selling Stocks

Some advantages are as follows:

  • Short selling of stocks is a unique feature that allows a trader to take positions on financial products that he might not own but still profit from them by predicting their falling prices.
  • Short selling is often done on margin and involves good leverage. Hence, any trading position, if predicted correctly, can lead to magnified returns.

Disadvantages of Short Selling

Some disadvantages are as follows:

Important Points


Although it may sound speculative, short selling is one of the hedging strategies employed by not only hedge funds or institutional investorsInstitutional InvestorsInstitutional investors are entities that pool money from a variety of investors and individuals to create a large sum that is then handed to investment managers who invest it in a variety of assets, shares, and securities. Banks, NBFCs, mutual funds, pension funds, and hedge funds are all more but also big corporates. It avoids the hassles of selling the underlying in case the cycle has shifted, and the situation looks grim for a short duration of time. Simply put, in such a scenario, investors can hedge their positions by short selling rather than selling their delivery positions.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to what is Short Selling, and it’s meaning. Here we discuss how to short sell stocks along with examples, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more about derivatives from the following articles –

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