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FutureStarrShorting a stock
Matt is a Certified Financial Planner based in South Carolina who has been writing for The Motley Fool since 2012. Matt specializes in writing about bank stocks, REITs, and personal finance, but he loves any investment at the right price. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with his latest work! Follow @TMFMathGuy.Shorting a stock means opening a position by borrowing shares that you don't own and then selling them to another investor. Shorting, or selling short, is a bearish stock position -- in other words, you might short a stock if you feel strongly that its share price was going to decline.
Short-selling allows investors to profit from stocks or other securities when they go down in value. In order to sell short, an investor has to borrow the stock or security through their brokerage company from someone who owns it. The investor then sells the stock, retaining the cash proceeds. The short-seller hopes that the price will fall over time, providing an opportunity to buy back the stock at a lower price than the original sale price. Any money left over after buying back the stock is profit to the short-seller.As an example, let's say that you decide that Company XYZ, which trades for $100 per share, is overpriced. So, you decide to short the stock by borrowing 10 shares from your brokerage and selling them for a total of $1,000. If the stock proceeds to go down to $90, you can buy those shares back for $900, return them to your broker, and keep the $100 profit.
One reason for that is general market behavior. Most investors own stocks, funds, and other investments that they want to see rise in value. The stock market can fluctuate dramatically over short time periods, but over the long term it has a clear upward bias. For long-term investors, owning stocks has been a much better bet than short-selling the entire stock market. Shorting, if used at all, is best suited as a short-term profit strategy.Short selling is an investment or trading strategy that speculates on the decline in a stock or other security's price. It is an advanced strategy that should only be undertaken by experienced traders and investors. (Source: www.investopedia.com)