July 28, 2008
Shorting and Naked shorting has risen to a level that is unhealthy and destructive to the market. With the explosive growth of hedge funds and the removal of the uptick rule we have seen people in control of enormous amounts of money use their size to negatively influence the direction of many stocks. Between this and the rumor mongering that has been publicized, it is now easier to profit from a companies misfortune and the weakness of the economy than it is to try and support those many companies.
These circumstances collide to create the cliche "self fulfilling prophecy" whereby fear turns in to reality as companies falter or fail under the weight of the enormous negative pressure exerted by the short sellers in the market.
While this short selling may profit some, its is the many small .retail investors that suffer. It is those who believe in the future of this economy and the future of these companies that boldly invest their hard earned money in the hopes that the stock will move in a positive direction.
As was the case in the Depression, its was an elite few who controlled large sums of money who helped induce the panic that caused the disaster that ensued. They profited on the destruction of the stock market and created a scar that took generations to heal.
Here again, the SEC has the opportunity to exert its powers to ensure peoples confidence that the market is an open, honest arena where everyone can play fairly. The re-establishment of the uptick rule would be just one in a variety of measures that could be implemented to give the market the stability it desperately needs.
Any and all measures that the SEC can implement to re-establish confidence in the stock market will be yet another testimony to its long legacy of defending the nation's interests.