February 23, 2009
Dear Walt Minnick, I am writing to ask for the support of reinstatement of the uptick rule to help restore confidence to the markets,HR 302, which was introduced January 8th, 2009 by Mr Ackerman. I wrote last week pointing out the effects pulling the uptick rule had on July 6th, 2007. My 401k has dropped over 50 percent and this is the most severe recession since the great depression. I want to provide additional information and solutions rather than just complaining, you can perhaps pass on to Mr. Ackerman. Thanks
"The uptick rule's rescission in July 2007 contributed directly to short-sellers (including funds) being able to relentlessly "pin the bids" of stocks, such as financials, forcing stock prices lower and lower, and causing massive damage to long investors. To date, shorts have conducted endless bear raids with impunity (and will continue to do so unless and until the uptick rule is restored).
The fact that the uptick rule had not already been re-instated, in the first place, throughout the entire market crash, is downright absurd (and suspicious)."
"The real problem is that shorts love to "pin the bid"- which is a manipulative technique whereby short-sellers don't first wait for a buyer to come to up them at a higher level, say on the ask price- but, instead, they short directly on the bid price repeatedly (called "pinning") until the bid finally "caves in."
Shorts have learned that if they "tag-team" the bid in this manner, it will, undoubtedly, cave- and the resulting bid will be pushed lower, and then lower and then lower still. With the ask price lowering in tandem with a dropping bid price- exacerbated by other shorts on the ask going lower, longs now start to panic and lower their sell (ask) price even further- and many longs then start selling on the bid itself, and, eventually, the bid is also taken lower and lower as longs panic further- and potential buyers lower their bids in trying to buy as low as possible.
Obviously, shorts don't first speak with each other in coordinating a pin-attack. But, in stocks where there is a lot of short interest- and there are (were) many, it doesn't take much for certain shorts- whether fund traders or wealthier individual traders to initiate the pin process- and for other shorts to immediately recognize the attack under way, and then pile in.
Indeed, with lower-volume stocks, the potential for downward manipulation is far greater, because resistance by longs is proportionally lower- and bid/ask spreads are wider. And with very low-volume stocks, such as ones that trade under 250,000 shares/day, a short-seller with a good amount of money can, single-handedly, easily crush the stock price downward.
One important additional component of the pin-the-bid technique is for well-capitalized shorts to first "load up" at as high as price as possible- waiting for the stock to have a strong market day or two, or an intra-day pop (even as a result of a "short-squeeze") to place the bulk of their short-sells. Then use additional funds available to them to then force the stock lower. In other words, these shorts make money off their "higher-priced" short positions, and then make additional money in relentlessly driving the stock lower.