February 25, 2009
Dear Ms. Shapiro,
Now that you are the head of the S.E.C., please see that the short sale, uptick rule is reinstated. A majority of US citizens now have some exposure to investing in the US stock market, when IRA's and 401k's are included. One would say the mutual fund is the most used investment vehicle for the typical U.S. citizen. The USA had been on a steady progression of becoming more of a stock ownership society, which is a good thing because capitalism works best with capital to draw upon. One cannot be so sure an ownership society will be a growing trend going forward if recent occurrences of massive stock sales and mutual fund redemption's are extrapolated into the future.
Ever since July 2007, when the short sale uptick rule was removed most citizens have seen the value of their stock invested savings decline substantially. Why? The short sale uptick rule was an equalizer between mutual funds, that typically are bullish on stocks vs. hedge funds which can also be agnostic or bearish on the direction of stocks. Of course you know, most all hedge funds are only available as an investment vehicle for rich, so called, sophisticated investors.
Ever since the uptick rule was abolished the playing field has been too tilted in favor bearish objectives found among hedge funds and their uniquely wealthy clientele. Hence, look at any major stock index since July 2007 and you will basically see a downward trend. How to tell the reason for this? Look at a 10-20 year chart of the volatility indexes ($VIX or $VXO) focusing on July 2007. As you know, the volatility indexes are an inverse bearish/bullish-fear/greed measurement, essentially. Eg; an elevated/rising $VIX favors a bearish outlook that exemplifies that fear is dominant in the market.
It appears to be a direct correlation. Essentially as soon as the uptick rule was abolished, the over riding sentiment on US stock exchanges has been bearish and fearful. Why was the rule removed? Heaven knows And why it was abolished really doesn't matter, as long as the current unacceptable situation gets fixed. The uptick rule had been in place for decades, and seemed to be a proven procedure for helping to instill an orderliness to how the stock market trades. Ever since July 2007 an individual stock price or an entire stock index can crater to the downside much more easily, as particularly evidenced by the virtually unprecedented downward market action in September and October 2008. When the uptick rule was in place; for the stock market to rally, it was just necessary to step on the gas to get up the hill, so to speak. On the downside of the hill, the brakes (uptick rule) were gently tapped to moderate the decline. Since the uptick rule has been removed, the brakes are applied while going up a slope. At the summit the brakes malfunction, so the vehicle careens downward. Please, immediately reinstate the uptick rule for the good of the entire country.
The country desperately needs to have the simple procedure known as the uptick rule reinstated on US stock exchanges. Millions of people may lead much more wretched lives if the uptick rule is not reinstated. It simply is too easy these days for hedge funds and other bearish market participants to destroy accumulated wealth in the average person's retirement and investing portfolios.
No where has it been claimed that short sellers are a bogeyman for our current situation. Short sellers provide liquidity to the market and their insights for creative destruction of unworthy ideas/business execution are needed to keep capitalism fresh and innovative.
On the other hand a perpetual preponderance of stock traders with bearish outlooks leads to perverse ghouls who could undermine years of progress, innovation and wealth creation in the USA. My contention is that the uptick rule elimination makes fear a much greater factor than a healthy and positive greed when it comes to how the market is traded. Some how the Bear, not a Bull, has been welcomed into a China shop with open arms.
Every rally in the stock market indices seems much more of an uphill battle ever since the uptick rule was removed. Will all of America benefit with the stock market indices relentlessly being driven into the ground more so than in past decades Unequivocally, no. And best of all this simple remedy to one of our most pressing economic problems, will essentially have a minimal to zero price tag to fix vs billions of dollars allocated elsewhere. Please act at once to reinstall the uptick rule. (If you do not reinstate the uptick rule, you ought to make provisions so the great mass of all investors have access to a vehicle akin to a hedge fund; so at least it would be fair for all to be able to grind the stock market indices down to next to nothing on equal footing.)
If indeed, this country has a severe recession it will be in great measure due to the consumer having experienced a negative wealth effect from a deteriorating home value, and a decimated investment portfolio. Simply reinstating the uptick rule could do great good in forestalling the latter situation.