Monday, 6 October 2008

Work is the blight of the blogging classes

Too busy to post much today. There's a big piece in the FT about shorting that is well worth a read. It's much more sympathetic than I am. Two bits stuck out, this first from a side-bar -

Unlike traditional long-only investment, where the maximum loss is the amount put up, short sellers face potentially unlimited losses if the stock they are shorting rises.

This is the sort of thing I was trying get at the other day. Shorting just doesn't seem to me to be the mirror of going long.

And this bit from the main bit of the article -
Research on trading in banks such as HBOS in the UK and Morgan Stanley in the US appears to show that levels of shorting were far lower before the ban than during the summer, and had barely risen. Hedge funds say the blame lies not with short selling but with selling by mutual funds, pension funds and other traditional investors. “There’s a lot of long-only intelligent money that is looking at the fundamentals [of the banks] and saying this is not good,” Mr McGrath says.

Fine, but it's a double-edged sword of an argument. It undermines the claim (made by a hedgie elsewhere in the article) that you need shorting for prices to stay close to the 'truth'. Doesn't this suggest that you don't?

Separately I managed to miss the fact that Paul Myners has joined the government as City minister. Great move I reckon. He knows what he's talking about and isn't afraid of being radical. Unfortunately it looks like he's coming off the PADA board. But I reckon the Tories would have booted him anyway.

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