Short Selling - the witch hunt continues Monday, September 22, 2008
When even people within the industry jump on the "short selling is evil" bandwagon without offering any supporting facts, you have to have some sympathy with people who question the high salaries paid to City folks.
Today, a former City practitioner writing here on the Finextra website condemned short selling which is "being used by some very unscrupulous individuals and banks to manipulate the share prices that are bring down the great and the good in the market."
Unfortunately, the facts [missing from the Finextra article] don't support his case, as my recent posts have tried to illuminate with thanks to Data Explorer and Charles Stanley & Co. Moreover, HBOS has justifiably been under the spotlight for over 6 months amidst concerns about its' funding and mortgage book and the FSA found no case to answer re short selling.
But worse, the article goes all soppy and sentimental
"No more fine banking institutions should be murdered because of the ability of the few to use the many short selling derivatives instruments to create a false market."
Could it be that some of those institutions were "murdered" [or I suppose, more accurately, commited suicide] by their own use of derivatives in the first place, creating huge dents in their balance sheet and causing credit lines to be withdrawn? Might it be, for others, that their own profligate lending on ridiculous LTV ratios was at fault exacerbated by over exposure to an inflated property market, whilst running a challenging funding profile?
I'd have been delighted to add such comments to the Finextra article, but it apparently restricts those that may contribute to the discussion on the site.
I'm eagerly awaiting the follow-up article on Fixextra covering insider trading ala "Mail on Sunday" which headlined with City sharks made £190m killing in minutes before BBC report on HBOS takeover , a story quickly debunked here and which highlighted the ignorance of the popular press. As one comment on FT alphaville aptly put it in a related piece which I have modified for the purposes of the pubic at large, "STOP ....... forming so called "informed" opinions based upon READING THE DAILY EXPRESS, DAILY MAIL OR ANY OTHER PUBLICATION THAT CONTAINS, OR HAS CONTAINED AT ANY TIME A PICTURE OF A BIG BROTHER CONTESTANT.