A Jackass Investing “Poor-folio Award” goes to…
European Securities and Markets Authority
Last Thursday, August 11th, four European countries banned or restricted short-selling in stocks. The bans were imposed in reaction to the sizable stock market losses recently suffered across global markets. This is a political move, not a logical financial one, and history shows it will be counter-productive.
In my book Jackass Investing: Don’t do it. Profit from it., I discuss the attempts that have been made by governments over the centuries to manipulate markets by banning the short-selling of stocks. They do not work. The most recent widespread ban of short-selling – that imposed during the financial crisis in 2008 – resulted in losses in the banned stocks that exceeded the losses on stocks for which short-selling remained permissible. The chapter in which this is covered, “Myth #10: Short Selling is Destabilizing and Risky,” can be read here in its entirety: Myth #10.
The reason short-selling bans are counter-productive is simple: free markets hate inconsistency. Knee-jerk rule changes wreak havoc on investor confidence. What greater statement is there to show a lack of confidence in the markets than to restrict people from selling stocks! Kenneth S. Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard states the issue clearly, “The short-sale ban really smacks of desperation.”
Because of their panic in the face of adversity, their lack of confidence in free markets and their signal of desperation to financial market participants, I’m awarding this Jackass Investing “Poor-folio Award” to the “European Securities and Markets Association.” Congratulations!
The Jackass Investing Poor-folio Awards are given out to those who sink below the crowd by taking actions that contribute to the creation of “Poor-folios.” For more information about Jackass Investing and how to avoid a Poor-folio and create “Free Lunch” portfolios that earn greater returns with less risk, go to www.JackassInvesting.com.