The Short and Distort



Short-sellers bet £1 Billion on high street decline as they target M&S, Next and Debenhams

Shorts have created a bear market supermarket sweep.

The Short and Distort: Stock Manipulation in a Bear Market.

The Net Effect

When the short and distort maneuver succeeds, investors who initially bought stock at higher prices sell at low prices because of their mistaken belief that the stock is worthless, caused by an effective distortion campaign. At the same time, the S&Ds cover at low prices and lock in their gains.

Right after prominent bankruptcies such as Enron in 2001 or Nortel in 2009, investors could be more susceptible to this type of manipulation than during prosperous periods such as the 1990s in the U.S. During downturns, the first appearance of impropriety could cause investors to run for the hills much easier. As a result, many innocent, legitimate and growing companies could get burned, and investors along with them. (To learn about how you can profit when everyone else is heading for cover, read Profit From Panic Selling.)

How to Identify and Prevent S&D
1.Do not believe everything you read - verify the facts.
2.Do your own due diligence and discuss it with your broker.
3.Hypothecate your stock - take it out of its street name to prevent the short sellers from borrowing and selling it. (Learn more about doing your own due diligence in our related article, Due Diligence In 10 Easy Steps

The best way to protect yourself is to do your own research. Many stocks with great potential are ignored by Wall Street. By doing your own homework you should feel much more secure in your decisions. And, even if the S&Ds attack your stock, you will be better able to detect their distortions and be less likely to fall prey to them by selling the stock at a loss.

Please do your own research.