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Naked short selling: The emperor`s new clothes?


  • Yadav, Pradeep K.
  • Fotak, Veljko
  • Raman, Vikas


Regulatory and media concern has focused heavily on the potentially manipulative distortion of market prices associated with naked short selling. However, naked shorting can also have beneficial effects for liquidity and pricing efficiency. We empirically investigate the impact of naked short-selling on market quality, and find that naked shorting leads to significant reduction in positive pricing errors, the volatility of stock price returns, bid-ask spreads, and pricing error volatility. We study naked shorting surrounding the demise of financial institutions hardest hit by the financial crisis in 2008 and find no evidence that stock price declines were caused by naked shorting. We also find that naked short-selling intensifies after rather than before credit downgrade announcements during the 2008 financial crisis. In general, we find that naked short sellers respond to public news and intensify their activity after price declines rather than triggering these price declines. We study the impact of the SEC ban on naked short selling of financial securities during July and August 2008, and find that the ban did not slow the price decline of those securities and had a negative impact on liquidity and pricing efficiency. Finally, after examining the speeds of mean reversion of pricing errors and order imbalances, we infer that Regulation SHO was successful in curbing the impact of manipulative naked short selling, and this reduction in the impact of manipulative naked shorting has continued through the 2008 financial crisis. Overall, our empirical results are in sharp contrast with the extremely negative preconceptions that appear to exist among media commentators and market regulators in relation to naked shortselling.

Suggested Citation

  • Yadav, Pradeep K. & Fotak, Veljko & Raman, Vikas, 2009. "Naked short selling: The emperor`s new clothes?," CFR Working Papers 09-09, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:0909

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    Cited by:

    1. Marsh, Ian W. & Payne, Richard, 2012. "Banning short sales and market quality: The UK’s experience," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1975-1986.
    2. Boulton, Thomas J. & Braga-Alves, Marcus V., 2010. "The skinny on the 2008 naked short-sale restrictions," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 397-421, November.
    3. Clay M. Moffett & Robert Brooks & Jin Q. Jeon, 2012. "The efficacy of Regulation SHO in resolving naked shorts," Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 72-98, February.
    4. Alves, Carlos & Mendes, Victor & Silva, Paulo Pereira da, 2016. "Analysis of market quality before and during short-selling bans," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 252-268.
    5. Bernal, Oscar & Herinckx, Astrid & Szafarz, Ariane, 2014. "Which short-selling regulation is the least damaging to market efficiency? Evidence from Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 244-256.
    6. Matthew Clifton, 2010. "Liquidity and Efficiency During Unusual Market Conditions: An Analysis of Short Selling Restrictions and Expiration-Day Procedures on the London Stock Exchange," PhD Thesis, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, number 14.

    More about this item


    Naked Short Selling; Short Selling; Pricing Efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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