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What does 'short covering' mean?

When a security is sold “short,” it means that the investor did not own the security, to begin with, and the broker can require that the investor return the shares in what’s known as ‘short covering.’ Covering a short position means to acquire the securities which were sold short, and returning them to the custodian/broker that facilitated the short sale. Imagine a shopkeeper who allows a customer to lock-in a certain price for a widget, even though the shopkeeper does not have the widget in inventory. Continue reading...

What is a Bear Squeeze?

Investors who were bearish on a stock may have chosen to short-sell shares in the hopes that they could cover at a lower price. Short selling is when a broker facilitates the actions of an investor who wishes to take on the risk of replacing sold shares of a particular stock because he or she believes the price will be lower when he or she replaces the inventory. The broker passes the proceeds of the sale (minus a fee) along to the investor who is taking the risk of replacing the shares, and charges the investor interest or fees as long as the shares are outstanding. Investors need to cover the short before prices go up and it results in a loss for them. Continue reading...

What is a naked call?

A naked call is a type of option contract where the seller of a call does not own the underlying security, thereby exposing them to unlimited risk. Investors have the ability to “write” or sell options contracts as well as to buy them. The seller of a call option has opened a position in which the buyer is given the right to buy 100 shares of a stock at the strike price named in the contract. The seller – along with all other sellers of calls for that security – are the ones who must cover and close the open positions if the call owners exercise their options. Continue reading...

What is a short position?

A short position is a sale made by an investor for a security which he or she will deliver to the buyer in the near future, but which he or she is hoping will go down in price in the near future so that a profit can be retained from the price collected in the short sale. A short position is a bearish play on a security which an investor believes will decrease in price in the near future. The investor offers shares for sale, and collects the current market price for the shares from the buyer. Continue reading...

What is buying power?

With regards to Margin Trading, ‘Buying Power’ is a term used to describe how much additional leverage you have given the excess equity in your account. When your broker or custodian authorizes buying on margin, the purchasing power of your assets can become substantial. Instead of just owning $10,000 worth of stock, you might be able to leverage that to buy $10,000 more, therefore having $20,000 of long exposure even though you only have $10,000. Continue reading...

What does “Buy to Close” Mean?

When an investor takes a short position on an option contract by selling (“writing”) a call or put option, he or she is opening a position, which creates more open interest in an underlying security which will be handled by the brokerage house, and this is called “selling to open.” If the price changes in the underlying security in an unfavorable way, the investor will seek to get out of the short position he holds on the options contract before the option’s expiration date. To do so, the investor must buy back the option (or, really, cancel out the position by buying the same kind of contract that he or she previously sold short). Continue reading...

What is a short sale?

A short sale is the sale of a security not owned by an investor, which the investor has borrowed from the broker in order to sell. An investor can use his broker to give him the ability to sell shares that he does not have in his inventory. The investor believes that the stock price will be lower in the near future, and will replace the borrowed shares by purchasing them at the (possibly) lower price in the future. Continue reading...

What does “Buy-Side” Mean?

The “buy side” refers to businesses in the financial services industry such as pensions, mutual funds, and asset managers that manage money. Since firms on this “side” of Wall Street tend to be the ones buying and selling securities for their portfolios, when a person works for one of these funds or companies they are said to be on the “buy side.” Research analysts that provide analysis and data to fund managers solely for the purpose of making investment decisions within the portfolio are “buy side analysts.” That research is typically not published for public use. Continue reading...

What does “Buy the Dips” Mean?

“Buying the dips” is a bullish description of investing in stocks whose prices have gone down. We say this is a bullish sentiment because a bearish investor would be more likely to interpret the downturn as a sign of impending doom, or might prefer to play it safe. A “dip” can be loosely defined as a downtrend without much momentum or evidence to support a bearish outlook. Another way of interpreting a dip would be as an oversold condition, where investor sentiment has caused the price of a quality stock to fall. Bullish investors could maximize their gains in such a scenario by buying low and selling when the stock has recovered and pushed on to new highs. Technical analysis indicators such as Bollinger Bands can be used to identify favorable buying conditions. Continue reading...

What does “Buy to Open” Mean?

When trading options, the language is slightly different than other transactions. You might be “opening” or “closing” a position with each trade. If you buy a put or call option, your ticket with say “buy to open” since you are opening a position and increasing the open interest on the underlying. Open interest is similar to trade volume in the stock markets, but it only increases with the number of outstanding positions interested in the outcome of the movements of the underlying security, and does not increase with each trade like trading volume. Continue reading...

What is short interest?

Short interest is a term used to describe how many short positions are open for a given security or market at a given time. It is often expressed as a percentage of the total securities outstanding and is used for the short interest ratio. This serves as a gauge of bearish market sentiment, since short-sellers are expecting price action to trend downward. The short interest ratio (SIR) provides a context for the quantity of short interest outstanding by stating this amount in relation to the average daily trading volume. Continue reading...

What is a short squeeze?

A short squeeze occurs when many short-sellers attempt to cover their positions at the same time, and it drives prices up rapidly. A short squeeze is a bottleneck situation where many investors who have sold a security short, suddenly become very interested in covering their positions - usually, because the stock starts on a strong uptrend. The squeeze will actually cause the price of the security to rapidly increase, more than it would otherwise, because so much demand has hit the security at once. Continue reading...

What is the Dead Cat Bounce (Bearish) Pattern?

The Dead Cat Bounce pattern appears when a security's price falls quickly but has a temporary “v­-shaped” recovery before resuming its downward trend. The temporary bounce (from point 2 to point 3) may be explained by shorters covering their positions or buying by investors who think the price has already reached a low point. It is important to wait for the confirmation move, which is when the price breaks below the low where the dead cat bounce occurred (point 2). Continue reading...

What is an Accelerated Share Repurchase?

An Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) is a method by which companies can buy back a significant amount of their outstanding shares with the help of an investment bank. By enlisting the help of an investment bank to accelerate a buy-back, a company can cleanly retire a large bulk of shares at once. These agreements have come into use in the last 10 years, and there is of course some variation in their composition. They fall under a category of buybacks known as structured buybacks. Continue reading...

What is Stop-Loss Order?

A stop-loss order is appended to a securities position being held long or short, and stipulates that the security is to be sold or bought if the price moves beyond the stop price, at which point the investor seeks to "cut his losses," or limit his potential exposure to losses. A stop-loss order will name a price below the market price on a long position and above the market price on a short position, at which point a sell order will be triggered for the long position and a buy order will be triggered to cover the short position, with the goal being to limit the potential losses to which an investor is exposed. Continue reading...

What does “Buying on Weakness” Mean?

Instead of waiting for confirmation of reversal, “buying on weakness” means to go ahead and buy a long position (or cover a short position) while a stock is in the middle of a downtrend, in the hopes that it will reverse soon and the preemptive move will allow you to capture the entire upside. Upswings can happen very quickly, and failure to prepare for them can cost investors a lot of money. Buying on weakness is intended to put the investor in a position for maximum gains, as well as preventing losses on a short position. This is one part of the “buy on weakness / sell on strength” mantra, which is essentially the same thing as “buy low / sell high”. Continue reading...

What should I look for in a good “Lease or Buy a Car” calculator?

Calculators are available to help you decide whether to lease or buy a car. Despite the advice of our older family members, many financial decisions will benefit from the use of math and technology, instead of just “rules of thumb,” and they will depend on the circumstances present at the time of the decision. Despite the fact that you may have purchased a vehicle or two in the past, you might benefit from using an online calculator that can help you compare whether it might be in your best interest to lease the vehicle this time or buy it. Continue reading...

What is a naked put?

A naked put is when a put option contract writer or short-seller does not have the resources (shares of the security) on hand to cover the position if the option is exercised. Put options are contracts between two people who have been put together with the help of an options exchange or clearinghouse.One of them will be the “writer” who sells the put on a certain underlying stock with a certain strike price and expiration date. Continue reading...

What is a Buying Hedge?

Hedging against future price risk was the main reason Futures contracts came into being. If an investor or a business knows that they need to acquire an asset or security at a future date, they might go ahead and agree to a price and have it in writing on a Futures contract. A futures contract means that an item has been sold at a stated price, and only awaits settlement at a future date. This will protect them from the risk that the price will move unfavorably in the future, and it will allow them to balance books and plan a budget with more certainty. Futures contracts are standardized and traded on exchanges. Continue reading...

What Does 'Buy to Cover' Mean?

‘Buy to Cover’ is a term that applies when an investor buys shares of a security that they had previously sold short. When an investor sells a security short, it means they are selling shares they do not actually own, in hopes that the price of the stock falls. If the price does fall, an investor could then ‘buy to cover’ at a lower price and then return the shares to the broker that lent them, thus realizing the profit in the price difference. Continue reading...