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Definition of Short

Short Image 1


One who has sold a contract to establish a market position and who has not yet closed out this position
through an offsetting purchase; the opposite of a long position. Related: Long.

Related Terms:

Selling short

If an investor thinks the price of a stock is going down, the investor could borrow the stock from
a broker and sell it. Eventually, the investor must buy the stock back on the open market. For instance, you
borrow 1000 shares of XYZ on July 1 and sell it for $8 per share. Then, on Aug 1, you purchase 1000 shares
of XYZ at $7 per share. You've made $1000 (less commissions and other fees) by selling short.

Short bonds

Bonds with short current maturities.

Short book

See: unmatched book.

Short hedge

The sale of a futures contract(s) to eliminate or lessen the possible decline in value ownership of
an approximately equal amount of the actual financial instrument or physical commodity.
Related: Long hedge.

Short interest

This is the total number of shares of a security that investors have borrowed, then sold in the
hope that the security will fall in value. An investor then buys back the shares and pockets the difference as profit.

Short position

Occurs when a person sells stocks he or she does not yet own. Shares must be borrowed,
before the sale, to make "good delivery" to the buyer. Eventually, the shares must be bought to close out the
transaction. This technique is used when an investor believes the stock price will go down.

short position

The sale of an investment, particularly by someone who does not yet own it.

Short Image 2

Short rate

The annualized one-period interest rate.

Short-run operating activities

Events and decisions concerning the short-term finance of a firm, such as
how much inventory to order and whether to offer cash terms or credit terms to customers.

Short sale

Selling a security that the seller does not own but is committed to repurchasing eventually. It is
used to capitalize on an expected decline in the security's price.

Short sale, short position

The sale of a security or financial instrument not
owned, in anticipation of a price decline and making a profit by purchasing the
instrument later at a lower price, and then delivering the instrument to
complete the sale. See Long position.

Short selling

Establishing a market position by selling a security one does not own in anticipation of the price
of that security falling.

Short squeeze

A situation in which a lack of supply tends to force prices upward.

Short straddle

A straddle in which one put and one call are sold.

Short-term financial plan

A financial plan that covers the coming fiscal year.

Short-term investment services

Services that assist firms in making short-term investments.

Short Image 3

Short-term solvency ratios

Ratios used to judge the adequacy of liquid assets for meeting short-term
obligations as they come due, including
1) the current ratio,
2) the acid-test ratio,
3) the inventory turnover ratio, and
4) the accounts receivable turnover ratio.

Short-term tax exempts

short-term securities issued by states, municipalities, local housing agencies, and
urban renewal agencies.

Shortage cost

Costs that fall with increases in the level of investment in current assets.

shortage costs

Costs incurred from shortages in current assets.

Shortfall risk

The risk of falling short of any investment target.

accelerated depreciation

(1) The estimated useful life of the fixed asset being depreciated is
shorter than a realistic forecast of its probable actual service life;
(2) more of the total cost of the fixed asset is allocated to the first
half of its useful life than to the second half (i.e., there is a
front-end loading of depreciation expense).

accounts payable

short-term, non-interest-bearing liabilities of a business
that arise in the course of its activities and operations from purchases on
credit. A business buys many things on credit, whereby the purchase
cost of goods and services are not paid for immediately. This liability
account records the amounts owed for credit purchases that will be paid
in the short run, which generally means about one month.

Accounts payable

Acurrent liability on the balance sheet, representing short-term obligations
to pay suppliers.

accounts receivable

short-term, non-interest-bearing debts owed to a
business by its customers who bought goods and services from the business
on credit. Generally, these debts should be collected within a month
or so. In a balance sheet, this asset is listed immediately after cash.
(Actually the amount of short-term marketable investments, if the business
has any, is listed after cash and before accounts receivable.)
Accounts receivable are viewed as a near-cash type of asset that will be
turned into cash in the short run. A business may not collect all of its
accounts receivable. See also bad debts.

Accounts receivable

A current asset on the balance sheet, representing short-term
amounts due from customers who have purchased on account.

accrued expenses payable

The account that records the short-term, noninterest-
bearing liabilities of a business that accumulate over time, such
as vacation pay owed to employees. This liability is different than
accounts payable, which is the liability account for bills that have been
received by a business from purchases on credit.

Short Image 4

acid test ratio (also called the quick ratio)

The sum of cash, accounts receivable, and short-term marketable
investments (if any) is divided by
total current liabilities to compute this ratio. Suppose that the short-term
creditors were to pounce on a business and not agree to roll over the
debts owed to them by the business. In this rather extreme scenario, the
acid test ratio reveals whether its cash and near-cash assets are enough
to pay its short-term current liabilities. This ratio is an extreme test that
is not likely to be imposed on a business unless it is in financial straits.
This ratio is quite relevant when a business is in a liquidation situation
or bankruptcy proceedings.

Aggregate Supply Curve

Combinations of price level and income for which the labor market is in equilibrium. The short-run aggregate supply curve incorporates information and price/wage inflexibilities in the labor market, whereas the long-run aggregate supply curve does not.


1) When bond yields and prices fall, the market is said to back-up.
2) When an investor swaps out of one security into another of shorter current maturity he is said to back up.

Banker's acceptance

A short-term credit investment created by a non-financial firm and guaranteed by a
bank as to payment. Acceptances are traded at discounts from face value in the secondary market. These
instruments have been a popular investment for money market funds. They are commonly used in
international transactions.

Binomial model

A method of pricing options or other equity derivatives in
which the probability over time of each possible price follows a binomial
distribution. The basic assumption is that prices can move to only two values
(one higher and one lower) over any short time period.


A debt security issued by a government or company. You receive regular interest payments at specified rates while you hold the bond and you receive the face value when it matures. short-term bonds mature in less than five years; medium-term bonds mature in six to ten years; and long-term bonds mature in eleven years or greater.

Bridge Loan

A short term loan to cover the immediate cash requirements until permanent financing is received.

British clearers

The large clearing banks that dominate deposit taking and short-term lending in the domestic
sterling market.

build mission

a mission of increasing market share, even at
the expense of short-term profits and cash flow; typically
pursued by a business unit that has a small market share
in a high-growth industry; appropriate for products that
are in the early stages of the product life cycle

Building a binomial tree

For a binomial option model: plotting the two
possible short-term price-changes values, and then the subsequent two values
each, and then the subsequent two values each, and so on over time, is known
as “building a binomial tree.” See Binomial model.

Buy in

To cover, offset or close out a short position. Related: evening up, liquidation.


List of new issues scheduled to come to market shortly.

Capital structure

The makeup of the liabilities and stockholders' equity side of the balance sheet, especially
the ratio of debt to equity and the mixture of short and long maturities.


The balance in a company’s checking account(s) plus short-term or temporary investments (sometimes called “marketable securities”), which are highly liquid.

Cash equivalent

A short-term security that is sufficiently liquid that it may be considered the financial
equivalent of cash.

Cash-equivalent items

Temporary investments of currently excess cash in short-term, high-quality
investment media such as treasury bills and Banker's Acceptances.

cash flow

An obvious but at the same time elusive term that refers to cash
inflows and outflows during a period. But the specific sources and uses
of cash flows are not clear in this general term. The statement of cash
flows, which is one of the three primary financial statements of a business,
classifies cash flows into three types: those from operating activities
(sales and expenses, or profit-making operations), those from
investing activities, and those from financing activities. Sometimes the
term cash flow is used as shorthand for cash flow from profit (i.e., cash
flow from operating activities).

Cash management bill

Very short maturity bills that the Treasury occasionally sells because its cash
balances are down and it needs money for a few days.

Channel Stuffing

Shipments of product to distributors who are encouraged to overbuy under
the short-term offer of deep discounts.

Clear a position

To eliminate a long or short position, leaving no ownership or obligation.

Closing purchase

A transaction in which the purchaser's intention is to reduce or eliminate a short position in
a stock, or in a given series of options.

Commercial paper

short-term unsecured promissory notes issued by a corporation. The maturity of
commercial paper is typically less than 270 days; the most common maturity range is 30 to 50 days or less.

commercial paper

short-term unsecured notes issued by firms.

Corporate financial planning

Financial planning conducted by a firm that encompasses preparation of both
long- and short-term financial plans.


The purchase of a contract to offset a previously established short position.

Covered call

A short call option position in which the writer owns the number of shares of the underlying
stock represented by the option contracts. Covered calls generally limit the risk the writer takes because the
stock does not have to be bought at the market price, if the holder of that option decides to exercise it.

Covered Put

A put option position in which the option writer also is short the corresponding stock or has
deposited, in a cash account, cash or cash equivalents equal to the exercise of the option. This limits the
option writer's risk because money or stock is already set aside. In the event that the holder of the put option
decides to exercise the option, the writer's risk is more limited than it would be on an uncovered or naked put

Current asset

Typically the cash, accounts receivable, and inventory accounts on the
balance sheet, or any other assets that are expected to be liquidated within a short
time interval.

current assets

Current refers to cash and those assets that will be turned
into cash in the short run. Five types of assets are classified as current:
cash, short-term marketable investments, accounts receivable, inventories,
and prepaid expenses—and they are generally listed in this order in
the balance sheet.

current liabilities

Current means that these liabilities require payment in
the near term. Generally, these include accounts payable, accrued
expenses payable, income tax payable, short-term notes payable, and
the portion of long-term debt that will come due during the coming year.
Keep in mind that a business may roll over its debt; the old, maturing
debt may be replaced in part or in whole by new borrowing.

Current liability

This is typically the accounts payable, short-term notes payable, and
accrued expense accounts on the balance sheet, or any other liabilities that are
expected to be liquidated within a short time interval.

Current ratio

Indicator of short-term debt paying ability. Determined by dividing current assets by current
liabilities. The higher the ratio, the more liquid the company.

current ratio

Calculated to assess the short-term solvency, or debt-paying
ability of a business, it equals total current assets divided by total current
liabilities. Some businesses remain solvent with a relatively low current
ratio; others could be in trouble with an apparently good current ratio.
The general rule is that the current ratio should be 2:1 or higher, but
please take this with a grain of salt, because current ratios vary widely
from industry to industry.

Current Ratio

Current assets divided by current liabilities. This ratio indicates the extent to which the claims of short-term creditors are covered by assets expected to be converted to cash in the near future.

Delivery notice

The written notice given by the seller of his intention to make delivery against an open, short
futures position on a particular date. Related: notice day

Demand master notes

short-term securities that are repayable immediately upon the holder's demand.

Disability Insurance

Insurance that pays you an ongoing income if you become disabled and are unable to pursue employment or business activities. There are limits to how much you can receive based on your pre-disability earnings. Rates will vary based on occupational duties and length of time in a particular industry. This kind of coverage has a waiting period before you can begin collecting benefits, usually 30, 60 or 90 days. The benefit paying period also varies from 2 years to age 65. A short waiting period will cost more that a longer waiting period. As well, a long benefit paying period will cost more than a short benefit paying period.

Discount rate

The interest rate that the Federal Reserve charges a bank to borrow funds when a bank is
temporarily short of funds. Collateral is necessary to borrow, and such borrowing is quite limited because the
Fed views it as a privilege to be used to meet short-term liquidity needs, and not a device to increase earnings.

Discounting of Accounts Receivable

short-term financing in which accounts receivable are used as collateral to secure a loan. The lender does not buy the accounts receivable but simply uses them as collateral for the loan. Also called pledging of accounts receivable.

discretionary cost

a cost that is periodically reviewed by a
decision maker in a process of determining whether it continues
to be in accord with ongoing policies; a cost that
arises from a management decision to fund an activity at
a specified cost amount for a specified period of time, generally
one year; a cost that can be reduced to zero in the
short run if necessity so dictates

Equivalent bond yield

Annual yield on a short-term, non-interest bearing security calculated so as to be
comparable to yields quoted on coupon securities.

Euro-commercial paper

short-term notes with maturities up to 360 days that are issued by companies in
international money markets.


short- to medium-term debt instrument sold in the Eurocurrency market.

Eurocurrency deposit

A short-term fixed rate time deposit denominated in a currency other than the local
currency (i.e. US$ deposited in a London bank).

expected capacity

a short-run concept that represents the
anticipated level of capacity to be used by a firm in the
upcoming period, based on projected product demand

Federal funds market

The market where banks can borrow or lend reserves, allowing banks temporarily
short of their required reserves to borrow reserves from banks that have excess reserves.

Fixed cost

A cost that does not vary in the short run, irrespective of changes in any
cost drivers. For example, the rent on a building will not change until the lease
runs out or is re-negotiated, irrespective of the level of business activity within
that building.

fixed expenses (costs)

Expenses or costs that remain the same in amount,
or fixed, over the short run and do not vary with changes in sales volume
or sales revenue or other measures of business activity. Over the
longer run, however, these costs increase or decrease as the business
grows or declines. Fixed operating costs provide capacity to carry on
operations and make sales. Fixed manufacturing overhead costs provide
production capacity. Fixed expenses are a key pivot point for the analysis
of profit behavior, especially for determining the breakeven point and for
analyzing strategies to improve profit performance.

Flat price risk

Taking a position either long or short that does not involve spreading.

Flattening of the yield curve

A change in the yield curve where the spread between the yield on a long-term
and short-term Treasury has decreased. Compare steepening of the yield curve and butterfly shift.

Floating-rate note (FRN)

Note whose interest payment varies with short-term interest rates.

Floating-rate preferred

Preferred stock paying dividends that vary with short-term interest rates.

floating-rate security

Security paying dividends or interest that vary with short-term interest rates.

Foreign exchange risk

The risk that a long or short position in a foreign currency might have to be closed out
at a loss due to an adverse movement in the currency rates.

Form 940-EZ

A shortened version of the Form 940.
Form 941
A form used to identify to the government the amount of all quarterly
wages on which taxes were withheld, the amount of taxes withheld, and any adjustments
to withheld taxes from previous reporting periods.

GEMs (growing-equity mortgages)

Mortgages in which annual increases in monthly payments are used to
reduce outstanding principal and to shorten the term of the loan.

harvest mission

a mission that attempts to maximize shortterm
profits and cash flow, even at the expense of market
share; it is typically pursued by a business unit that
has a large market share in a low-growth industry; it is appropriate
for products in the final stages of the product
life cycle

Hedge fund

A fund that may employ a variety of techniques to enhance returns, such as both buying and
shorting stocks based on a valuation model.

Hedged portfolio

A portfolio consisting of the long position in the stock and the short position in the call
option, so as to be riskless and produce a return that equals the risk-free interest rate.


A strategy designed to reduce investment risk using call options, put options, short selling, or futures
contracts. A hedge can help lock in existing profits. Its purpose is to reduce the volatility of a portfolio, by
reducing the risk of loss.

High-low-close chart

A financial chart usually used to plot the high, low,
open, and close price of a security over time. Plots are vertical lines whose top
is the high, bottom is the low, open is a short horizontal tick to the left, and
close is a short horizontal tick to the right.

International Monetary Fund

An organization founded in 1944 to oversee exchange arrangements of
member countries and to lend foreign currency reserves to members with short-term balance of payment

Inventory loan

A secured short-term loan to purchase inventory. The three basic forms are a blanket
inventory lien, a trust receipt, and field warehousing financing.

Inventory Shrinkage

A shortfall between inventory based on actual physical counts and inventory
based on book records. This shortfall may be due to such factors as theft, breakage, loss, or
poor recordkeeping.


Theory that says a country's trade deficit will initially worsen after its currency depreciates because
higher prices on foreign imports will more than offset the reduced volume of imports in the short-run.

Lifting a leg

Closing out one side of a long-short arbitrage before the other is closed.

Liquid asset

Asset that is easily and cheaply turned into cash - notably cash itself and short-term securities.


When a firm's business is terminated, assets are sold, proceeds pay creditors and any leftovers
are distributed to shareholders. Any transaction that offsets or closes out a Long or short position. Related:
buy in, evening up, offsetliquidity.


The ease with which assets or securities can be sold for cash on
short notice at a fair price


Ease with which an asset can be sold on short notice at a fair price.

Liquidity premium

Forward rate minus expected future short-term interest rate.

Liquidity ratios

Ratios that measure a firm's ability to meet its short-term financial obligations on time.







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