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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 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 Image 2

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.

Shortage cost

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

Shortfall risk

The risk of falling short of any investment target.

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-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-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 Image 3

Short-term tax exempts

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

Short rate

The annualized one-period interest rate.

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.

shortage costs

Costs incurred from shortages in current assets.

short position

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


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.

British clearers

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

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.

Short Image 4

Cash equivalent

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

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.

Cash-equivalent items

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

Local expectations theory

A form of the pure expectations theory which suggests that the returns on bonds
of different maturities will be the same over a short-term investment horizon.


One who has bought a contract(s) to establish a market position and who has not yet closed out this
position through an offsetting sale; the opposite of short.

Long hedge

The purchase of a futures contract(s) in anticipation of actual purchases in the cash market. Used
by processors or exporters as protection against an advance in the cash price. Related: Hedge, short hedge

Long position

An options position where a person has executed one or more option trades where the net
result is that they are an "owner" or holder of options (i. e. the number of contracts bought exceeds the
number of contracts sold).
Occurs when an individual owns securities. An owner of 1,000 shares of stock is said to be "Long the stock."
Related: short position

Liquidity ratios

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

Money market demand account

An account that pays interest based on short-term interest rates.

Money market fund

A mutual fund that invests only in short term securities, such as bankers' acceptances,
commercial paper, repurchase agreements and government bills. The net asset value per share is maintained at
$1. 00. Such funds are not federally insured, although the portfolio may consist of guaranteed securities
and/or the fund may have private insurance protection.

Moving average

Used in charts and technical analysis, the average of security or commodity prices
constructed in a period as short as a few days or as Long as several years and showing trends for the latest
interval. As each new variable is included in calculating the average, the last variable of the series is deleted.

Municipal notes

short-term notes issued by municipalities in anticipation of tax receipts, proceeds from a
bond issue, or other revenues.

Naked option strategies

An unhedged strategy making exclusive use of one of the following: Long call
strategy (buying call options ), short call strategy (selling or writing call options), Long put strategy (buying
put options ), and short put strategy (selling or writing put options). By themselves, these positions are called
naked strategies because they do not involve an offsetting or risk-reducing position in another option or the
underlying security.
Related: covered option strategies.

Note issuance facility (NIF)

An agreement by which a syndicate of banks indicates a willingness to accept
short-term notes from borrowers and resell these notes in the Eurocurrency markets.


Elimination of a long or short position by making an opposite transaction. Related: liquidation.

Open position

A net long or short position whose value will change with a change in prices.

Opening sale

A transaction in which the seller's intention is to create or increase a short position in a given
series of options.

Operating lease

short-term, cancelable lease. A type of lease in which the period of contract is less than the
life of the equipment and the lessor pays all maintenance and servicing costs.

Other capital

In the balance of payments, other capital is a residual category that groups all the capital
transactions that have not been included in direct investment, portfolio investment, and reserves categories. It
is divided into long-term capital and short-term capital and, because of its residual status, can differ from
country to country. Generally speaking, other long-term capital includes most non-negotiable instruments of a
year or more like bank loans and mortgages. Other short-term capital includes financial assets of less than a
year such as currency, deposits, and bills.

Performance attribution analysis

The decomposition of a money manager's performance results to explain
the reasons why those results were achieved. This analysis seeks to answer the following questions: (1) What
were the major sources of added value? (2) Was short-term factor timing statistically significant? (3) Was
market timing statistically significant? And (4), Was security selection statistically significant?

Planned financing program

Program of short-term and long-term financing as outlined in the corporate
financial plan.


A market commitment; the number of contracts bought or sold for which no offsetting transaction
has been entered into. The buyer of a commodity is said to have a long position and the seller of a commodity
is said to have a short position . Related: open contracts

Pure expectations theory

A theory that asserts that the forward rates exclusively represent the expected
future rates. In other words, the entire term structure reflects the markets expectations of future short-term
rates. For example, an increasing sloping term structure implies increasing short-term interest rates. Related:
biased expectations theories

Repurchase agreement

An agreement with a commitment by the seller (dealer) to buy a security back from
the purchaser (customer) at a specified price at a designated future date. Also called a repo, it represents a
collateralized short-term loan, where the collateral may be a Treasury security, money market instrument,
federal agency security, or mortgage-backed security. From the purchaser (customer) perspective, the deal is
reported as a reverse Repo.

Return-to-maturity expectations

A variant of pure expectations theory which suggests that the return that an
investor will realize by rolling over short-term bonds to some investment horizon will be the same as holding
a zero-coupon bond with a maturity that is the same as that investment horizon.


A short-lived (typically less than 90 days) call option for purchasing additional stock in a firm, issued
by the firm to all its shareholders on a pro rata basis.

Riskless or risk-free asset

An asset whose future return is known today with certainty. The risk free asset is
commonly defined as short-term obligations of the U.S. government.


Procedure by which the Long or short position of an individual is offset by an opposite
transaction or by accepting or making delivery of the actual financial instrument or physical commodity.

Sell hedge

Related: short hedge.

Specific issues market

The market in which dealers reverse in securities they wish to short.

Steepening 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 increased. Compare flattening of the yield curve and butterfly shift.

Subperiod return

The return of a portfolio over a shorter period of time than the evaluation period.


Liquidating an existing position and simultaneously reinstating a position in another futures
contract of the same type. Symmetric cash matching An extension of cash flow matching that allows for the
short-term borrowing of funds to satisfy a liability prior to the liability due date, resulting in a reduction in the
cost of funding liabilities.

Symmetric cash matching

An extension of cash flow matching that allows for the short-term borrowing of
funds to satisfy a liability prior to the liability due date, resulting in a reduction in the cost of funding liabilities.

Take a position

To buy or sell short; that is, to have some amount that is owned or owed on an asset or
derivative security.

Technical condition of a market

Demand and supply factors affecting price, in particular the net position,
either long or short, of the dealer community.

Term repo

A repurchase agreement with a term of more than one day.
Term structure of interest rates
Relationship between interest rates on bonds of different maturities usually
depicted in the form of a graph often depicted as a yield curve. Harvey shows that inverted term structures
(long rates below short rates) have preceded every recession over the past 30 years.

Term premiums

Excess of the yields to maturity on long-term bonds over those of short-term bonds.

Tick-test rules

SEC-imposed restrictions on when a short sale may be executed, intended to prevent investors
from destabilizing the price of a stock when the market price is falling. A short sale can be made only when either
1) the sale price of the particular stock is higher than the last trade price (referred to as an uptick trade) or
2) if there is no change in the last trade price of the particular stock, the previous trade price must be
higher than the trade price that preceded it (referred to as a zero uptick).







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