Short Selling- Meaning, How does it work, Advantages

Short Selling- Meaning, How does it work, Advantages

When you predict the price of a stock going up, you may either buy the stock for delivery or buy its futures in the derivatives market. Short selling becomes a realistic strategy to profit from the predicted price decrease if you have a negative perspective on the company and it is not available in the derivatives market.

Short selling is a famous stock market trading method investors use as it entails selling shares of a stock that the investor does not possess at the time of the transaction. Instead, the investor borrows the shares from a brokerage business or another investor and sells them immediately in the market. The investor hopes to profit from a drop in the price of the shares.

Because of the potential for endless losses, short selling in stock market can be a hazardous technique. In contrast to buying a stock, where the most significant loss is limited to the initial investment, short-selling losses might be unlimited if the stock price continues to rise. As a result, investors must carefully manage their assets and employ risk management measures to reduce possible losses.

This article aims to explain what is shorting in the stock market and explore several essential factors to gain a deeper understanding of this trading strategy.

What is short selling in the stock market?

Short selling is a strategy employed in the stock market to generate money in a short period. Short-sellers analyse price patterns and seek to benefit from decreasing stock prices instead of long-term investors who acquire stocks in the hope of future price gains. It is a strategy of betting against a stock’s performance to benefit by purchasing back the shares at a lower price.

Now that you know short selling meaning let us look at the two primary reasons why investors might engage in share short-selling:


The investor may speculate that the price of a specific company’s stock will decline due to an imminent earnings announcement or other relevant considerations.

In this example, the investor buys and sells the shares at a higher price, and then when the price falls, the investor repurchases them at the lower price and returns them to the loan, profiting from the price difference.

Hedging Risk:

Another common rationale for short selling is that an investor is extended in a linked security. He short-sells the same investment to hedge the risk to shield himself from the downside danger.

How does short selling work?

Short selling is a trading method in which you sell a stock and then repurchase it before the conclusion of the trading day, usually within a 5-6 hour timeframe. You employ this method when you predict the stock price to fall during the day. The procedure consists of three steps:

  • When placing a sell order, select the “MIS” (Margin Intraday Square-up) option to indicate a short-sell order.
  • Margin requirements for intraday trades can be decreased by employing Cover trades (CO) or Bracket Orders (BO). CO has a stop-loss, whereas BO has both a stop-loss and a profit objective.
  • Orders for short selling must be completed on the same day. Around 3.15 p.m brokers use an RMS (Risk Management System) check to shut off pending orders automatically.

Benefits of short selling

Short selling as a trading method provides the market and investors with various advantages:

Liquidity provision:

Short selling helps to increase market liquidity by raising the number of sell orders in the market. This more excellent supply of shares may result in lower stock prices, benefiting purchasers. Furthermore, improved liquidity can decrease bid-ask spreads, making transaction execution easier and less expensive. Short selling also helps with price discovery, giving additional information about market sentiment and demand for a particular asset.

Hedging and risk reduction:

Investors can use short selling to hedge their current long holdings in the market. They can counter possible losses from long bets by placing short positions in specific equities if the market falls. This capacity to hedge reduces an investment portfolio’s overall risk exposure, making it more robust to market downturns.

Capital Allocation:

Short selling allows portfolio managers to use the capital generated from short sales to overweight their long positions. This means investors may put more money into equities they believe in, possibly increasing their profits if those stocks perform well.

Risk Management and Higher Returns:

Investors may attain a more balanced risk profile by including both long and short positions in a portfolio. While long positions can profit from rising markets, short works can profit from falling markets. This combination can reduce total portfolio volatility and boost risk-adjusted returns, especially in volatile market situations.

Differences between regular investing and short-selling

Shorting a company’s shares includes certain limitations that set it apart from regular investments. One rule prevents short sellers from pushing down the price of a stock that has already fallen more than 10% in a single day compared to the previous day’s closing price.

Because a stock’s price may rise indefinitely, short selling poses the theoretical danger of endless losses. As a result, short selling is a technique best suited for experienced traders who are aware of the risks involved and can handle them successfully.


Short selling is a sophisticated and high-risk trading method that entails selling borrowed equities to repurchase them at a lower price later, benefitting from a price decrease. Short selling necessitates a thorough grasp of the stock market, market dynamics, and the risks involved. Traders must be familiar with analysing stock patterns, doing fundamental and technical analyses, and continuously watching market movements.

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