Shorting at close range: A tale of two types

Publisher:
Elsevier
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Financial Economics, 2016, 121 (3), pp. 546 - 568
Issue Date:
2016
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We examine returns, order flow, and market conditions in the minutes before, during, and after NYSE and Nasdaq short sales. We find two distinct types of short sales: those that provide liquidity, and those that demand it. Liquidity-supplying shorts are strongly contrarian at intraday horizons. They trade when spreads are unusually wide, facing greater adverse selection. Liquidity-demanding shorts trade when spreads are narrow and tend to follow short-term price declines. These results support a competitive rational expectations model where both market-makers and informed traders short, indicating that these two shorting types are integral to both price discovery and liquidity provision.
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