COULD SHORT SELLING MAKE FINANCIAL MARKETS TUMBLE?
JÃRGEN VITTING ANDERSEN
It is suggested to consider long term trends of financial markets as a growth phenomenon. The question is what conditions are needed for a long term sustainable growth or contraction in a financial market? The paper discusses the role of traditional market players of long only mutual funds versus hedge funds which take both short and long positions. It will be argued that financial markets since their very origins and only till very recently, have been in a state of "broken symmetry" which favored long term growth instead of contraction. The reason for this "broken symmetry" in a long term "bull phase" is the historical almost complete dominance by long only players in financial markets. Only with the recent arrival of investors that take up short positions is the symmetry slowly being restored, with the implications, as will be argued, of an increased probability for lasting decline of the markets, i.e., appearance of a long term "bear phase". Recent short trade data of the Nasdaq Composite index show an increase in the short activity prior to or at the same time as dips in the market, and reveal an steady increase in short trading activity, reaching levels never seen before.
Growth phenomenon, short selling, agent based models, hedge funds, "bull phase", "bear phase"
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