More Short Sale Restrictions Unlikely

Sep 15 2008 | 8:48am ET

The controversial restrictions on short-selling imposed by U.S. regulators this summer are unlikely to be expanded to all stocks or made permanent when a new rule is promulgated.

Securities and Exchange Commission staffers are expected to deliver this recommendations as soon as this month, and are expected to propose measures to beef up requirements that brokers deliver shares that they sell short, rather than extending the naked short-sale restrictions on Fannie Man, Freddie Mac and 17 brokerage firms imposed in an emergency order, which expired last month. The agency may also require traders to disclose short positions, similar to a measure enacted in June by Britain’s Financial Services Authority, reduce the amount of time brokers have to buy stock to clear a short sale, and remove an exemption from deliver threshold-list shares for options market makers.

This summer’s order was designed to shore up the country’s financial institutions. Since then, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been effectively nationalized, Lehman Brothers has planned to file for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch has agreed to sell itself to Bank of America.

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