SEC’s Short Ban To End Wednesday

Oct 6 2008 | 9:37am ET

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s ban on shorting financial stocks, much derided by the hedge fund community, will come to an end this week as promised.

The SEC said the ban will expire at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, allowing short-selling to resume on Thursday. When the agency extended the two-week-old restrictions last Wednesday, it said they would be lifted three business days after Congress passed a Wall Street bailout package. The House of Representatives on Friday did just that, after rejecting a bailout bill earlier last week. President Bush quickly signed it.

The short-selling restrictions were put in place on Sept. 19, and grew to cover more than 1,000 financial stocks. The temporary ban, introduced alongside less temporary reporting requirements for short sales, is blamed in part for the historically difficult September suffered by many hedge funds.

Short sale bans remain in effect in other major markets, including the U.K. and the Netherlands.

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