Monday, September 22, 2008

Short Traders Were Screwed over

What about the Proshare INVERSE ETFS that must be SHORT Financials in order for the ETF accordingly.

Following the announcement of the ban on short sales, two ProShares inverse funds (including the widely held UltraShort Financials ProShares (NasdaqGS:SKF - News)) ceased trading for a couple hours this morning in order to give the issuer a chance to sort through the implications of these government actions.

Why did SKF and SEF stop trading?

As previously discussed, due to the short-selling ban on financial stocks, there are no counterparties willing to buy/write the issuers' swap agreements, as the wide sweeping ban on shorting financial stocks means that the counterparty would be unable to hedge away its exposure. The shares of these ProShares ETFs did resume trading in the financial markets today, but they seem to be trading at prices that are not in line with their intraday indicative values. This is to be expected, however, based on the simple laws of supply and demand. Viewed as one of the remaining avenues to gain short exposure to the financial sector, the demand for the SKF and SEF were expected to explode. Essentially, all who were covering their existing short positions in response to the ban were expected to attempt to gain short exposure via these inverse financial sector ETFs.

Thus, ProShares contacted the American Stock Exchange this morning to note that it was not planning to create new shares in light of the SEC's unprecedented ban on shorting 799 financial stocks. The AMEX responded by halting trading on the securities to prevent huge diversions between the indicative benchmark value and market price.


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