How To Make Money Shorting A Stock

Short selling or shorting a stock is an investment strategy that allows you to profit from declining stock prices; nevertheless, This approach of betting against the stock market can be profitable, but it is extremely risky.

Investors may become convinced that a stock’s value is more likely to decrease than rise. If this is the case, investors might profit when a company’s value falls by employing a practice known as short selling.

Short selling, often known as shorting a stock, is intended to profit you if the share price of the stock you choose shortfalls, but it can also lose you money if the stock price rises.

Key Takeaway

  • What does shorting a stock mean
  • Learn how to make money shorting a tock
  •  Benefits and Risks of Short Selling
  • How to short a stock on TD Ameritrade
Shorting A Stock

What does shorting a stock mean?

Shorting a stock entails borrowing shares you do not own and then selling them to another investor. Shorting, or selling short, is a bearish stock position; in other words, you might short a stock if you believe its share price will fall.

Short-selling enables investors to profit from the decline in the value of stocks or other securities. To sell short, an investor must borrow the stock or asset from someone who owns it through their brokerage firm. The investor then sells the stock and keeps the proceeds.

The short seller anticipates that the price will fall over time, allowing him or her to repurchase the stock at a lower price than the original sale price. Any money left over after purchasing the stock is profit for the short seller.

How to short a stock

Below are 5 steps on how to make money shorting a stock, and include following: To use a short-selling method, you must first go through the following steps:

  •  Determine the stock you wish to sell short.
  •  Check with your broker to see if you have a margin account and the appropriate permits to start a short position in a stock.
  • Submit your short order for the desired quantity of shares. When you send the order, the broker will lend you the shares and sell them on your behalf on the open market.
  •  At some time, you’ll need to close off your short position by repurchasing the stock you originally sold and then return the borrowed shares to whoever lent them to you through your brokerage firm.
  • If the price falls, you’ll spend less to replace the shares and keep the difference as profit. If the stock price rises, it will cost you more to buy back the shares, and you will have to find that extra money elsewhere, leading to a loss on your short position.

What are the pros and cons of Short Selling

Pros of shorting a stock:

  • Portfolio diversification:

 Suppose your portfolio is entirely comprised of long holdings. In that case, a margin account may allow you to diversify further in a market downturn (what’s known as systematic risk) by holding both long and short positions.

Furthermore, suppose a large stake in a single stock dominates your portfolio. In that case, a margin account may allow you to diversify your portfolio without selling your current shares of stock. This method is especially helpful if you have a substantial unrealized capital gain that you want to keep.

  •  Hedging your “long” positions: 

You can utilize short selling to protect stocks that you already hold. You can, for example, short a sector ETF to assist hedge several linked sector equities in your portfolio.

  • Profiting from downturns: short

selling allows investors to seek positive profits during a market drop.

  • Playing both sides of the market: 

Consider going long on equities you think to outperform and short on stocks you expect to underperform. You may even try buying (going long) and selling (going short) two highly linked stocks that have drifted far apart and are expected to converge.

Cons of shorting a stock:

  • Negative liquidation: 

You may be forced to close your short positions at unfavorable levels, especially if your stock has a significant price increase.

  • Historical upward trend: 

The larger stock market has historically risen over time. Though previous performance is no guarantee of future results, the market’s proclivity to increase over time remains a danger for any short seller.

  • Unbounded risk:

Because there is technically no limit to how high the price of a stock or ETF can increase, the risk of loss in short selling is limitless.

Dividends and other monetary payments You must pay any dividends, stock splits, or spin-offs paid on the loaned stock.

How to short a stock on TD Ameritrade

Below are Steps to Shorting a Stock with TD Ameritrade. If you have enough funds to trade with, you can short sell using a margin account through the following steps.

1. Enable Margin Trading on Your Account

Simply creating an account with TD Ameritrade does not qualify you to short sell. To enable this feature, go to your account settings.

Then, TD Ameritrade will send you documents and a form to sign, indicating that you understand the dangers of short selling.

You may also be asked additional questions regarding your investment plans, goals, and liquidity. Everything is dependent on your account type and trading history with TD Ameritrade.

2. Enter Your Order to Sell Short

You can short-sell a stock when you’ve enabled margin in your account. It functions the same as it would on any other platform. You must mention that you intend to short this particular stock.

3. Account Minimum

Within a TD Ameritrade margin account, you must have at least $2,000 available to trade with or short. This rule protects the broker in the event that your short sale fails and you have to cover your losses.

4. Stocks that TDA cannot trade

Except for penny stocks, TD Ameritrade allows you to short-sell almost any stock. In other words, whether you trade OTCBB stocks or the pink sheets, you won’t be able to short.

How Long Does It Take to Enable Your Account for Short Sales?

When you first fund your account and allow margin trading, you must wait three business days before you can short-sell. During that time, TDA may request additional information from you. They’re checking your account to see if it qualifies for stock shorting.

You Can’t Reserve Shares for Short Selling

TD Ameritrade does not provide this option. The transaction will fail if you place a short sale order and no shares are available. You can continue to issue short sale orders or look for available shares to short.

TD Ameritrade Fees for Short Selling

TD Ameritrade’s margin costs are between 6.25 and 9 percent, with a basic rate of 7.75 percent. TDA’s stock commission is $9.99 flat.

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When a stock’s value declines, short selling can be a lucrative strategy to profit, but it carries a significant risk and should only be used by seasoned investors. Even then, it should be used only in moderation and after carefully weighing the hazards.


Why is shorting so profitable?

Short sellers are betting that the price of the stock they are short selling will fall. If the stock falls in value after being sold, the short seller will buy it back at a reduced price and return it to the lender. The short seller’s profit is the difference between the sell and buys prices.

What happens if I short a stock and it goes to 0?

If the value of the borrowed shares falls to zero, the investor owes nothing to the security lender. If the borrowed shares lose all of their value, the return is 100%, which is the maximum possible for any short-sale investment.

How long can you short a stock?

There is no actual time limit on how long an investor can hold a short investment. The main criterion is that the broker is willing to lend the shares for shorting. Investors can hold short positions as long as they can meet the margin requirements.

Why is it risky to short-sell?

Short sellers bet that the price of a stock will fall. Short selling is riskier than long selling since the amount you can lose is theoretically unlimited. Speculators sell short to profit from a downturn, whereas hedgers sell short of safeguarding profits or reducing losses.

Who benefits from short selling?

A broker holding the shares often earns the most from a short sale deal since they can charge interest and commission on lending out the shares in their inventory. Due to the margin account agreement’s terms, the owner of the shares does not benefit.

You can learn more from the video below:

About Author

Shorting A Stock
Precious Ejimofor
My name is Precious Ejiofor, I am a professional self motivated, dependable writer and editor, with over 4 year of experience in writing for variety of business and platforms. I am able and capable to write on any kind of topic.
Specifically, I focus on producing persuasive and compelling contents that is thoughtful, prominent, and engaging.

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