The Uptick Rule of Short Sale Regulation — Can it Alleviate Downward Price Pressure from Negative Earnings Shocks?

Rutgers Business Law Journal, Vol. 5, p. 1, 2008

U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 07-20

64 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2007 Last revised: 13 Nov 2009

Lynn Bai

University of Cincinnati - College of Law

Date Written: January 15, 2007

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of the uptick rule (including the bid test applicable to NASDAQ stocks) of short sale regulations on stock prices and short selling activities immediately after negative earnings surprises that occurred during the period of May to November 2005. It compares price paths and short selling activities of stocks restricted by the uptick rule with stocks that were exempted from the rule as a result of the SEC's Pilot Program. The study has not found any evidence that prices of stocks subject to the rule declined at a slower speed than prices of exempted stocks at times of stress. The two groups of stocks had similar levels of short sale volumes despite the rule's prohibition on short selling at minus or zero-minus ticks. For NYSE and AMEX stocks, our study shows that market short orders whose immediate executions were barred by the uptick rule found execution opportunities against the upcoming buy orders within 15 minutes after their conversion into limit orders at the legally shortable price. For NASDAQ stocks, our study shows that up bids occurred with high frequency after negative earnings surprises and jointly with price improvements they offered generous execution opportunities to short sale orders.

Keywords: short sale, uptick rule, short volume, short price, short sale execution

JEL Classification: G28, K00, K22

Suggested Citation

Bai, Lynn, The Uptick Rule of Short Sale Regulation — Can it Alleviate Downward Price Pressure from Negative Earnings Shocks? (January 15, 2007). Rutgers Business Law Journal, Vol. 5, p. 1, 2008; U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 07-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=956106

Lynn Bai (Contact Author)

University of Cincinnati - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210040
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040
United States
513-556-0194 (Phone)

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