Lying stock promoters: & the FINRA short reports

One tactic that many stock promoters use over and over again to explain why their stock promotions are followed by large stock price declines is to blame it on the short sellers. Unfortunately, FINRA abets these lies by publishing without adequate explanation data required by the SEC’s Regulation SHO. This data provides information on every share sold each day. Time and and time again I have seen stock promoters use this data to ‘show’ that the stock they are promoting is getting attacked by short sellers.

See the text of the most recent email I received from the various websites (emphasis mine):

Valued Subscribers,
Welcome New Members,
VKMD experienced a fantastic start last Thursday where many of our subscribers secured substantial gains.

However, due to a major short attack, gains were quickly reversed. We believe this was deliberate, the Finra reg sho list indicates nearly 11 million shares were shorted last Thursday.

Simply put, VKMD did not end the way we hoped despite great developments we hear may be announced in coming days.

In a recent email, we had mentioned we were under new management. Due to events of the past week, the new management team has been removed and we are back under the same great team that brought you the likes of ECIT and AGRT.

We are hard at work on our next pick, and we will see you some time in October!

Your Dedicated Team at TBX

Searching the large text file linked above yields the following information for VKMD for the given date (formatted by me to enhance legibility):

Date      |Symbol      |ShortVolume   |ShortExemptVolume    |TotalVolume     |Market
20120906      |VKMD       |10843159        |0                                |37378406         |O

This data appears to show that out of 37,378,406 shares traded, 10,843,159 shares were sold short. This is not false, but it doesn’t mean that short sellers or market makers increased their net short position by 10 million shares. Rather, this shows all sales where the shares being sold were not already in the seller’s possession. This includes speculative short sellers, both retail traders and market makers. But far more important are market makers selling large blocks of stock. In those cases, a large shareholder might tell their broker to sell one million shares and then rather enter one big order, the broker will give the order to a market maker such as NITE to slowly sell the shares over the course of a day. The market maker sells the shares short and does not take possession of the shares it is selling until it has completed its share sales. For Reg SHO reporting purposes, these are short sales, but the market maker is not taking a speculative short position — at the end of the day the seller delivers the shares to the market maker who then delivers those shares to the buyers of the stock.

So the next time a stock promoter links to the FINRA Reg SHO short data to show that a stock dropped because of short sellers, you will know that they are lying. In fact, many times the large block sellers whose shares are sold in such a way to make them show up as ‘short sales’ in the FINRA data are the stock promoters or the people who pay for the stock promotion. So the promoters are not innocently wrong — they lie through their teeth even though they know better.

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Disclaimer: No relationship with any parties named above and no positions in any stocks or funds mentioned. This blog has a terms of use that is incorporated by reference into this post; you can find all my disclaimers and disclosures there as well.

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