While no-one is likely to change their mind on this — the vilification of short-sellers is more or less complete — but let’s keep working away at it. Here is some data on the role of short-sellers in Morgan Stanley’s decline this week, specifically the presence that short-sellers had in Morgan Stanley stock. The numbers reflect the percentage of MS’s market value sold short at the time in question (according to Data Explorers):
July 2008: 7% (peak)
Sept. 1, 2008: 2%
Sept. 16, 2008: 2.8%
Are these numbers non-zero? Yes. Are they monstrously large, as conspiracy theorists are alleging? No. Are they large in historical terms? No. And had we hit new peaks in recent weeks? No.