Monday, November 24, 2008

New push to curb short-selling

Miriam Steffens
November 24, 2008

COMPANIES whose stocks came under heavy attack last week from short-sellers are hoping that a meeting of international sharemarket regulators will bring some respite, having so far unsuccessfully lobbied Canberra and the market watchdog in Australia.

The chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Christopher Cox, said on Friday he would convene a telephone conference of international regulators tonight to discuss "urgent regulatory issues" dealing with the sharemarket meltdown, which sent America’s S&P 500 down 8.4 per cent last week and prompted a 7.5 per cent slump on the Australian sharemarket.

"In addressing turbulent market conditions, it is essential not only that regulators act against securities law violations, including abusive short-selling, but also that there be close co-ordination among international markets to avoid regulatory gaps and unintended consequences," Mr Cox said.

The talks would also look at whether recent steps to reduce manipulative short-selling, such as temporary bans, were effective.

The meeting comes after industry groups and companies targeted by short-sellers in Australia started lobbying the chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Tony D’Aloisio, and the Minister for Corporate Law, Nick Sherry, last week.

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