"To sell short on Sth"?

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Mehrgan

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Hi all,

Would you please tell me what the meaning of this idiom might be? It's used in a context where people are talking about time travel. A speaker discusses the idea if we can change things and events as we travel back in time. Once he says, "...and can I sell short on Wall Street just before the Crash?"
And, please note that 'Crash' is capitalised.

Thanks in advance.
 

yuriya

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"Selling short" means selling securities (stocks usually) before you own them.
How is it possible? Actually what you do is borrow stocks from others, sell them in the market, and buy them back when the price goes down making profit. Of course if the prices go up, you will end up incurring loss, which is the difference in prices plus interests and other administrative fees. So, it would be a smart thing to do if you could time travel back to the Crash!
 
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BobK

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:up: yuriya's right. Of course, to make sure the price of the stocks goes down, you can start hostile rumours, or otherwise belittle them. So 'selling short' is often used colloquially with no reference to the stock market. 'Don't sell yourself short', for example, means 'don't undervalue yourself'.

The 'on' in your quote isn't part of the phrasal verb 'sell short'; it just refers to where they do it - 'on Wall Street'.

b
 
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