Hard-To-Borrow List


When it comes to investing, there are various strategies and techniques that investors employ to maximize their returns. One such strategy is short selling, which involves borrowing shares of a stock and selling them with the expectation that the price will decline, allowing the investor to buy them back at a lower price and return them to the lender. However, not all stocks are readily available for borrowing, and this is where the concept of the “Hard-To-Borrow List” comes into play.

What is the Hard-To-Borrow List?

The Hard-To-Borrow List is a compilation of stocks that are difficult to borrow for short selling purposes. These stocks are typically in high demand by short sellers, making them scarce and expensive to borrow. The list is maintained by brokerage firms and is constantly updated based on market conditions and availability.

Short sellers who wish to borrow shares of a stock that is on the Hard-To-Borrow List may face additional fees or restrictions. This is because the scarcity of these stocks makes them riskier for brokerage firms to lend out, as they may have difficulty finding replacement shares if the borrower fails to return them.

Why are Stocks Added to the Hard-To-Borrow List?

Stocks can be added to the Hard-To-Borrow List for a variety of reasons. Some common factors that contribute to a stock's inclusion on the list include:

  • High short interest: Stocks with a high level of short interest, meaning a large number of investors have borrowed and sold shares, are more likely to be added to the list. This is because the demand for borrowing these stocks exceeds the available supply.
  • Limited float: Stocks with a limited float, or the number of shares available for trading, are also more likely to be on the list. When the float is small, it is easier for short sellers to create a shortage of available shares, driving up borrowing costs.
  • News or events: Stocks that are subject to significant news or events, such as earnings announcements or regulatory decisions, may be added to the list. This is because these events can create volatility and uncertainty, making short selling riskier.

Implications for Short Sellers

For short sellers, the inclusion of a stock on the Hard-To-Borrow List can have several implications:

  • Higher borrowing costs: Short sellers may have to pay higher fees to borrow shares of stocks on the list. This can eat into potential profits and make short selling less attractive.
  • Limited availability: Stocks on the list may have limited availability, meaning short sellers may have difficulty finding shares to borrow. This can result in missed opportunities or delays in executing short selling strategies.
  • Increased risk: Short selling stocks on the Hard-To-Borrow List can be riskier due to the potential for limited availability and higher borrowing costs. Short sellers need to carefully assess the risk-reward profile of these trades.

Case Study: Tesla on the Hard-To-Borrow List

A notable example of a stock that has been on the Hard-To-Borrow List is Tesla Inc. (TSLA). Tesla has been a popular target for short sellers due to its high valuation and controversial CEO, Elon Musk. As a result, the demand for borrowing Tesla shares has often exceeded the available supply, leading to its inclusion on the list.

When Tesla was on the Hard-To-Borrow List, short sellers faced higher borrowing costs and limited availability of shares. This made it more challenging for them to execute their short selling strategies and potentially limited their ability to profit from a decline in Tesla's stock price.

However, it is important to note that being on the Hard-To-Borrow List does not guarantee that a stock will decline in price. Tesla, for example, has experienced significant price volatility, and short sellers who were unable to borrow shares may have missed out on potential profits if the stock price increased.


The Hard-To-Borrow List is an important tool for investors engaged in short selling strategies. It provides valuable information on stocks that are difficult to borrow, helping investors assess the availability and cost of borrowing shares for short selling purposes. Stocks are added to the list based on factors such as high short interest, limited float, and significant news or events. Short sellers need to be aware of the implications of trading stocks on the list, including higher borrowing costs, limited availability, and increased risk.

While the Hard-To-Borrow List can be a useful resource, it is important for investors to conduct their own research and analysis before making any investment decisions. Short selling can be a complex and risky strategy, and investors should carefully consider their risk tolerance and investment goals before engaging in these types of trades.

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