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Hard-To-Borrow List


A Hard-To-Borrow List is a record of securities that are difficult or costly to obtain for the purpose of short selling. This list is compiled by brokerage firms and typically consists of securities with limited supply, high demand, or low liquidity. As a result, the process of borrowing these securities for short selling becomes more challenging and expensive.


The phonetics of the keyword “Hard-To-Borrow List” can be represented as:/ˈhɑrd tu ˈbɑrou ˈlɪst/

Key Takeaways

  1. Hard-To-Borrow List consists of financial instruments, mainly stocks, that are difficult or expensive for investors to find, loan, or short sell due to their limited availability or high demand.
  2. Being on the Hard-To-Borrow List can be a result of various factors, such as low liquidity, increased market demand, or regulatory issues, which can lead to higher borrowing costs for short sellers.
  3. It is important for investors and traders to be aware of the Hard-To-Borrow List, as it can influence their trading strategies, limit their short selling opportunities, and potentially affect market volatility.


The Hard-To-Borrow List is important in the realm of business and finance because it serves as a crucial reference for securities that are in high demand for short selling but have limited availability for borrowing. This list helps investors and financial institutions to identify and assess the difficulty and cost associated with short selling specific securities. Typically, stocks that appear on this list tend to have higher borrowing fees, reflecting the scarcity of shares to be lent and substantial interest from short sellers. Understanding the implications of the Hard-To-Borrow List enables market participants to make informed decisions by gauging the risks, potential returns, and liquidity constraints related to short selling certain securities, thereby contributing to an efficient market environment.


The Hard-To-Borrow List serves as a vital tool in the securities lending market, primarily catering to investors interested in short selling a particular stock. Short selling is an investment strategy where an investor borrows shares of a security, sells them, and later repurchases them at a lower price to return to the lender, thus profiting from the decline in the security’s value. A Hard-To-Borrow List encompasses a range of less available securities that might be difficult to acquire for short selling purposes due to limited supply, high demand, or other factors leading to scarcity in the lending market. The list enables investors to make informed decisions on which securities to avoid, considering the challenges and risks associated with obtaining them for short sale transactions. Publicly available and persistently updated by financial institutions and brokers, the Hard-To-Borrow List fosters market transparency and efficiency. Investors who still intend to short sell a security from the list should anticipate added costs or charges stemming from the scarcity of available shares. Nevertheless, the list’s existence contributes to price stabilization and equilibrium as it supports the identification of overpriced stocks and the subsequent correction of their value in the market. Additionally, the Hard-To-Borrow List can be an indicator of the market’s bearish sentiment towards a certain security, highlighting potential shortcomings in certain stocks and urging investors to exercise caution in their investment decisions.


The Hard-To-Borrow List refers to a list of securities that are not readily available for borrowing in the market, often due to low liquidity or high demand. These stocks are typically harder and more expensive to borrow for short selling purposes. Here are three real-world examples: 1. GameStop Corp. (GME) in January 2021: During the notorious GameStop short squeeze episode, the stock experienced an unusually high spike in demand. Due to limited supply and high borrowing costs, GameStop shares became hard-to-borrow, making it challenging for short sellers to continue betting against the company’s fortunes. 2. Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) in the early 2010s: In the initial years following Tesla’s debut on the stock market, the company frequently appeared on hard-to-borrow lists due to its high short interest and limited float. As its popularity grew among investors and short sellers, available shares for borrowing became scarce, and borrowing costs rose significantly. 3. Various cannabis stocks in 2018-2019: During the cannabis industry boom, many cannabis-related companies, such as Tilray Inc. (TLRY) and Cronos Group Inc. (CRON), experienced high short interest as investors aimed to capitalize on potential overvaluations. The high demand for these stocks, coupled with their limited availability, led to their inclusion on hard-to-borrow lists, resulting in higher borrowing costs for short sellers.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Hard-to-Borrow List?
A Hard-to-Borrow List is a compilation of securities that are difficult to be borrowed or acquired for the purpose of short selling. The list is created and maintained by financial institutions, clearing firms, or brokerage houses, and typically includes stocks with limited supply or those that are in high demand.
Why do some securities end up on the Hard-to-Borrow List?
Securities can end up on the Hard-to-Borrow List for several reasons, including low float, low trading volume, high demand due to short interest, regulatory restrictions, company-specific news, or high borrowing costs.
How does being on the Hard-to-Borrow List affect short selling?
Being on the Hard-to-Borrow List makes it more difficult and expensive to execute a short sale on a security. Investors may face higher interest rates on the borrowed shares, limited availability, or may even be unable to borrow the shares entirely, impacting their short selling strategies.
How can an investor know if a security is on the Hard-to-Borrow List?
An investor can inquire with their brokerage firm about a security’s status on the Hard-to-Borrow List. Brokerage firms typically have access to the list and may be able to share whether a particular security is hard to borrow or not.
Can securities be removed from the Hard-to-Borrow List?
Yes, securities can be removed from the Hard-to-Borrow List, as the list is regularly updated and changes depending on various factors, including market conditions, trade activity, regulation changes, and the availability of shares for borrowing. An increase in a stock’s float or a reduction in short interest, for example, can make it eligible for removal from the list.
Is it possible to short sell a security on the Hard-to-Borrow List?
While it may be possible to short sell a security on the Hard-to-Borrow List, the process can be more challenging and expensive for the investor. Higher interest rates, limited availability of shares, and increased transaction costs might affect the overall risk and return of the short selling strategy.

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