The SEC said today it has temporarily banned short-selling shares in 799 companies, "to protect the integrity and quality of the securities market". The SEC acted a day after the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority took similar emergency action in London. The moves are intended to halt short-sellers from profiting from massive sales that drive down the price of already shaky securities, particularly in the U.S.' troubled financial sector.
The SEC also announced that it will temporarily require that "institutional money managers report their new short sales of certain publicly traded securities. These money managers are already required to report their long positions in these securities."
And it will temporarily ease restrictions "on the ability of securities issuers to re-purchase their securities. This change will give issuers more flexibility to buy back their securities, and help restore liquidity during this period of unusual and extraordinary market volatility."