Seven hedge funds bet millions on Irish banks falling

Irish Times – Seven international hedge funds have bet hundreds of millions of euro that Irish bank stocks will continue to fall.

Although it is normal stock market practice, since last Friday short-selling of the four Irish publicly quoted banks has been banned by the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. While the regulator banned investors from taking new short positions, existing positions can be maintained, reduced or closed.

By maintaining their positions, the hedge funds are betting that Irish bank stocks, already at record lows, are set to fall further. As it is not clear when the initial share trades took place, brokers said the actual monetary value of the bets is unclear.

However, using yesterday’s closing prices, the seven funds hold positions worth €279 million in the four quoted Irish banks.

Five US and two London-based funds have disclosed their short positions.

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