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Everything You Need to Know About Shorting Apple Stock

Everything You Need to Know About Shorting Apple Stock

Apple Inc. (AAPL) stands out as one of the most popular technology companies in the world, and it has attracted both long-term investors and short-term traders to speculate about its market performance. 

Short selling, often seen as a bold strategy in the stock market, involves betting against the upward movement of a particular stock. In this guide, we delve into shorting Apple stock, one of the most iconic and widely traded equities in the market. As a technology behemoth with a global presence, Apple's stock performance is closely scrutinized by investors.


Understanding the intricacies of shorting Apple stock requires a grasp of both the company's fundamentals and broader market dynamics. In this introductory section, we'll explore the concept of short selling and provide a brief overview of Apple Inc. and its significance in the financial world.


What Does It Mean to Short a Stock?

Shorting a stock is a way for investors to profit from a decline in the stock’s price. Here’s a breakdown of how the short-selling process works:


  • Borrow the selected stock from a broker. 
  • Sell the borrowed stock at the current market price. 
  • Wait for the stock price to decline. 
  • Buy back the stock at a lower price. 
  • Return the borrowed stock to the broker. 


This simplified explanation explains how short-selling works. It’s important to remember nuances beyond that, as short sellers must be approved for a margin account by their brokerage. Also, a stock borrowing fee is usually paid to the broker when short selling. 


Ways to Short Apple Stock


There are several different ways to short Apple stock beyond the traditional short-selling method outlined above. Some other methods, like using APPL short ETFs or Apple leveraged ETPs, can be more convenient depending on your risk tolerance and investment strategy. 


Traditional Short Selling Through a Brokerage 

The most direct way to short Apple stock is through short selling, where you borrow shares from a broker and sell them on the market with the intention of buying them back later at a lower price. This method allows you to profit from a decline in Apple's stock price. However, short selling involves unlimited potential losses if the stock price rises significantly.


Options Trading

Options provide another way to profit from a decline in Apple's stock price without the unlimited risk associated with short selling. You can buy put options on Apple stock, which give you the right to sell Apple shares at a predetermined price (the strike price) within a specified timeframe. Put options allow you to profit from a decrease in Apple's stock price while limiting your potential losses to the premium paid for the options.


AAPL Short ETFs 


For some investors, buying inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs) (also called bear ETFs and short ETFs) tied to Apple stock can be a more convenient and streamlined option than the traditional short-selling method. 


Inverse ETFs are designed to move in the opposite direction of a particular stock index or sector. Some inverse ETFs are specifically linked to the performance of technology companies, including Apple. By investing in an inverse technology ETF, you can profit from a decline in Apple's stock price indirectly.


Investors can access these short ETFs through a traditional brokerage without borrowing or maintaining collateral. There are also no margin calls, meaning traders cannot lose more than the initial investment through these ETFs. 


Leveraged Short ETPs (Exchange-Traded Products):


Leveraged short ETPs, such as leveraged inverse exchange-traded notes (ETNs) or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), provide another avenue for investors to profit from a decline in Apple's stock price with amplified returns. By investing in leveraged short ETPs, investors can magnify their gains if Apple's stock price falls as expected.


For example, when Apple stock (AAPL) drops by 1% daily, the GraniteShares 3x Short Apple ETP

would provide a 3% return because of the 3x multiplier. However, this can also extend losses when the stock price moves against you. 


This gives you magnified exposure to a single stock like Apple, which could amplify returns. However, plenty of risks are associated with these leveraged ETFs, and Leveraged ETPs they may not be suitable for every investor based on strategy and risk tolerance.


However, it's crucial to note that leveraged ETPs are designed for short-term trading and may not perfectly track the inverse performance of Apple stock over longer periods. Additionally, leveraged ETPs entail heightened risks, including compounding effects and potential loss of principal, especially in volatile markets.


Investment Strategies for Shorting Apple

Before deciding to short Apple stock, developing an investment strategy with a mapped-out plan for approaching this decision is best. For example, are you looking for a short-term trade, or are you hedging for a longer period of time? 


Short-term Trading 

This involves speculating that Apple’s stock will drop in the near future. Investors deploying this strategy could open a short position (or buy an inverse APPL ETF) and close it within a few days or weeks. This strategy requires frequent monitoring and quick decision-making with specific price targets in mind. 


Long-term Hedging


This comes when an investor believes that Apple’s stock will drop over a longer period of time, which could be several months or even more than a year. This is sometimes used to hedge against the “long” positions in an investment portfolio in the case of a price decrease or adverse market conditions. 


Risk Management Techniques 

There are several risk management techniques that every investor should be aware of before short-selling Apple’s stock or purchasing short ETFs tied to APPL. 


Using Stop-Loss Orders 

Stop-loss orders automatically close a position when the stock reaches a certain price. This can help prevent extreme downside if the stock catches extreme volatility. In other words, you are not as exposed to steep losses. 


Event-Based Trading

Capitalize on specific events or catalysts that could negatively impact Apple's stock price, such as product recalls, regulatory investigations, legal disputes, or disappointing earnings announcements. Anticipate market reactions to these events and initiate short positions accordingly.


Adequate Position Sizing 

Considering your risk tolerance and how shorting APPL fits into your overall investment strategy is an essential first step. Those elements will also help you determine your position sizing so that you are not exposed to too much risk in a single stock.


Constant Monitoring & Review 

As mentioned earlier, using leveraged and inverse ETFs tends to be more of a short-term strategy. For this reason, constant monitoring, reviewing, and tweaking your strategy based on evolving market conditions is helpful to limit risk. 


Risks and Challenges


Understand that market volatility is real, especially when you build an investment strategy around shorting a single stock. That’s why the risk management techniques outlined above are very important to consider while building a plan prior to investing. 


Stock prices can fluctuate due to broad market conditions, economic events, or company-specific news. Sometimes, this volatility can lead to unexpected losses, so it’s important to have an exit plan for both gains and losses. 


On top of that, there are also borrowing costs and fees associated with short selling through a traditional brokerage. Therefore, this strategy is best left to experienced traders, and it makes sense to read your brokerage’s rules thoroughly and the costs associated with short selling.  


Moreover, shorting Apple stock carries significant risks and challenges that investors must carefully consider. One of the primary risks is the potential for unlimited losses. In traditional stock investments, losses are limited to the amount invested, but short selling can result in losses that exceed the initial investment.


If Apple's stock price rises substantially, short sellers are forced to buy back shares at a much higher price than they sold them for, leading to significant financial losses. This risk is compounded by the inherent volatility of Apple's stock, which is heavily traded and can experience sudden price movements driven by news, earnings reports, or shifts in market sentiment.


Another major challenge is the possibility of a short squeeze. A short squeeze occurs when a heavily shorted stock experiences a sharp price increase, forcing short sellers to buy back shares to cover their positions, further driving up the price. Apple’s high profile and market presence make it susceptible to short squeezes, especially if positive news or strong earnings reports emerge.


Additionally, short sellers are responsible for paying any dividends declared on the borrowed shares, which can add to costs and reduce profitability. The cost of borrowing shares to short can also vary, impacting the overall cost structure of maintaining a short position.





Shorting Apple stock comes with inherent risk, so it requires careful planning. Keep in mind how the short selling process works, and make sure you have a well-thought-out exit strategy with stop-loss orders and scenarios to prevent large losses. 


In addition, it makes sense to explore whether purchasing short ETFs tied to APPL is an easier and more convenient approach than the traditional short-selling process through a brokerage. 


Investors can achieve this through GraniteShares -3x Short Apple ETP (ticker: 3SAP), currently available for trading on the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Paris, and Borsa Italiana.


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This blog does not constitute an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy securities in any company. Nothing contained herein constitutes investment, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied upon in making an investment or other decision. No recommendation is made positive or otherwise, regarding individual securities or investments mentioned herein. Any summary list of risk factors does not purport to be a complete enumeration or explanation of the risks involved in a particular investment. Prospective clients must consult with their own legal, tax and financial advisers before deciding to invest. This email contains the opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change without notice. The source of data is GraniteShares unless otherwise stated. No guarantee is made to the accuracy of the information provided which has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. This email and the information contained herein is intended only for the use of persons (or entities they represent) to whom it has been provided. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.  The value of an investment may go down as well as up and can result in losses, up to and including a total loss of the amount initially invested. Investments may involve numerous risks including, among others, company risks, general market risks, credit risks, foreign exchange risks, interest rate risks, geopolitical risks and liquidity risks.  Please note that GraniteShares short and leveraged Exchange Traded Products are for sophisticated investors.

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