Often I find stocks that are Hard To Borrow (HTB) and I want to short them. However, many times, I see that on Think or Swim, I can't since they're HTB. Is there an "easy" way to find HTB stocks using a particular broker?

  • If it's hard to borrow, are you sure you want to be shorting it? That gives you unlimited liability exposure in the likely event of a run-up. I mean people lost their houses on Volkswagen due to scarcity of buyable shares... – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 13 '19 at 7:06

There is no easy way to locate HTB stocks. The ability to borrow is a function of a broker's in house inventory as well as relationships with other brokers who are lending shares to short sellers. You have to check broker by broker.

For some brokers, this is a bread and butter activity while others like Vanguard will have little to no role in this activity since they discourage any form of trading, long or short (limited number of trades before they increase the commission charged).

In general, if a stock is HTB at your broker, it's HTB everywhere.

Per Benzinga's broker ratings, the best brokers for shorting are:

  • Interactive Brokers

  • Ally Invest

  • TD Ameritrade

  • Charles Schwab

If the stock is HTB, or even non borrowable, if it offers options and you have the option approval for selling naked options, you can duplicate a short position in the underlying with a Synthetic Short position (buy the put and sell the call, same strike and series).

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  • If a Synthetic Short position is opened, is it possible to protect oneself against the price going higher, in the same manner that I could have used a Stop or Stop/Limit with a regular short or is the options mechanism different? – Eric Jul 12 '19 at 22:17
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    You can place stop and limit orders, etc. with options. – Bob Baerker Jul 13 '19 at 0:02

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