IB 'Looking for shares' to short

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by FanOfFridays, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Entered a few orders to short tomorrow morning via TWS. Green Binoculars popped up and message says 'Order is being monitored and held. Shares for this short sale are not immediately available. The order will be held while we attempt to locate the shares'.

    I'm new to IB so... can anyone give me an indication of how this usually plays out? I made them Day orders because obviously I don't want them triggering sometime in the future. Recent thread about IB orders triggering long after cancellation has me thinking here, that's for sure.

    I know the obvious answer here is 'They are looking and will fill you at your limit or better if they find them'. Just want to see if anyone has any experience with this message.

    Symbols are BTH, SVU, SYK


    EDIT: Wow!! Green Binoculars gone in the time it took me to type this! 0220 EST!!
  2. I primarily trade futures, but I do trade stocks periodically. At one time I got a message of the type you're talking about. Later they sent me a message as I recall giving me a quote on how many shares I could borrow to short, and what it would cost me. (There was some type of nominal charge as I recall).

    What they don't do is bing, bang, boom....you're in the trade.

    As an aside, after 8 years of very heavy trading, I've never had a phantom order re-appear and suddenly execute. My suggestion is that you allow the thread in question to play out. Hopefully in the end you will find out what the facts are, because clearly out of the many, many customers and all of the total trades that take place, there are very few reports of this type of thing taking place. I wouldn't draw a conclusion right now.

  3. Thanks OT. As you know I started to suspect that the ET bashers were generally just incompetents who couldn't be bothered to learn the platofrm.

    I will admit that it is a bit disturbing to me that IB would tell the guy that the case was closed and then another IB guy here would say that they will do their DD and get to the bottom of it.

    Of course that assumes that the OP over there is telling the truth which is always a leap of faith.

    I was filled on my shorts at the open with no extra charges apparent so the message didn't seem to affect me.
  4. vikana

    vikana Moderator

    Depending on what you trade, you can get the "locate" binoculars from time to time. It's ultimate a matter of a limited short list at IB; bigger brokers will have more inventory.

    I get locates from time to time, but now (via the API) cancel the locate orders. I don't want to deal with it.
  5. Actually...
    I would have described IB Shortable List as average one year ago...
    But it has improved dramatically in the last 12 months to GREAT...
    And I trade very exotic, hard-to-find stocks.

    That said...
    All the "locate" functions implemented by IB have been idiotic...
    And an insult to a trader's intelligence.

    This is typical of how IB is always re-inventing the wheel... poorly.

    Instead of running Stock Loan the way it's been done on Wall Street for 50 years...
    They get some programmer to invent a silly "locate" function.

    As a trader...
    If I cannot specify how many shares I need and get a Yes/No answer in 5-10 minutes...
    Then the "locate" function is useless.
  6. Thanks guys. I'm a bit surprised that IB can't tap into a bigger short pool. Could inter-broker competition be that fierce that they won't make money off of each other by facilitating supply?