The short story

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The decision by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) to end its four-month ban on the short selling of 34 financial stocks, as planned, on January 16 was met with incredulity by politicians and certain parts of the media. Calls for a longer - or even permanent ban - seemed vindicated by a sharp drop in financial stocks immediately after the embargo ended, blamed by some commentators on speculators profiting from the misfortune of others.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) fell from 39.9 pence at

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