NEW YORK (Real Money) -- The short side's been a nightmare this year even when you have everything going for you. Thursday's session typified the difficulties. What was the lay-up trade? I think it had to be the shorting of anything oil and gas.
It made a ton of sense, right? Oil started trading down pretty much from the get go. The group's been in a house of pain with all of the charts pretty much broken.
Must Read: 10 Stocks George Soros Is Buying
Plus you had a conference call Friday from Helmerich & Payne (HP) that was pretty much made to order for the short sellers, because the management of this scrupulously honest company didn't mince words. John Lindsay, the recently appointed CEO, said that in the previous quarter when oil was hovering between $90 and $100 he was asked "what type of pricing level would it have to get to in order to see a change in behavior or see less activity -- and of course the answer was $75 to $80, where it is today."
It didn't matter that this terrific company reported amazing earnings. Nor did it matter that the company went on to say that there had not been a change in behavior as yet, even though it was ready for one. Nope, with that one comment this stock, which had already been falling from $84, accelerated in its decline and crashed to $77.
That decline triggered a wave of selling in all of the companies that have anything to do with contract drilling or oil services and that, plus the continual selling in the oil pits, made for some super aggressive shorting.
Until 3:33 p.m. That's when Dow Jones broke the story that Halliburton (HAL) is in advanced talks to buy chief rival Baker Hughes (BHI) at an undisclosed price but at a substantial premium to the $48 dollar price at the moment, down three from where it started trading.
Suddenly the stock starts climbing and then gets halted as the news comes out. Next thing you know, the whole group starts turning. Helmerich & Payne, which had been trading at $77, beelines right to $81. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) soars from $42 almost right to $45.
There's chaos everywhere.