Levered Beta Uber Alles: NYSE Borse Margin Debt Jumps To Three Year Highs, Investor Net Worth Remains At Record Lows
As we have been saying for over a year, the levered beta rally, and nothing but the levered beta rally (also known as the "if there is career risk involved then you must go all in" rally) continues to be the only trade in the stock market. For today's confirmation we go to the just released April margin debt data from the NYSE which confirms that in April, despite the turbulence of March, investors actually levered up even more, bringing total margin debt to another 3 year high, and at $320 billion (a $5 billion increase from March), and the highest since the $334.9 billion in February of 2008, just before Bear Stearns became the first bank to keel over and die. And it still has a way to go: the all time high was hit in July 2007, when it was $381 billion. What does not have a way to go, is Investor Net Worth expressed as Margin debt less Free Credit Cash and Credit Balances in Margin Accounts: this stayed flat M/M at essentially the lowest level ever of just under ($75) billion. Bottom line: for another month virtually nobody wants or dares to take profit on existing positions. We can only hope all those hundreds of billions in margin dollars succeed to exit at the same time in an orderly fashion when the inevitable unwind finally does occur.
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