And so the wave of beta chasers has once again be caught flat footed. Following the 11% jump in the S&P, hedge funds, which are now down 2% YTD (more on that shortly) and getting killed with redemption requests, it was only natural that in focusing solely on performance and not on fundamentals, that margin debt would increase. Sure enough, the NYSE has reported that in October, margin debt jumped by $21 billion, the most since June 2007's $25 billion... just in time for the market rout. And as funds levered up yet again, net worth, which nets out free credit cash accounts and cash balances in margin accounts, plunged by $46 billion, the most since the Lehman collapse which saw net worth implode by $184 billion. And just as the market ramped for no reason in October, it has now already retraced almost half the gains in the prior month. Oops.
And the stock market performance in the past two months: