Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Margin Debt....Until The Bubble Bursts

Margin Debt....Until The Bubble Bursts

Critics of today's fiat currency/fractional reserve banking world have (for what seems like forever) made the common sense point that when debt rises faster than cash flow, bad things are bound to happen. In every cycle since 1980 this has been dismissed by the vast majority who benefit from inflating bubbles — until the bubble bursts.

And here we go again. 

The following chart shows the relationship between margin debt (money borrowed by investors against existing stock positions in order to buy more stock) and cash on hand in brokerage accounts. The idea is that when investors hold lots of cash they're pessimistic, and when they borrow a lot they're optimisitc. Extremes of either tend to signal changes in market direction. At the end of 2015 investors were even more excited than at the peak of the housing bubble, indicating that there's not much retail money left to be tossed at US stocks.


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