Email of the day on margin debt balances
Comment of the Day

November 29 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on margin debt balances

Eoin wanted to know the source of the margin Debt issue. it's the Felder Report. 


The margin data is now published by FINRA - my inexperienced eye believes that the article has over-stated the reduction of margin somewhat. (It's Ha Ha) - marginal. 

FINRA took over reporting:  

Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you for these educational emails covering an important subject. Margin debt balances had long been a useful indicator of appetite for risk in the markets but the NYSE stopped producing the data in 2017. Generally speaking, margin debt balances turn downwards, from a new high, ahead of a major reversal in the stock market. There has been a great deal of speculation recently about whether that is what we are seeing today.

The chart in the Felder report above is a ratio rather than the absolute data so it is not a like for like comparison. Margin debt to GDP has moderated over the last couple of years which suggests less risk taking relative to the growth in the economy. That’s suggests value creation to me and stored potential for greater risk taking to me.

The FINRA data does not marry up exactly with the NYSE data but it is reasonably similar. The totals over the last couple of years have been rangebound in much the same manner as the stock market for the last couple of years so it will be instructive to monitor these figures over coming months to see if they begin to trend higher with the stock market.

Meanwhile Wall Street indices continue to hold their respective breakouts and developed markets internationally are staging catch up rallies.

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