By: Tyler Durden
August 26, 2014
One can debate whether or not margin debt as reported by the NYSE has any relevance in a world in which the retail investor is long gone, and where the marginal buyer are hedge funds (and primary dealers who use excess reserves as collateral for marginable derivatives and futures) who fund themselves using far more arcane “shadow” repo conduits as we have explained previously, it is indisputable that the leverage statistics disclosed monthly by New York Stock Exchange provide a useful glimpse into how the broader market is obtaining “dry powder” to keep BTFATH.
And while in July margin debt did dip modestly from near all time highs hit back in June when total margin debt was virtually tied with the previous record, at $464 billion, it was that other metric tracked by the NYSE, namely Investor Net Worth, calculated by subtracting margin debt from the notional represented in free credit cash accounts and credit balances in margin accounts, that was the notable highlight in the July report: at a negative $182.1 billion, a decline of $6.3 billion from the prior month, investor Net Worth has never been lower.
This happens to be a deficit which is more than twice as large as the net worth shortfall reached during the last market bubble, which hit ($79) billion, peaking during the quant freakout in the summer of 2007 and subsequently surging to a record high of $184.6 billion in August 2008, as repo desks closed all margin positions with virtually any and every counterparty, leaving everyone in a position of record high “net worth.”
Does this, or anything else, matter in a market that is exclusively centrally-planned by the central banks and various HFT algos? We urge you to direct your questions, rhetorical as they may be, on this topic to either the NY Fed or its oftentime execution trading arm, Citadel.
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