Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thin at the Margins

Slow week as I get back into things. Maybe will work on some ideas for trades later in the week.

Thin at the Margins
Earlier in May it was noted many places that margin debt had been on the rise in a big way. Pragmatic Capitalist had this to say on May 9th:
As we noted earlier this year, margin debt has tended to correlate fairly closely with the direction of the equity market. And according to the latest data from the NYSE, margin debt continues to move higher. In an effort to ride the coattails of the Fed and QE2′s “can’t lose” environment, investors have dipped into their borrowings to buy equities.
There was a chart from Gluskin Sheff:

So what should happen when speculative excess gets out of hand and people are getting a little crazy running in the markets? If you answered increase margin costs to reign in the party, you would be right as it pertains to silver. When we are talking stocks the best answer is to lower margin costs, well it's just the right thing to do:
And Scene: CME LOWERS ES, SP, YM Margins, Despite An INCREASE In Realized Vol

I will say that I am sure this is 100% normal. Fun times indeed.

Have a good night.

58 comments:

watchtower said...

This poem was in the Nov 2nd 1929edition of the New York Times:

"As fall the leaves by

Autumn blown,

So fell those lovely

shares I own.

Forlorn, disconsolate

I sing,

Goodbye, goodbye to

everything!

To car and plane and

gleaming yacht

And rather ducal

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everything!"

They was digging that 'margin' in the twenties.

getyourselfconnected said...

AWESOME find! Nice.

scharfy said...

Gotta disagree here. CME performance bond requirements apply to both longs and shorts, for all products. The available leverage is expanded and contracted based on a number of factors, but these changes apply to BOTH buyers and sellers.

After this reduction in equity index margins, people can lever long OR short with a little less money.

Accordingly, the hikes in silver requirements hamstrung leveraged buyers and sellers equally. If you attribute market selloffs in silver to margin changes, that would imply heavily leveraged longs. Or as they call them - paper longs :)

Plenty of problems out there but the CME runs a pretty fair ship I would say.

getyourselfconnected said...

Margin is a measure of speculation and leverage, both long and short as you say. That some markets had margin increases while stocks get less was comical, and was rewarded today with a killer sell off especially the banks. Surely they must raise margins now? Or will they ban shorts again?

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