Back to top

Real Time Insight

This page is temporarily not available.  Please check later as it should be available shortly. If you have any questions, please email customer support at support@zacks.com or call 800-767-3771 ext.  9339.

One of the most talked about charts among bears and other value-minded investors is the level of margin debt on the NYSE. I take this version of the situation (data current as of June 30, 2013) from Doug Short, who has been keeping a close eye on the metric this year.

Doug has several versions of this data on his website. Here is his explanation of this chart and the patterns he is highlighting...

"This chart shows the two series (NYSE margin debt vs the S&P 500) in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today's dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. I picked 1995 as an arbitrary start date. We were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching the start of the Tech Bubble that shaped investor sentiment during the second half of the decade. The astonishing surge in leverage in late 1999 peaked in March 2000, the same month that the S&P 500 hit its an all-time daily high, although the highest monthly close for that year was five months later in August. A similar surge began in 2006, peaking in July, 2007, three months before the market peak."

Though it would be nice to see the July data that shows margin debt has declined from lofty levels above $300 billion, there are important themes here we should be asking about the peak in April and corresponding peaks to come in the market and in the Fed's QE programs.

Is the level of margin debt and its relationship to excess speculation cause for concern now?

Does it need to get washed out with a major correcction before the bull market can go higher?

On a related theme, while many smart people say that QE has been the sole driver of the stock market rally this year, I haven't seen any direct evidence to convince me of this supposed fact. Low interest rates clearly help the asset class, but Fed bond purchases don't directly put money in stocks. Call me naive, but I want to see the math first.

Where do you stand on QE and stock prices?

5 Stocks to Double in 2014

Today, you are invited to receive a free Special Report from Zacks Investment Research. It reveals five companies that could gain +100% and more in the next 12 months.

One is set to ride a little-known All-American energy boom. Another is a chip maker looking for big gains through Google Glass. Another could be the next alternative energy "Tesla."

Close This Panel X

Please login to Zacks.com or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research

Close

Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to Zacks.com?

Top Zacks Features

Learn more

Start for as little as $4.50 per trade.

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Zacks.com. Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
DIXIE GROUP DXYN 15.84 +7.90%
BOFL HOLDING BOFI 85.30 +4.97%
RAMBUS INC RMBS 12.31 +4.41%
VIPSHOP HOLD VIPS 148.73 +4.35%
NETFLIX INC NFLX 345.74 +4.32%