Margin Debt Outpaces S&P

Margin debt – borrowing to buy stocks – has shot ahead of the S&P. It normally follows the index up and down. When margined stock gets ahead of the market, any significant drop is in danger of snowballing as stock is sold to cover the margin. Call it the old fashioned type of Flash Crash, of the sort we saw in 1929 when stock was bought with subprime margin (90% margin on 10% cash), or right after the Lehman debacle when TARP was pronounced (see chart, courtesy PragCap). How the ‘bots might handle that we may find out – technicians are all over themselves with expectations of a 5-7% drop as early as tomorrow.

About Duncan Davidson 228 Articles

Affiliation: NetService Ventures

Duncan is an advisor to NetService Ventures, where he focuses on digital media and the mobile Internet.

Previously he was at four start-ups: Xumii, a mobile social service based on a Social Addressbook; SkyPilot Networks, the performance leader of wireless mesh systems for last-mile access, where he was the founding CEO; Covad Communications (Amex: DVW, $9B market cap at the peak), the leading independent DSL access provider, where he was the founding Chairman; InterTrust Technologies ($9B market cap at the peak), the pioneer in digital rights management technologies, now owned by Sony and Philips, where he was SVP Business Development and the pitchman for the IPO.

Before these ventures, Duncan was a partner at Cambridge Venture Partners, an early-stage venture firm, and managing partner of Gemini McKenna, a joint venture between Regis McKenna's marketing firm and Gemini Consulting, the global management consulting arm of Cap Gemini.

He serves on the board or is an adviser to Aggregate Knowledge (content discovery), Livescribe (digital pen), AllVoices (citizen journalism), Xumii (mobile social addressbook), Verismo (Internet settop box), and Widevine (DRM for IPTV).

Visit: Duncan Davidson's Blogs

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