Small investors are having fun in the stock market again, after years of sitting out the most phenomenal rally. They’re leveraging up their portfolios. Margin debt is spiking beautifully. Alas, spiking margin debt has a nasty habit of ending in a crash. In one painful chart.
With over 6,400 stores in 26 countries outside the US, Walmart International has smacked into the same problems Walmart has encountered in the US: it’s tough out there.
By Don Quijones: The new trade agreements have little to do with promoting free trade. They’re about extending the power and control of the world’s largest corporations.
Every bubble has its ultimate, craziest, mostest, farthest-outest deal. Its craziness can no longer be exceeded. Buyers simply vanish. Sellers get desperate. Newfangled theories and metrics sink into a morass of ridicule. And lots of money goes up in smoke.
Danièle Nouy, chair of the ECB’s newfangled bank regulator that doesn’t exist yet, had a term for it: “do whatever has to be done” so that the banking sector “is seen as sound and safe and transparent.” Is seen as…. Smoke and mirrors.
Last quarter was tough on large US corporations – those in the S&P 500 index. Unperturbed, the index soared all year. But its 343 companies that have reported so far have exposed the ugly underbelly of the worldwide economy: revenue “growth.”
It’s “a technology everyone is going to have,” said a Bay Area real estate broker as he explained why realtors use drones to shoot aerial videos of high-end properties. And it’s illegal. But no one is going to be able to stop it, he implied.
It’s not like Europe is out of the woods, after years of recession, lurching from bank bailout to country bailout, and sweeping remaining fetid matters under the rug. But its banks are now sinking deeper into an even greater morass: the emerging-markets fiasco.
The last stock-market bears have gone into hibernation, browbeaten and humiliated and ridiculed by years of brilliant rallies. Clinging to their analyses and the now silly notion that stocks should trade based on economic realities, they lost clients and money and their jobs.
The Fed must have seen the relentlessly spiking margin debt. Leverage is a sign of investor confidence. The great accelerator. On the way up. And on the way down. Margin debt has a nasty, very consistent habit of peaking just when the stock market begins to crash.