Two months rally + long markets = correction?

March 7, 2012

The debate in global financial markets is whether the new year’s rally is either just pausing or coming to an end.

Many say the rally so far has been driven by only thin volumes (for more on volumes read this story) and thin volume rallies tend to outlive high volume stampedes.

The market certainly seems to be getting very long — which itself suggests that the market was due for a correction one way or another.

Data Explorers, provider of securities lending data tracking and short selling and fund activity across 20,000 institutional funds, says the value of stock on loan stands at $706.5 bln as of the beginning of March, its highest since December 7, against a lendable supply of $7.4 trln.

(Click on the graph to enlarge)

This means longs outnumber shorts by over 10 times — close to the annual high seen on Feb 9, reflecting the fact that the market was getting increasingly long.

Data Explorers’ long/short ratio shows that the market has been getting longer since mid-October.

So who is long? Hedge funds seem to be long, although they are not that engaged with the market yet.

Data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch shows hedge funds’ net exposure to equities stood at 34 percent in February, its highest level since last June.




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