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As we all know, Alice's wildly varying sizes caused her a great deal of trouble in Wonderland – especially when, no bigger than a playing card herself, she ran afoul of the murderous Queen of Hearts.
Then she began to grow. And suddenly, the tiny queen shouting "Off with her head!" looked much less frightening.
In other words, size is important – but perspective is more important – particularly in the markets right now.
That's especially true for one "frightening" indicator: margin debt.
Margin debt is just money that is borrowed to buy stocks. Most retail accounts can borrow 100% of their account balance to buy additional stock at fairly low interest rates.
Analysts use margin debt as one measure of market participants' risk appetite, and I've read some articles worrying about the fact that margin debt is at all-time absolute highs.
But that's not the whole picture.