The latest TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index grew to 5.17 in November — up 6.8% from October and its highest point so far in 2019, driven by positive signs in the stock market and from early holiday season sales, the firm said Monday.
“Less risky assets were in favor” last month and included fixed income products, while clients increased their “exposure to U.S. equity markets by buying more” exchange-traded funds, according to TD Ameritrade.
Meanwhile, “net buying in equities with increasing relative volatility also helped push the IMX higher,” it said, adding: “Market volatility was generally light during the period, with the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, having a closing price below 12 for the first time in over a year.”
The IMX is TD Ameritrade’s proprietary, behavior-based index and it aggregates Main Street investor positions and activity to measure what the firm says investors are actually doing and how they’re positioned in the markets.
“There was a lot to like in November, including better-than-expected earnings and optimism surrounding trade,” according to JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “The signs were there for a strong holiday season, and with that investors were more willing to increase their exposure to the market, ending the period as net buyers of equities,” he said in a statement.
However, it was not all roses. Although the IMX came in at its highest point since November 2018, the November reading still ranks as “Moderately Low” compared with historic averages, the firm pointed out.
On the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, the top stocks TD Ameritrade clients traded included three tech companies: Alibaba Group (BABA), Amazon (AMZN) and Roku (ROKU), with Amazon, no surprise, being a top Black Friday stock for the fifth straight year, according to TD Ameritrade.
More than one-third (34%) of the trades placed on Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season — were placed via a mobile device, which the firm said was a record high. In 2018, 31% of Black Friday retail trades were placed on mobile devices, it noted.
“Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are cleared away, we’ve found that many investors use their mobile devices to stay engaged with the market while spending time with family and friends,” according to Kinahan. “Our clients’ appetite for market access via mobile has continued to increase every year, and Black Friday is the perfect example of this.”