Those millennials who weren’t scarred by the financial crisis and have subsequently been willing to risk their savings (what little they have) in the stock market haven’t established the best track record. Apps like Robinhood, which allows retail traders to sacrifice data privacy in exchange for free small-lot equity trades, offered a free introduction to speculation.
Unfortunately, millennial traders have demonstrated a penchant to latch on to trends from bitcoin, to tech to pot stocks (like Canopy Growth). Like that old adage, often attributed to Warren Buffett, millennials have been encouraged to “invest in what you know.”
Unfortunately, this advice hasn’t served them as well as they might have hoped.
To wit, millennial retail investors largely trailed the broader market over the summer, even as US equities climbed to new all-time highs. They were particularly hard hit by the explosion of volatility during the second half of August, as Brian Sozzi reports, citing proprietary data from Yahoo Finance.
As Sozzi reports, some of the most popular stocks purchased by millennials last month were also among the market’s worst performers, including Uber, Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth.
The top stocks bought by millennials in August were some of the worst performers in the market, according to new data from online brokerage house TD Ameritrade. Millennials were buyers of cannabis names Aurora Cannabis (ACB) and Canopy Growth (CGC) last month, which tanked 15% and 27%, respectively, per Yahoo Finance data.
They also snapped up ride-hailing outfit Uber (UBER), which saw 20% of its value go up in smoke as its CEO basically laughed at Wall Street on a conference call for demanding profits. Uber’s second quarter earnings release also broadly stunk, calling into question whether the company will ever turn a profit (especially amid fresh worries about new worker laws in California that have taken hold in September).
Fortunately, performance has started to turn around for millennials in September, as they snapped up shares of Disney, Microsoft and Amazon – all of which generally tracked the Dow and S&P 500.
Still, thanks to the poor performance of ride-share companies and pot stocks, millennials are entering the fall with a lot of red in their brokerage accounts.
More broadly speaking,as Sozzi reports, retail investors using TD Ameritrade’s platform have been net buyers of Disney, Amazon, Microsoft, Beyond Meat and Uber.
TD Ameritrade’s IMX index, which tracks retail investors’ exposure to equities through July (the data is reported with a brief lag), retail investors have continued to pull back in terms of their exposure to stocks even as stocks have resumed their march toward new all-time highs. With the September Fed meeting looming in the not-too-distant future, the question on every investors’ mind is whether stocks will return to all-time highs this month.
Judging by the data, it appears that the market chaos that broke out in Q4 of 2018 spooked retail investors, and they haven’t been willing to dial up their exposure to levels seen during the relative calm from 2017.