Market Overview

TD Ameritrade IMX Continued Its Dip In December, Falling To A More Than Two-Year Low

TD Ameritrade IMX Continued Its Dip In December, Falling To A More Than Two-Year Low

Declining for the third month in a row, TD Ameritrade’s December Investor Movement Index (IMX) fell to a more than two-year low of 4.41 over the course of December. This is more than 16 percent below November’s reading of 5.27 and marks the steepest drop in the broker’s regular survey of investor behavior since February.

The results are not entirely surprising, after the market weathered its worst month in a decade. However, despite the beating the equity market took in the waning days of 2018, which caused most investors in the survey to sell, TDA clients were still net buyers of financial assets overall.

Blue Chip Discounts

While December saw a flood of selling pressure in the largest, highest profile names on the market, there were also plenty of buyers at the bottom looking to get in cheap on some of the most heavily punished blue chip stocks. 

Financials were a huge part of that theme. While Bank of America Inc. (NYSE: BAC) and JP Morgan Chase Inc. (NYSE: JPM) both found themselves down by between 13-14 percent on the month, both were popular choices among TDA clients. Similarly, Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B) was also net bought on the month after falling about 15 percent from its December entry, but climbed within 7.5 percent in 2018’s final week of trading.

Other appealing discounts appeared in tech and telecom. Despite lowering their guidance and voicing pessimism on both domestic and Chinese iPhone sales, the attention Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) received from TDA clients was a net positive. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which received analyst nods as it went live with the first 5G data network, and Amazon Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), which reported record number of items sold over the holidays, also proved strong buying prospects for investors.

Risked Out

While some heavily hit stocks received a second look from investors, others weren’t so lucky as their risks overshadowed any potential upside. Energy concern Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) was among them as energy prices continued their free fall in the month.

Volatile names in the biotech industry like Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Tesaro Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRO) were net sold through the month, though Tesaro achieved new highs following an acquisition announcement from GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK), which profit-taking contributed to selling.

However, the companies that truly emerged as the most susceptible to dramatic shocks to their equity were embattled social media companies Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR). While both were net sold by TDA clients over the month, with Twitter being singled out by notorious short seller Andrew Left, December marked yet another month of controversy, bad press, and boycotts for Facebook, although some analysts remain bullish

Also sold in the month were Alibaba Group Holdings (NYSE: BABA), Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), which made its fourth consecutive appearance in the IMX as a net sold name.

For a complete breakdown of TD Ameritrade's IMX as well as a historical look at the index, you can read the full report here.

Posted-In: AlibabaEarnings News Short Sellers Retail Sales Markets Trading Ideas General


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