Investor Movement Index Summary: July 2020

TD Ameritrade clients increased exposure to equity markets modestly during the July period. The IMX score increased 1.76% during the period, or 0.08, to 4.63 from 4.55 the previous period.

TD Ameritrade clients were once again net buyers overall during the July period, and were net buyers of equities. They preferred the Consumer Discretionary, Information Technology, and Health Care sectors, with heavy net buying across all three. Net buying overall helped push the IMX score higher. Volatility trailed off during the period, as measured by the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX. The VIX began the period in the mid-30s but trended lower and ended near 25.

Equity markets moved higher during the period as optimism about economies reopening took hold. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 8.71% and 5.65%, respectively. The Nasdaq Composite posted the largest percentage gain of the three major U.S. indices, up 10.13% during the period. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to dominate headlines, with deaths in the U.S. passing 150,000 as the country leads the globe in the number of cases and fatalities. Congress began discussing additional stimulus measures with the Senate passing a $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill proposal, but the bill stalled in the House. Economic data was mixed during the period. It was announced that consumer spending increased 5.6% during June but appeared to pull back during the July period as coronavirus cases began to increase. GDP was also in focus, with news that the U.S. economy contracted at a record annual rate during the second quarter, down 32.9%. This was the steepest drop in more than 70 years as the pandemic weakened consumer spending. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced that the Fed will keep interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future and that the Fed is "committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy in this challenging time."


TD Ameritrade clients were net buyers of equities during the period. Electric automakers were in favor, with clients purchasing NIO Inc NIO, Tesla Inc TSLA, and Nikola Corporation NKLA. NIO said it delivered over 10,000 vehicles in the quarter ended in June, exceeding the company's quarterly guidance, and delivered 3,740 vehicles in June which was a monthly record. The stock traded higher on the news and reached an all-time high. TSLA was a net buy for the first time in four months as the company is prepping for its planned Texas Gigafactory and has a coming battery and investor day in September where it is predicted the company will unveil its new million-mile battery. NKLA was also net bought as the company announced it has signed some blue-chip customers for its fuel-cell truck, including Anheuser-Busch Inbev NV BUD, which ordered 800 trucks. The company is expected to release its electric truck in 2021 and a hydrogen cell truck in 2023. Pfizer Inc. PFE announced a deal with the U.S. government in which the company, and partner BioNTech, will receive $1.95 billion when they deliver the first 100 million doses of BNT162, assuming the drug is approved by the FDA for the prevention of COVID-19. The stock was net bought on the news. Big Tech companies Apple Inc. AAPL and Microsoft Corporation MSFT were both net buys. Each stock reached an all-time high during the period, with AAPL getting a bump after announcing a 4-1 stock split and MSFT announcing intentions to become a major player in social media with the planned acquisition of TikTok's U.S. operations. Crowdstrike Holdings Inc CRWD, a leader in cloud-delivered endpoint protection, received an analyst upgrade as it was identified as one of the fastest-growing endpoint security software vendors, and was net bought.

Additional popular names bought include AT&T Inc. T and American Airlines Group Inc AAL.

Although they were net buyers, TD Ameritrade clients found some names to sell during the period. ROKU Inc ROKU increased over 25% during the period after receiving an analyst upgrade related to an upbeat outlook for streaming demand amid a surge in U.S. coronavirus cases, which could lead to businesses and theaters closing or limiting capacity again, and was net sold. Facebook, Inc. FB was net sold as the stock reached an all-time high. The company beat on both revenue and earnings estimates, nearly doubling net income from the year-ago period, and it has signed several deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Corp SNE and Warner Music Group Corp WMG to secure the right to show music videos. Costco Wholesale Corporation COST reported a year-over-year rise in traffic at its stores, its first positive result since pandemic lockdowns took off in March, which helped the stock reach an all-time high and was net sold. FedEx Corporation FDX approached a 52-week high near the end of the period after trading higher in sympathy with United Parcel Service, Inc. UPS after it reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and revenue results, noting pandemic related changes for the strong results, and was net sold.

Additional names sold include Twitter Inc TWTR and United Airlines Holdings Inc UAL.

Inclusion of specific security names in this commentary does not constitute a recommendation from TD Ameritrade to buy, sell, or hold.

Historical Overview

TD Ameritrade's Investor Movement Index (IMX) has generally correlated with the S&P 500 as clients react to equity price movements, but the index has gone through uncorrelated periods. Beginning in January 2010, when TD Ameritrade started tracking the IMX, the index rose with equity markets until April 2010, when it peaked at 5.40.

In May 2010 investors experienced the "Flash Crash" and the IMX began a sharp downward trend. The IMX didn't reach 5.00 again until the S&P 500 was well above April 2010 levels. The index eventually peaked at 5.56 in June 2011. This peak was immediately followed by a plunge in equity markets, and in the IMX, as the media was dominated by the U.S. debt ceiling debate, S&P downgrade of U.S. debt, and European debt concerns. The S&P 500 began to recover in the fall of 2011, but the IMX continued to decline until it reached a new low at the time in January 2012. As the S&P 500 began to sustain an upward trend in early 2012, the IMX started to rise. In 2013, as economic conditions improved and the S&P 500 climbed to record levels, the IMX rose to the high end of its historical range, finishing 2013 at 5.62, and continued to rise in 2014 amid geopolitical tensions related to Ukraine and the Middle East, until seeing slight declines in October and November.

By the middle of 2015, the IMX had seen increases, as equity market volatility had reduced to near historical levels while the market continued its upward trend. As 2015 ended its third quarter, volatility had returned to markets, as global economic concerns and speculation around the timing and trajectory of Federal Reserve rate increases seemed to rattle overall equity markets. This uncertainty continued to play a role in the equity markets through the fourth quarter of 2015 and into early 2016.

The volatility accompanying this uncertainty abated in the second quarter of 2016 and remained low until late in the third quarter. Just as it had in 2015, the IMX saw increases mid-year during the period of lower volatility. The IMX continued to climb into the fourth quarter reaching 5.83 in October 2016, its highest point in two years. A brief spike in volatility during November, timed around the U.S. presidential election, coincided with a slight pullback in the IMX, which then ended 2016 at the high end of its historical range. The IMX started 2017 with an upward trend and reaching an all-time high in March, before pausing in April as lower volatility lead to a decrease in the IMX. The momentum resumed in May, with the IMX breaching 7.0 for the first time ever in July of 2017.

The IMX took another brief pause in September, before following markets higher and breaching 8.0 for the first time ever in November and ending 2017 at an all-time high. Volatility returned to the markets in early 2018, and the IMX decreased for four consecutive months to start the year. The IMX then rebounded in the spring of 2018 and continued higher during the summer on the back of better-than-expected earnings and increasing equity markets.

The IMX headed higher during the fall of 2018 as economic growth increased before heading lower in late 2018 as the Nasdaq Composite entered a bear market to end the year. Geopolitical issues were in the headlines during early 2019 as the U.S. and China traded tariffs. The IMX rebounded along with equity markets in the spring of 2019 on optimism of a trade deal with China and the unemployment rate nearing a 49-year low. The IMX remained range-bound during the summer of 2019 as trade-related policy concerns led to investors favoring less-risky assets, including fixed-income products. Heading into the fall of 2019, the IMX began to rebound and ended the year at the highest levels in over a year as trade war fears diminished and economic data began to improve globally.

In early 2020, the bull market ended as markets pulled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with markets experiencing volatility not seen since the financial crisis of 2008. During the spring of 2020, the IMX reached 3.90, its lowest point in years after equity markets sold off on pandemic fears. The IMX began to rebound into the summer of 2020 as equity markets began to rebound after a slight uptick in economic activity.

Historical data should not be used alone when making investment decisions. Please consult other sources of information and consider your individual financial position and goals before making an independent investment decision.

All investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal. Please consider all risks and objectives before investing.

Past performance of a security, strategy or index is no guarantee of future results or investment success.

The IMX is not a tradable index.

The IMX should not be used as an indicator or predictor of future client trading volume or financial performance for TD Ameritrade.

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