The ASX started the year by edging out a positive result, and outperforming the Dow Jones and S&P 500 in the process, despite volatility taking course over the final days of the month. 

While much of the trading action had centred on hopes of more fiscal stimulus in the US, and the strength of the local resources sector, particularly iron ore miners and lithium producers, the short-squeeze that rattled markets in the US also reverberated locally as well. 

Retail investors made their voices heard, banding together to inflict losses on hedge funds that were shorting once-loved companies such as GameStop, AMC Entertainment Holdings, Nokia and BlackBerry, among others.

Here is what the SelfWealth community were buying and selling through their SelfWealth trading accounts during January.


Which ASX shares and ETFs were the most held?

The top 20 most-held ASX shares among SelfWealth members remained unchanged last month, although there were some variations to the order they featured, and some particular ‘money flow’ into certain sectors.

Buy-now pay-later was one of those sectors in favour, with the value of Afterpay (ASX: APT) holdings leaping by 17% month-on-month, and Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) climbing from 12th place into 9th position in the wake of a strong rally in the underlying stock, and large buying interest following that rally.

Iron ore miners remained a core theme in the portfolios of many SelfWealth members, particularly high-flying Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG). Despite the company’s stock price slumping 7% after a huge rally in 2020, the collective value of FMG shares across our community grew by 16%, with many investors buying the dip amid the company’s late-month fadeout. A similar trend favoured BHP (ASX: BHP) as well, however, unlike FMG, the underlying stock still eked out a small rise across January. 

There was also heightened interest in the consumer staples sector through two household names in Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) and Woolworths (ASX: WOW). The two stocks each had a solid month, up 8.4% and 3.9% respectively, with their defensive qualities likely appealing to investors who sought to reposition their portfolios. With lockdowns also spurring on some panic buying, shareholders may be anticipating a bump-up in sales. Holdings in Wesfarmers and Woolworths grew by 16.3% and 10.4% compared with the month prior.


Stock Company
1 CSL CSL Limited
2 CBA Commonwealth Bank
3 WBC Westpac
4 NAB National Australia Bank
5 APT Afterpay
6 AFI Australian Foundation Inv
7 ANZ Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
8 SWF SelfWealth
9 Z1P Zip Co
10 MQG Macquarie Group
12 TLS Telstra
13 FMG Fortescue Metals Group
14 WES Wesfarmers
15 WPL Woodside Petroleum
16 FLT Flight Centre
17 WOW Woolworths
18 ARG Argo Investments
19 MLT Milton Corp
20 QAN Qantas


There was mid-to-high single-digit growth in the value of nearly all of the leading ETF holdings in the SelfWealth community, however, the BetaShares Asia Technology Tigers ETF (ASX: ASIA) continued its rapid ascent. Holdings in the tech-oriented ETF swelled by 33.1%, significantly outpacing the 10.1% increase in the share price of the underlying fund. 

With major constituents in the ETF like Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Tencent Holdings having a strong month, it was little surprise that SelfWealth members were flocking to the ETF and lightening their exposure to the stable AAA Australian High Interest Cash ETF (ASX: AAA).


ETF Company
1 VAS Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF
2 VDHG Vanguard Diversified High Growth Index ETF
3 VGS Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF
4 VTS Vanguard U.S. Total Market Shares Index ETF
5 A200 BetaShares Australia 200 ETF
6 IVV Ishares S&P 500 ETF
7 NDQ Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF
8 VEU Vanguard All-World ex-U.S. Shares Index ETF
9 ASIA BetaShares Asia Technology Tigers ETF
10 AAA AAA Australian High Interest Cash ETF


Which ASX shares and ETFs were the most traded?

As touched on earlier, buy-now pay-later stocks were back atop the list of the most-traded stocks last month. In particular, the value of Zip shares that swapped hands was more than double that seen in December, while there were more than 3,000 separate orders. 

Outside of the familiar names that we’ve become accustomed to seeing, such as Fortescue Metals Group, Westpac (ASX: WBC) and CSL (ASX: CSL), there were also a few bolters in the list.

One of the more prominent ones was Vulcan Resources (ASX: VUL), a lithium miner that claims to have developed the world’s first and only zero-carbon lithium process. Shares in the company leapt 186% in January as it published its pre-feasibility study (PFS) and also caught the attention of big-name investors. The stock was the 7th most-traded stock by order numbers last month, and with nearly $20 million in trades ranked 11th in terms of the value of shares traded.

The rush to back lithium miners also saw Galaxy Resources (ASX: GXY) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) among the most-traded stocks in the SelfWealth community, coming in at 15th and 19th respectively. 

Meanwhile, with nearly 2,000 trades between them, Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) and Novonix (ASX: NVX) were the 12th and 13th most-exchanged stocks in terms of the number of trades filled.

Lastly, some of the other shares that were the subject of heightened activity, albeit with a value that didn’t make the cut for the top 20 shown below included Brainchip (ASX: BRN), Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) and Strategic Elements (ASX: SOR).


Top 20 stocks traded by value
Code  Security
1 Z1P Zip Co
2 FMG Fortescue Metals Group
3 APT Afterpay
4 BBOZ Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund
6 WBC Westpac
7 GEAR Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund
8 VAS Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF
9 VDHG Vanguard Diversified High Growth Index ETF
10 FLT Flight Centre
11 VUL Vulcan Resources
12 TLS Telstra
13 CBA Commonwealth Bank
14 KGN Kogan
15 GXY Galaxy Resources
17 MSB Mesoblast
18 MQG Macquarie Group
19 PLS Pilbara Minerals
20 NDQ Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF


US share trading activity

The Reddit-driven frenzy that took hold over the US market late in January was one of the defining trends behind last month’s share trading activity across the SelfWealth US share trading platform.

More than $11 million in shares of GameStop (NYSE: GME), AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC) and BlackBerry (NYSE: BB) were traded across the month, including buy and sell orders. Each stock had a monumental month, with shareholders who got in early likely to have accumulated significant profits on paper, albeit the share prices for the trio have since plummeted quite sharply.

High-profile tech names in Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) made an appearance among the most actively-traded US stocks, as did two of the more popular ETFs from ARK Innovation.

There was also strong interest in other electric vehicle manufacturers, with up-and-coming Chinese auto companies Nio (NYSE: NIO), Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) and EHang Holdings (NASDAQ: EH) each attracting attention. In the case of Nio, the firm unveiled its new ultra long-range EV prototype, the ET7, which is expected to hit the market this time next year and take up the competition to Tesla.

The desire for exposure to alternative fuel technology also extended to stocks like Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) and iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQ: ICLN), while the medical and biotechnology space was also a favourite as names like Nano-X Imaging (NASDAQ: NNOX) and SpringWorks Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SWTX) were bought-up heavily.


Top 20 stocks traded by value
Code  Security
1 GME GameStop
2 AMC AMC Entertainment Holdings
3 TSLA Tesla
5 ARKK ARK Innovation ETF
6 BB BlackBerry
7 AAPL Apple
8 ARKG ARK Genomic Revolution ETF
9 CCIV Churchill Capital Corp IV
10 NNOX Nano-X Imaging
11 ICLN iShares Global Clean Energy ETF
12 FUTU Futu Holdings Ltd
13 MSFT Microsoft
14 PLUG Plug Power
15 EH EHang Holdings
16 PLTR Palantir Technologies
17 GOOGL Alphabet
18 LI Li Auto
19 NNDM Nano Dimension
20 SWTX SpringWorks Therapeutics


That’s all for this Trade Trends report, stay tuned for the next edition this time next month!



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