In a record not seen in nearly 80 years, the ASX chalked up its 11th consecutively monthly gain, with both of the key benchmark indexes surging higher.

Reporting season was a windfall for many shareholders, with a number of companies deciding to return capital to investors via buy-backs, record dividends and special distributions. Shares from the consumer staples, health care, real estate, and IT sectors were the best-performers, while energy and materials stocks dropped on commodity weakness.

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


Which shares and ETFs were the most held?

Travel stocks were one theme that continued to resonate with SelfWealth members throughout August. Despite their reports showing significant losses, and the immediate headwinds of local border restrictions, investors appear to be growing cautiously optimistic about the prospect of names like Flight Centre (ASX: FLT) and Qantas (ASX: QAN), which both attracted a large inflow of funds.

Several reasons have spurred optimism in recent weeks, headlined by the dramatic acceleration in Australia’s vaccination roll-out. That has also given rise to the prospect international travel could return by the year’s end, with Australia’s largest airline even going as far as to predict they may resume long-haul trips in December. All the while, the international travel market spanning European and transatlantic routes have been picking up steam, with online travel agents a beneficiary.

One familiar name that saw a notable uptick in interest was telco giant Telstra (ASX: TLS), with the stock climbing into 10th place among the most-held shares within the SelfWealth community as the value of members’ holdings rose by nearly 14%. The company’s earnings report was likely the catalyst for the move, with Telstra reporting growth in net profit for the first time in five years. 

Furthermore, Telstra’s management has guided for a positive outlook, suggesting EBITDA growth in FY22 and potentially higher dividends could be on the cards in FY23. The return of a growth profile for a company that is well-known, but has long been in decline, has seen the share price gain momentum over recent months.

For the first time since November last year, Neuren Pharmaceuticals (ASX: NEU) made the top 20, which followed a major rally in the company’s share price in August. The stock soared 35.4% across the month after announcing the completion of its phase three clinical trial enrollment of trofinetide for Rett Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder currently with no approved drug treatment.


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


In terms of exchange-traded funds, the Ishares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV) and BetaShares Australia 200 ETF (ASX: A200) switched places. 

The underlying increase in the share price of IVV was just 4.5%, however, the collective value of holdings increased by more than 14% across the SelfWealth platform as an increasing number of investors eye exposure to US markets. 

This trend was also evident via strong inflows for the likes of the Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ) and Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF (ASX: VGS), which were the two next-best names in terms of growth.


ASX ETFs 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 IVV Ishares S&P 500 ETF
6 A200 BetaShares Australia 200 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 VHY Vanguard Australian Shares High Yield ETF


ASX share trading activity

Iron ore prices may have been plummeting throughout August, even entering bear market territory, however, that failed to deter investors from flocking to mining giant Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG). 

The value of FMG shares traded throughout the month across the SelfWealth platform was more than 25% up on the month prior, with a shift in buy orders from 47.9% of all orders in July to 56.4% of all orders in August. The company’s record dividend announced in the final stages of the month may have been another carrot dangling in front of investors given FMG’s historical yield.

In a similar fashion, BHP (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) also drew a significant level of buying activity, suggesting the majority of SelfWealth members buying into these stocks are betting on a rebound in the price of iron ore, and also happy to pick up bumper dividends along the way.

Once atop the charts of the most-traded ASX stocks, Afterpay (ASX: APT) landed down in 15th position as the fallout of the company’s buy-out looms. Fresh from being the subject of a takeover bid from US payments giant Square, the overwhelming majority of trading activity last month saw SelfWealth members ditch the stock, taking their gains off the table. Less than one quarter of all trades by value were buy orders, by far the lowest of any leading name.

Elsewhere, lithium and battery metals stocks were one of the most-popular themes. Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) both made the top 20, coming in 11th and 19th respectively. Each company made a spate of announcements throughout the month, while the prevailing trend favouring electric vehicle uptake is spurring interest from a number of ESG-conscious investors.

On the same note, Vulcan Energy’s battery metals spin-off Kuniko Resources (ASX: KNI) was the 13th most-traded stock by orders filled, at the centre of more than 1,300 trades. That comes despite the stock only listing one week before the end of the month. Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) and Novonix (ASX: NVX) were two other names tapping into the same thematic, accounting for another 2,800 trades between the pair.


Top 20 stocks traded by value
Code  Security Buy-Sell Ratio
1 FMG Fortescue Metals Group 56.42%
2 Z1P Zip Co 48.85%
3 BBOZ Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund 49.57%
4 ANZ ANZ 48.86%
5 VAS Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF 74.91%
6 WBC Westpac 44.43%
7 FLT Flight Centre 51.41%
8 BHP BHP 70.73%
9 GEAR BetaShares Geared Australian Equity (Hedge Fund) 50.27%
10 RIO Rio Tinto 71.41%
11 VUL Vulcan Energy Resources 51.36%
12 VDHG Vanguard Diversified High Growth Index ETF 84.96%
13 VGS Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF 92.50%
14 TLS Telstra 53.53%
15 APT Afterpay 23.80%
16 CBA Commonwealth Bank 63.82%
17 QAN Qantas 50.64%
18 CSL CSL 34.28%
19 PLS Pilbara Minerals 53.80%
20 APX Appen 56.37%


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


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