After a tumultuous period of trading in March, the ASX managed to climb strongly throughout April. In the process, the ASX 200 posted its best month on record, surging 8.8%. Meanwhile, the All Ordinaries leapt 9.5% for its best result since March 1988.
Although the market is still far from its highs, some buying confidence has crept into the market of late. However, as seen from trading activity on the first day of May, profit taking also appears to be a priority for investors who remain concerned about the long-term economic outlook.
Here is what the SelfWealth community were buying and selling through their SelfWealth trading accounts during April.
Which shares and ETFs were the most held?
Given the strong bounce in global markets throughout April, the total value of shares held across the SelfWealth community increased markedly. Notwithstanding the significant increase that was recorded, all top 20 stocks remained the same as the month prior, albeit with differences in their respective ‘rankings’.
One of the most telling observations from April, however, would be the faith that many SelfWealth members have in the leading banks. While we may be accustomed to seeing the likes of Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA), Westpac (ASX: WBC) and National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) atop the rankings of the most-held stocks, their collective value was up around 15% from March, despite the fact they each traded largely flat across the month.
Indicating that financials may be a contrarian play for long-term investors, Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) also joined the aforementioned trio, moving into seventh position as the most-held stock in the trading accounts of SelfWealth members. This came thanks to a 40% month-on-month valuation increase in members’ holdings in MQG.
With iron ore prices remaining firm in recent weeks, BHP (ASX: BHP) managed to edge up the rankings, notwithstanding the price of oil futures crashed on multiple occasions during April.
There were also big moves for Neuren Pharmaceuticals (ASX: NEU) and SelfWealth (ASX: SWF) shares. The value of shares in the former nearly doubled across SelfWealth trading accounts, while the valuation of holdings in SWF leapt about 120% higher, in alignment with the stock’s rising share price across April. Last but not least, Afterpay (ASX: APT) stormed up the list thanks to the company’s stunning share price turnaround, where it gained 66% during April.
|4||NAB||National Australia Bank|
|5||AFI||Australian Foundation Inv|
|8||ANZ||Australia and New Zealand Banking Group|
|20||FMG||Fortescue Metals Group|
There were only minor changes to the list of the most-popular ETFs held by SelfWealth members last month. Notably, however, the value of shares held in the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS) rose more than 28%. In addition, the value of shares in the BetaShares Australia 200 ETF (ASX: A200) increased by a similar amount.
Combined, these movements suggest that an increasing number of SelfWealth members may be content with following the market in these volatile circumstances rather than trying to ‘beat’ the market.
The other prominent observation that we drew from last month’s data is the weight of capital shifted towards cash, courtesy of the AAA Australian High Interest Cash ETF (ASX: AAA). Whereas a few months ago this ETF was not among the most-held ETFs through our platform, it now sits in seventh position on the back of a 38% increase in its ownership valuation compared with March.
|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||AAA||AAA Australian High Interest Cash ETF|
|8||VEU||Vanguard All-World ex-U.S. Shares Index ETF|
|9||NDQ||Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF|
|10||STW||SPDR S&P/ASX 200 Fund|
Which shares and ETFs were the most traded?
The surplus in buying volume to selling volume rose last month, increasing to a ratio of 1.33x. Among the top 10 stocks traded by SelfWealth members, this ratio eased slightly from 1.23x in March to 1.19x in April. Once again, however, the popularity of leveraged ETFs impacted the numbers.
|1||BBOZ||Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund|
|2||VAS||Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF|
|3||GEAR||Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund|
|4||BBUS||BBUS U.S Equities Strong Bear Fund|
|8||FMG||Fortescue Metals Group|
|9||NAB||National Australia Bank|
|1||BBOZ||Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund|
|2||GEAR||Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund|
|3||BBUS||BBUS U.S Equities Strong Bear Fund|
|5||FMG||Fortescue Metals Group|
|8||NAB||National Australia Bank|
|10||VAS||Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF|
Although the value of shares traded in the Australian Equities Strong Bear Fund (ASX: BBOZ) decreased by some margin, the ETF once again dominated both buying and selling activity among SelfWealth members. Collectively, there were nearly 4,200 trades placed involving this instrument.
More interestingly, however, was the rise of the contrasting ETF that offers positively-geared exposure to gains in the index, the Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund (ASX: GEAR). This ETF previously had yet to feature among the most-popular buys, but last month it soared into third place among the most-traded stocks within the SelfWealth community. Selling volume in the ETF also spiked to nearly match it, which suggests that many people utilising leveraged ETFs like this are actively trading them rather than holding them as long-term positions.
Contrarian investors continue to remain busy, underpinning some of the most-frequently traded ASX stocks through SelfWealth trading accounts. This includes shares such as Qantas (ASX: QAN), Afterpay, Flight Centre (ASX: FLT), Webjet (ASX: WEB) and the Betashares Crude Oil INDEX ETF-Currency Hedged (Synthetic) (ASX: OOO).
In the case of FLT and WEB, there were more than 2,000 buy orders between the two stocks during April. On the other side of the ledger, Mesoblast (ASX: MSB) noted a significant increase in sell orders (total: 432), with many shareholders likely ‘selling the news’ and banking profits after the stock’s stellar run.
That’s all for this Trade Trends report, stay tuned for the next edition this time next month!
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