SelfWealth Monthly Trading Trends: December 2020

SelfWealth Monthly Trading Trends: December 2020

Capping off what might be considered the final chapter to a remarkable recovery in equity markets throughout 2020, the Australian and US share markets both increased in December.

The ASX 200 gained 1.1% last month, with materials stocks having a major impact due to the strength of iron ore miners, rare earth and lithium plays. Up until the final trading session of the year the local benchmark index looked set to finish 2020 with a flat return, but in the end, the index delivered a calendar year return of approximately -1.4%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 advanced 3.7% in December, extending its return for the year to 16.3%.

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


Which ASX shares and ETFs were the most held?

Blue-chip heavyweights CSL (ASX: CSL), Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) and Westpac (ASX: WBC) finished December as the three most-held stocks across the SelfWealth community, and not for the first time either. In fact, the trio found itself atop the rankings for 11 out of 12 months in 2020, highlighting that these stocks remain undisputed buy-and-hold favourites among SelfWealth members.

With the share price of Afterpay (ASX: APT) reaching a series of new all-time highs, the stock moved its way into fifth position on the list. The trend came as the stock was admitted to the ASX 20 index, placing it among the largest companies across the local share market.

Investment managers also moved up the list, however, that was largely because investors traded out of other positions that they may have been reluctant to hold over the low liquidity period. Australian Foundation Investment (ASX: AFI), higher into sixth on our list, as well as Argo Investments (ASX: ARG), which returned after its first absence, were the most prominent movers.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) climbed to its equal-highest position of 13th in the rankings, fuelled by a 28.5% increase in its share price throughout December. With iron ore prices soaring to as high as US$176/tonne amid strong steel output from China, and further supply disruption from export rival Brazil, there was a strong tailwind in play that helped the stock achieve a record high.

Finally, interest in the travel sector remained elevated compared with months ago, despite the latest outbreak of COVID cases across New South Wales and Victoria. Qantas (ASX: QAN) ended December two spots higher on our list in 17th position, while Flight Centre (ASX: FLT) gained five places to finish in 15th. For the second month in a row, each result was a record placement in the SelfWealth community.


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 MQG Macquarie Group
8 ANZ Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
9 SWF SelfWealth
11 TLS Telstra
12 Z1P Zip Co
13 FMG Fortescue Metals Group
14 WPL Woodside Petroleum
15 FLT Flight Centre
16 WES Wesfarmers
17 QAN Qantas
18 ARG Argo Investments
19 WOW Woolworths
20 MLT Milton Corp


With the exception of one change to the order of the list, the names of the top ETFs held by SelfWealth members were otherwise unchanged. The AAA Australian High Interest Cash ETF (ASX: AAA) saw a marked outflow for the third month in a row, switching places with the Vanguard All-World ex-U.S. Shares Index ETF (ASX: VEU), despite the underlying performance of the latter remaining flat throughout December.


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 AAA AAA Australian High Interest Cash ETF
10 ASIA BetaShares Asia Technology Tigers ETF



Which ASX shares and ETFs were the most traded?

Amid lighter volumes that are typical in the stock market over the Christmas holiday season, traders took the opportunity to reposition their portfolios for exposure to the broader ASX. As a result, the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS) returned to the top of the list of the most-traded stocks for the first time since February, having been outmuscled in the meantime by ‘short’ exposure courtesy of the Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund (ASX: BBOZ).

As touched on earlier, Fortescue Metals Group was a favourite among investors using the SelfWealth online share trading platform, and the frenzied buying activity also ensured that it was the second most-traded stock by value in December.

Trading activity in the likes of Flight Centre (ASX: FLT), Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) and Afterpay was significant, as we’ve become used to seeing in recent months, with each of the trio attracting its fair share of supporters and cynics.

One stock that defied the odds to make an appearance, however, was Creso Pharma (ASX: CPH). The small cap medicinal cannabis company was at one stage around 900% up in December, before the share price eased somewhat. Nonetheless, shares in CPH gained roughly 260% across the month, with trading in the stock totalling more than $26 million. Combined with its peer Cann Group (ASX: CAN), there were well in excess of 2,000 trades involving these stocks, driven largely by favourable declarations towards cannabis from the UN and US House of Representatives.

Elsewhere, trading activity in A2 Milk (ASX: A2M) was approximately 50% higher by value compared with the month prior. The increase was sparked by a revenue and earnings downgrade from the company in light of the restrained daigou segment and ongoing international border closures.


Top 20 stocks traded by value
Code  Security
1 VAS Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF
2 FMG Fortescue Metals Group
3 FLT Flight Centre
4 APT Afterpay
5 Z1P Zip Co
7 BBOZ Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund
8 WBC Westpac
9 CPH Creso Pharma
10 GEAR Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund
11 A2M A2 Milk
12 MSB Mesoblast
13 CGF Challenger
14 WEB Webjet
15 VDHG Vanguard Diversified High Growth Index ETF
16 TLS Telstra
17 MQG Macquarie Group
20 CBA Commonwealth Bank


2020 most-traded ASX stocks

Looking back over the year gone by, it was clear that the buy-now pay-later stocks were favourites across the SelfWealth community, with Zip and Afterpay accounting for nearly 65,000 trades worth a total of almost $1 billion. That’s roughly one trade per member across the entire community!

Optimism surrounding the management of COVID also led many investors to seek out exposure to the travel sector, namely through Flight Centre, Qantas and Webjet. Between the trio, there were more than 40,000 trades involving these stocks across the SelfWealth platform in 2020.

It’s also worth pointing out that there was significant trading in ETFs over the course of the year, which we have not included in our rankings below. However, by value, the BetaShares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund (ASX: BBOZ) was the most-traded instrument of any kind, while by trade numbers, the stalwart Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS) was the second-most traded stock.


Above rankings based on number of trades, not by trade values. ETFs have been excluded


December US share trading activity

With SelfWealth’s US share trading platform launching last month, early data highlights a keen interest in offshore tech stocks among SelfWealth members.

Exchange traded funds from ARK Investments grew in popularity among global investors throughout 2020, with five of its actively-managed ETFs returning an average of more than 150% last year. Their popularity has largely been aligned with the various high-performing tech stocks held by each fund, including various companies touted as ‘disruptors’.

With that, various other names among our list of the most-traded US stocks fit in with the disruption theme. This includes household name Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), big data analytics firm Palantir Technologies (NYSE: PLTR), Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Nio (NYSE: NIO) and plant-based meat substitute company Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND).


Top 10 stocks traded by value
Code  Security
1 ARKK ARK Innovation ETF
2 TSLA Tesla
3 ARKG ARK Genomic Revolution ETF
4 PLTR Palantir Technologies
5 AAPL Apple
6 QQQ Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1
7 MSFT Microsoft
8 SQ Square
9 NIO Nio Inc
10 BYND Beyond Meat



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


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