Back on the first of May, there were fears that the market may have been commencing another downward leg. The ASX plummeted by as much as 5% in one trading session, its largest drop in weeks.

However, amid strong buying volume from retailers investing in stocks, the ASX recorded its second consecutive monthly gain. During May, those gains totalled 4.2%. In fact, each week throughout May saw the local market edge higher.

One of the key trends we witnessed was a rotation of funds through various sectors and high-profile shares. Investment themes predominantly related to tech, mining and in the final week of May, banking.

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


Which shares and ETFs were the most held?

It was an unchanged list of names that occupied the top spots across SelfWealth members’ trading accounts throughout May. The collective valuation of each stock across the top 20 most-held shares increased significantly relative to April. In most cases, the valuation increase exceeded 10% for each of the stocks, while the lowest was just 4%.

In light of the banks’ significant late-month rally, the Big Four were instrumental in driving portfolio values higher. The value of Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) shares held by SelfWealth members increased 18.8%, but this paled in comparison to the nation’s other leading bank shares. Investment values in Westpac (ASX: WBC) shares held through SelfWealth trading accounts increased 33.8%, while NAB (ASX: NAB) and ANZ (ASX: ANZ) followed closely with gains of 31.6% and 27.8% respectively.

Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) also recorded similar growth across the community. SelfWealth members who were investing in stocks from the bank industry clearly had exposure to strong performance tailwinds as the S&P/ASX 200 Banks Index (ASX: XBK) surged 12.9% in just one week.

As we alluded to earlier, mining shares were also strong beneficiaries of an inflow in funds from those investing in stocks leveraged to iron ore, and to a lesser extent, gold. The value of holdings in BHP (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) increased 20.6%, 21.1% and 8.2% respectively. There was some irony in this given FMG’s share price gains throughout May outpaced its peers, climbing 16.2%, versus 7.1% (BHP) and 6.7% (Rio). All three, however, lagged the rise in iron ore, which was closer to 25%.

Market darling Afterpay (ASX: APT) was also a prominent sight in the portfolios of numerous SelfWealth members. The company’s strong trading update helped catapult its shares towards a new all-time high, turning into $50-plus shares. Investment banks have remained a key backer of the buy-now pay-later stalwart, while the addition of Tencent to the company’s share register was received well. The value of APT shares across all SelfWealth portfolios increased by 31.2%, which was less than its 50%+ rise.


Stock Company
1 CSL CSL Limited
2 CBA Commonwealth Bank
3 WBC Westpac
4 NAB National Australia Bank
5 AFI Australian Foundation Inv
6 ANZ Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
8 MQG Macquarie Group
9 SWF SelfWealth
10 TLS Telstra
11 NEU Neuren Pharmaceuticals
12 APT Afterpay
13 ARG Argo Investments
14 WPL Woodside Petroleum
15 WES Wesfarmers
16 MLT Milton Corp
17 WOW Woolworths
18 RIO Rio Tinto
19 FMG Fortescue Metals Group
20 COH Cochlear


The value of shares held in the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS) jumped 19.2%, with capital flowing in line with the trend that saw the ASX post solid monthly gains.

The other clear winner was the Betashares NASDAQ 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ). Given the strong performance of the NASDAQ following its low in March, a high number of SelfWealth members have been investing in stocks offering exposure to the FANG companies. The Nasdaq 100 ETF is considered one conduit for this. The value of NDQ shares skyrocketed 33.7% month-over-month.

As a risk-off mentality returned to the market, the previously-high increase in funds directed towards the Australian High Interest Cash ETF (ASX: AAA) were stripped out. The value of funds held in the ETF declined 24.5% during May, with more individuals investing in stocks in lieu of holding cash.

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 VEU Vanguard All-World ex-U.S. Shares Index ETF
8 NDQ Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF
9 AAA AAA Australian High Interest Cash ETF
10 STW SPDR S&P/ASX 200 Fund


Which shares and ETFs were the most traded?

Buyers remained firmly in control last month, with the surplus of buying volume to selling volume increasing to a five-month high. Much of this strength came from outside the top 10 most-bought stocks, which also aligns with a large extent of the market’s recent gains.


Code Security
1 BBOZ Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund
2 VAS Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF
3 CBA Commonwealth Bank
5 WBC Westpac
6 GEAR Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund
8 MQG Macquarie Group
9 BBUS BBUS U.S Equities Strong Bear Fund
10 APT Afterpay


Code Security
1 BBOZ Betashares Australian Equities Strong Bear Hedge Fund
2 CBA Commonwealth Bank
3 APT Afterpay
4 GEAR Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund
5 WBC Westpac
7 FMG Fortescue Metals Group
8 BBUS BBUS U.S Equities Strong Bear Fund
9 MQG Macquarie Group


While leveraged ETFs remain a popular trading option, the value associated with their trades diminished quite significantly during May. The value of buy orders for the Australian Equities Strong Bear Fund (ASX: BBOZ) decreased 29.9% compared with April, while its US-oriented peer, the U.S Equities Strong Bear Fund (ASX: BBUS), saw a 28% decline.

It wasn’t just bearish ETFs where interest dried up, however, as the value of buy orders for the Betashares Geared Australian Equity Fund (ASX: GEAR) slumped 23%. On the other side of the equation, sell activity for these ETFs also decreased by a wide margin, suggesting that those investing in stocks like BBOZ and GEAR are potentially holding them longer than the last batch of holders, as opposed to trading them.

As we touched on earlier, heavy funds were directed towards the banks, as well as popular favourites like Afterpay and CSL (ASX: CSL). Despite the biotechnology giant’s share price falling 10.7% across May, there was no increase in selling activity among SelfWealth members. In fact, the value of CSL sell orders diminished around 6%, while the value of buy orders jumped 30%.

Elsewhere, SelfWealth members showed that they were keen to continue investing in stocks related to the travel industry. Webjet (ASX: WEB), Qantas (ASX: QAN) and Flight Centre (ASX: FLT) were the third, fourth and fifth most-bought stocks in terms of order numbers, totalling more than 5,000 orders. Sell orders for these stocks were also above-average, but still about only one-third that of buy orders. Southern Cross Media Group (ASX: SXL) was another trading favourite for the month, with nearly 1,200 buy orders placed as investors began to speculate on a turnaround.


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



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