The Investor Movement Index

IMX Falls to Two-Year Low

Investors exercise less exposure to equity markets and at the same time are net buyers in the new year

OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TD Ameritrade, Inc. (“TD Ameritrade”), a broker-dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE:AMTD), is today releasing the Investor Movement Index® reading for February 2015.

The Investor Movement Index, or the IMXsm, is a proprietary, behavior-based index created by TD Ameritrade that aggregates Main Street investor positions and activity to measure what investors are actually doing and how they are positioned in the markets.

The February 2015 Investor Movement Index for the four weeks ending February 27, 2015, reveals:

  • Reading: 4.70 (compared to 4.85 in January)
  • Trend direction: Negative
  • Trend length: 2 months
  • Score relative to historic ranges: Middle

TD Ameritrade clients’ exposure to equity markets declined for the second month in a row, resulting in an IMX reading of 4.70 —a new two-year low. The February IMX period saw increases in U.S. equity markets along with a decline in volatility.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and Russell 2000 indexes all posted gains greater than 4% for the period, with the NASDAQ ending the month within 2% of its all-time high. An easing of tensions surrounding the Greek debt crisis in Europe, Federal Reserve testimony that reaffirmed patience in raising rates, and a slight rebound in oil prices early in the month seemed to reduce volatility and boost the markets.

TD Ameritrade clients were net sellers of equities in dollar terms over the month of February. This net selling was not the only contributor to the decline in the IMX, however; some widely held companies saw declines in volatility relative to the S&P 500, and this also helped to lower this month’s IMX reading. The result of all of this activity was a reduction in equity market exposure among client portfolios and a more cautious portfolio posture.

Top holdings remained stable and clients continue to favor Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) , AT&T (T), and General Electric (GE). “This month’s reading is unique in that our clients were net sellers,” said Nicole Sherrod, managing director of the trader group, TD Ameritrade. “In the months prior, the score was driving lower because they were rotating into lower beta positions.

Big Bear

This month’s reading is unique in that our clients were net sellers

This month’s score suggests more acute bearishness.” Oil producers remained popular in February, as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Chevron Corporation (CVX) were net buys. GoPro, Inc. (GPRO) and Alibaba Group (BABA), both familiar names who had their initial public offerings over the last year, saw declines in their prices in February and were also net buys. Apple Inc. (AAPL) was also a net buy, as it announced it would reveal a new product in early March. February saw net selling in Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Twitter (TWTR). Each saw their prices rise to levels of resistance during the month.

Clients appeared to take profits in Boeing (BA), whose stock price jumped higher following their earnings announcement at the end of January; the stock continued to climb in February. Sirius XM (SIRI) and JC Penney (JCP), both lower-priced names who have been popular with traders in the past, were also net sells. The IMX value is calculated based on a complex proprietary formula. Each month, TD Ameritrade pulls a sample from its client base of 6 million funded accounts that includes all accounts that completed a trade in the past month.

The holdings and positions of this statistically significant sample are evaluated to calculate individual scores, and the median of those scores represents the monthly IMX. For more information on the Investor Movement Index, including historical IMX data going back to December 2010, to view the full report from February 2015, or to sign up for future IMX news alerts, please visit

Additionally, TD Ameritrade clients can chart the IMX using the symbol $IMX in either the thinkorswim or TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader platforms. Inclusion of specific security names in this commentary does not constitute a recommendation from TD Ameritrade to buy, sell, or hold. Past performance of a security, strategy or index is no guarantee of future results or investment success. Historical data should not be used alone when making investment decisions.

Please consult other sources of information and consider your individual financial position and goals before making an independent investment decision. The IMX is not a tradable index. The IMX should not be used as an indicator or predictor of future client trading volume or financial performance for TD Ameritrade. For the latest TD Ameritrade news and information, follow the Company on Twitter, @TDAmeritradePR.