The Pulse

IMX Rises as Investors React to Earnings Season

Cautious investors increased exposure to equity markets in October

New market research from TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index

November 04, 2019 — OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Investor Movement Index® (IMXSM) increased to 4.84 in October, up 7.3 percent from its September score. The IMX is TD Ameritrade’s proprietary, behavior-based index, aggregating Main Street investor positions and activity to measure what investors actually were doing and how they were positioned in the markets.

The IMX reached its second-highest reading this year, with May the highest at 4.93, yet the reading still ranks “Moderately Low” compared to historic averages. The four-week period ending Oct. 25, 2019 continued a year-long trend of below-average IMX scores.

Equities Up, Tempered with Fixed Income

“October earnings went better than many anticipated, but there was some cautiousness as SPX stalled under 3,000 for the sixth continuous month,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “While investors did increase exposure to equities month-over-month, they continued to show caution with a strong presence in fixed income, and will likely remain guarded as long as the trade war continues to loom over the markets.”

Equity markets moved higher during October IMX period. The S&P 500 was up 2 percent compared to September, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.5 percent. The technology sector outpaced the relative market, with the Nasdaq Composite up 3.8 percent during the October period. Early in the period, market volatility increased as macroeconomic worries intensified following poor manufacturing data. The jobless rate also fell to the 50-year low of 3.5 percent. By the end of the period, 40 percent of the S&P 500 had reported earnings, with 80 percent beating analyst estimates.

Retail investors at TD Ameritrade found some popular names to buy during the October IMX period, including:

  • Amazon Inc. (AMZN)
  • Walt Disney Co. (DIS)
  • AT&T Inc. (T)
  • Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

TD Ameritrade clients continued to be net sellers of equities in October, net selling popular names such as:

  • Apple Inc. (AAPL)
  • Tesla Inc. (TSLA)
  • Facebook Inc. (FB)
  • Netflix Inc. (NFLX)

Millennial Buys & Sells

In October, there were some key differences in the stocks TD Ameritrade’s millennial clients net bought. Millennials net bought Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB), Altria Group Inc. (MO) and Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), while the total client population did not.

While investors did increase exposure to equities month-over-month, they continued to show caution with a strong presence in fixed income...

On the sell side, unlike the total client population, millennials net sold Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) and Rite Aid Corp. (RAD).





About the IMX
The IMX value is calculated based on a complex proprietary formula. Each month, TD Ameritrade pulls a sample from its client base of more than 11 million funded accounts, which 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 January 2010; to view the full report from September 2019; 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.
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