Investor Movement Index

A Market Look Back at 2017

Retail investors were net buyers in December and overall for the year

January 10, 2018 — OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The December 2017 Investor Movement Index® reached an all-time high of 8.59 as retail investors significantly increased their equity exposure throughout 2017, TD Ameritrade, Inc. (“TD Ameritrade”), a broker-dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (Nasdaq: AMTD) announced today.

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 December 2017 Investor Movement Index for the five weeks ending December 29, 2017, reveals:

  • Reading: 8.59 (compared to 8.53 in November)
  • Trend direction: Positive
  • Trend length: 3 months
  • Score relative to historic ranges: High

The IMX climbed to a new record high for the second month in a row, ending December at 8.59. TD Ameritrade clients remained net buyers, resulting in one of the longest buying streaks – eleven consecutive months – in the history of the IMX. Increased equity exposure from net buying caused the IMX to close out the year at its highest reading yet.

Major market indices increased once again during the December IMX period, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite all reaching all-time highs during the month.

‘Strong Buying’

“In December, TD Ameritrade clients continued the strong buying we saw all year, as shown by the new record high IMX,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “The retail investor continues to participate in the rally and has done so in a very measured way.”

Heading into the holiday season, TD Ameritrade clients were net buyers of online retailer Amazon Inc. (AMZN) as the stock reached an all-time high early in the period. For the third month in a row, General Electric Inc. (GE) was a net buy. The stock reached a 52-week low during the period as the company continued to work on its new turnaround plan.

Clients once again showed interest in semiconductors. In December, clients were net buyers of Nvidia Inc. (NVDA) and Micron Technology Inc. (MU). Both stocks increased in excess of 80 percent during the year, but pulled back during the month. Chinese stocks were also popular buys. Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (TCEHY) both saw slight volatility during the period and were net buys. Additional popular names bought include Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC).

TD Ameritrade clients used the equity market increases to sell some names in December. Ford Motor (F), which was up following an analyst upgrade during the period, was a net sell. Kroger Co. (KR) was a net sell following an earnings beat and its CEO reporting it had its best Black Friday ever. Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) increased during the period and was net sold. Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) increased over 25 percent during the period, and was net sold.

Clients were also net sellers of telecommunications, including AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications (VZ), despite both stocks seeing gains in excess of 10 percent during the period. Additional names sold include Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Exxon Mobile Corp. (XOM).

2017 Year in Review

TD Ameritrade clients were overall net buyers during 2017, increasing their equity positions during the year. The most popular buys were Nvidia Inc. (NVDA), Alibaba Group Holding (BABA), Amazon Inc. (AMZN), AT&T Inc. (T), and General Electric Inc. (GE).

The five most popular stocks sold during the year by clients were Apple Inc. (AAPL), Facebook Inc. (FB), Disney (DIS), Nike Inc. (NKE) and ConocoPhillips Co. (COP).

The five most popular stocks sold during the year by clients were Apple Inc. (AAPL), Facebook Inc. (FB), Disney (DIS), Nike Inc. (NKE) and ConocoPhillips Co. (COP).

TD Ameritrade clients ended 2017 with exposure at all-time highs. Clients began the year increasing exposure to equity markets, with the IMX setting two records during the first quarter of the year, and reaching 6.0 for the first time.

The IMX saw a modest pullback during April, as lower relative volatility of widely held names led to decreased equity market exposure. The IMX resumed its upward trend in June, and broke through 7.0 for the first time ever in July. September marked another brief slow down, as decreased relative volatility pushed the IMX lower. November saw an uptick, with the IMX recording its largest monthly increase ever- increasing over 8.0 for the first time. The IMX increased once again in December, and ended the year at another all-time high of 8.59.

The biggest trading day for equities in 2017 was Nov. 29, 2017, in which the Nasdaq was down negative 1.3 percent and Apple Inc. (APPL) and Facebook Inc. (FB) were down negative 2.1 percent and negative 4.0 percent, respectively. Oct. 27, 2017 marked the biggest trading day for options, a day in which the Nasdaq had its biggest gain of the year following strong earnings from Amazon Inc. (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOGL), Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) and Intel (INTC). As of Dec. 29, 2017, the most widely held stocks by TD Ameritrade retail clients were Apple Inc. (APPL), Facebook Inc. (FB), General Electric Inc. (GE), Amazon Inc. (AMZN) and AT&T Inc. (T).



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 7 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 December 2010; to view the full report from May 2017; 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.
Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
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