TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index

U.S. Investors Go Risk-Averse In January

China trade outcome looms

February 04, 2019 — OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite a rebound in U.S. equity markets, investors largely remained risk-averse in January. The Investor Movement Index® (IMXSM) continued its downward trend for the fourth consecutive month to 4.28, down 3 percent from last month’s reading of 4.41. 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 reading for the four-week period ending January 25, 2019, puts the IMX at its lowest point since July 2012 when it hit 4.24 in the midst of Spain’s debt crisis. The current reading ranks “Low” relative to the historic level of exposure investors took to the market.

TD Ameritrade clients were net buyers during the January period. Clients favored less volatile assets, including fixed income products, while buying among equities was light.

“Despite the longest running government shutdown, U.S. equity markets recovered in January fueled by well-received Federal Reserve announcements and strong job numbers,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “Still, ambiguity surrounding U.S.- China trade relations kept investors in more defensive parts of the market.”

Fed pledges ‘patience’

Throughout January, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were both up more than 7 percent, with the Nasdaq Composite increasing nearly 9 percent. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stated early during the period that the Fed would be patient following tensions between financial markets and the economy, signaling there would be no looming rate increase expected. It was also reported that the U.S. added more than 300,000 jobs during December, the fastest pace since February 2018.

TD Ameritrade clients took advantage of volatility when buying equities in January. Top equity buys included:

  • Apple (AAPL)
  • AT&T (T)
  • General Electric (GE)
  • Amazon (AMZN)
  • Ford Motor Company (F)

Throughout the month, retail investors at TD Ameritrade also sold a number of popular names. Net sold equities included:

  • Facebook (FB)
  • Twitter (TWTR)
  • Bank of America (BAC)
  • Celgene Corporation (CELG)
  • Gilead Sciences (GILD)
  • Raytheon (RTN)
  • Millennial Buys & Sells

When compared to TD Ameritrade’s total client base, millennials once again favored pot stocks, including Aurora Cannabis (ACB) and Canopy Growth (CGC). Their purchases over the past few months paid off in January, with both stocks up during the period and CGC nearly doubling. Millennials also bought Tesla (TSLA) while the total population did not. This was the first time in six months millennials were not net buyers of Amazon (AMZN).

Still, ambiguity surrounding U.S.- China trade relations kept investors in more defensive parts of the market

On the sell side, millennials took profits in Chipotle (CMG) and GoPro (GPRO), which were each up double-digits during the period. They also sold apparel companies Under Armour (UAA) and Nike (NKE).

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.




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For more information on the Investor Movement Index, including historical IMX data going back to January 2010; to view the full report from January 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.
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.
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Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
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