Friday, January 29, 2021

This week's interesting finds


Exploding retail activity

The number of retail investors has been growing since commissions were broadly cut to zero in late 2019.

Demand is coming through in multiple ways but it’s arguably in the options market where retail traders are having the most impact.

Option volumes have exploded, and at the same time retail is growing as a share of the overall market. Retail was already a big player in the options market, accounting for 40% to 45% of contract volume pre-COVID, but that figure rose during 2020 to over 55% of the market by the third quarter. 

This week call option activity went parabolic. 

The herd has arrived

Much of this volume has been driven by investors congregating on sites like Reddit’s WallStreetBets forums. On January 26th, GameStop was the most traded stock in the U.S in terms of trading value. More GameStop shares traded by value than even Apple. Frenzied investors pushed GameStop’s market cap to an eye-popping $25 billion from a little over $1 billion at the start of the month. 

Having the ticker symbol “GME” was helpful even if you are in Australia. A relatively small Australian mining company called GME Resources, which has the same ticker symbol as GameStop (but in Australia), was mistakenly rewarded by the retail crowd with a 20% up day.

Trading volume in the most expensive stocks has skyrocketed 

With more stimulus coming, personal savings are expected to exceed the levels we saw after the CARES package payouts