Retail investors are continuing to flock to the stock market, encouraged by their ability to move the markets as evidenced by the GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) trading frenzy earlier this year.
What Happened: The major online brokers continue to see rising app download activity and increased web traffic, according to a report by CNBC that cited data from JMP Securities.
Popular trading platform Robinhood saw a 55% year-over-year surge in app downloads in February to top 2.1 million, indicating that amateur investors are still coming into the market. Other brokerages such as Fidelity, E-Trade and TD Ameritrade also saw elevated app downloads last month, as per the report.
Rising presence: Retail traders made their presence increasingly felt in the markets last year amid the pandemic as boredom from the coronavirus lockdowns and the industry-wide decision to drop commissions encouraged them to invest in stocks.
The higher personal savings levels, stimulus checks from the government, and conversations on social media platforms like Reddit encouraged amateur investors to dabble in the stock markets and helped accelerate the retail trading boom.
GameStop Saga: Shares of video game retailer GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) as well as other heavily-shorted stocks such as AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) and BlackBerry Ltd. (NYSE: BB) skyrocketed in January amid a rally fuelled by retail traders belonging to the subreddit channel r/WallStreetBets bid up the stocks to create a short squeeze.
March Activity: Along with GameStop and AMC Entertainment, some of the meme stocks such as Rocket Companies Inc. (NYSE: RKT) and Koss Corp. (NASDAQ: KOSS) continue to see heightened retail investor interest even in March amid speculation small investors will invest funds from upcoming stimulus checks into the equity markets.
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