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Most Traded Stocks on the ASX & Australia's Trading Trends

Saxo Stories

Saxo Group

Summary:  We've taken a look at our client's trading activities to find out what the most traded stocks are in Australia, and how trading trends for Saxo Markets' Australian clients compare to the global market by demographics.


The stock markets are just as diverse today, if not more so, than they were 20-30 years ago. Since 1992, the number of listed companies on the ASX has expanded from less than 1,000 to 2,090 publicly listed companies as of July 2021.

With more than double the number of stocks and shares available for millennial and Gen Z retail clients to trade, it begs the question as to whether traders are diversifying the stocks they trade or if they are remaining loyal to long-established stocks and brands worldwide.

We’ve looked back through a host of datasets to pinpoint the top-performing stocks in the year to date based on geography, sex, and age range. We’ve even explored the most traded stocks by search engine volumes to discover whether search interest correlates to how retail traders are investing down under.

Globally vs Australia

Part_01_Global_vs_Australia

In terms of the ten most traded stocks by our Australia-based retail clients compared with the global average across our entire client base, how do they compare? Are there certain stocks that appeal exclusively to our retail traders down under?

Interestingly, the top three most traded stocks rank identically among our Australian clients compared with our global average:

  1. GameStop Corp.

    The US-based GameStop stock has been in the public domain for several months now. Millions of retail investors active on the Reddit community opted to take on institutional investors and hedge funds by speculating hard on the GameStop stock. Retail traders knew that most of Wall Street had opened short (sell) positions on GameStop i.e. speculating on the price falling. The Reddit community opted to open millions of long (buy) positions to force the price up and cause hedge funds to suffer substantial losses in a so-called “short squeeze”.

    The fact that GameStop’s share price was manipulated by users through social media resulted in it being labelled a “meme stock” throughout the financial sector.
     
  2. AMC Entertainment Hold Inc.

    Like GameStop, AMC Entertainment shares have also garnered the attention of Reddit’s WallStreetBets community. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, much of Wall Street opted to take a short position on AMC with the cinema giant understandably taking a significant hit with the closure of its screens. The chain lost almost $4.6bn in 2020 and its overall 2020 revenue was down 77% year-on-year.

    AMC was promptly labelled a meme stock in the same way as GameStop. It experienced a rise in its share price of over 1,400% in 2021, as its cinemas reopened its doors to the paying public. Following a substantial rise in value, AMC Entertainment even opted to sell 11.55m of its own shares to capitalise on the price surge. However, the firm warned in its filing to the US SEC of the ”volatility” in the market and that it did not know “how long these [market] dynamics will last”.
     
  3. Tesla Inc.

    Retail investors across Australia and the rest of the world have flocked to trade the price of Tesla. It’s the third most traded stock down under and across our global client base. One of the main reasons behind the surge of interest in Tesla shares was the company’s earnings – it posted its first full year of profitability in 2020.

    Tesla is right at the forefront of the electric vehicle (EV) industry. In Q4 2020, Tesla’s EV production was up 71% year-on-year. It’s also posted an ambitious target of delivering 500,000 new EVs worldwide by the end of 2021. The volatility of the Tesla share price is often caused by its enigmatic and loose-lipped CEO Elon Musk. Tesla is also no longer the only listed company heavily invested in the future of EVs today.

Other leading stocks that rank in the ten most traded stocks both down under and on a global scale include:

  • Apple Inc.

    Apple has long been viewed as a prominent growth stock. Its share price is largely dependent on sales of its latest smartphones, with the momentum of the new iPhone 12 helping to buoy the Apple stock. It’s also at the forefront of the 5G smartphone revolution, with Apple expected to dominate more than a third (35%) of the global 5G market by the end of 2021.
  • Palantir Technologies Inc.

    Palantir Technologies is famed for working closely with the US government in developing its Gotham software platform. More than half (56%) of Palantir’s income is derived from US government contracts. With a string of new ambitious contracts signed with the US government, including deals with the US Special Forces Operation Command and the US Space Force, Palantir anticipates annual revenue growth of at least 30% in the next four years.
  • Nio Inc.

    We’ve already touched upon the fact that Tesla is no longer the only dominant force in the EV industry and one of its emerging competitors is Nio Inc. The ‘Chinese Tesla’ is forging ahead with developing a trio of new luxury SUV-style EVs for launch in 2022. With 90% of all new vehicle sales in China expected to be fully electric or hybrid by 2030, companies like Nio are hoping to stand the test of time this decade.
  • Alibaba Group Holding Ltd
    Alibaba is China’s equivalent of Amazon. It’s playing an increasingly influential role in China’s e-commerce and cloud computing scene. In many ways, Alibaba’s growth potential is there for all to see. For its full-year ending March 2022, revenue growth is expected to hit 31%, compared with Amazon’s 18% revenue growth in FY21. Alibaba’s share price has surged over 300% since going public and with bold plans to support over two billion active users of its digital platform by 2036, it’s by no means finished yet.

Three of the top ten most traded stocks among our Australia-based retail clients did not feature on our global top ten average, suggesting they are some of the most traded stocks within the Australian economy:

  1. Zip Co Ltd

    The ASX-listed Zip Co went public in 2012 at a price of less than $1 per share. In mid-February 2021 it peaked at a price of $13.92 per share. Zip Co is one of Australia’s most innovative point-of-sale credit and payment solutions providers, offering ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ services down under. It also recently acquired the US-based Quadpay to expand its footprint stateside.
     
  2. Afterpay Ltd

    Australian fintech giant Afterpay has been on the radar of many a retail trader down under. It has grown into one of the biggest ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ providers on the planet, let alone down under. Earlier this year, Afterpay was acquired by Square in a deal worth an eye-watering $29bn. With millennial and Gen Z consumers displaying an aversion to credit, the Buy Now, Pay Later craze shows no signs of abating.
     
  3. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd

    Fortescue is the fourth largest iron ore producer in the world and one of the most prominent Australian companies on the ASX. In 2020, Fortescue posted annual revenues of $17.62bn, with employees totalling over 11,000. In August 2021, Fortescue posted its highest ever annual profit and dividend as a consequence of rocketing iron ore prices. Underlying net profits of $10.35bn – up from $4.75bn last year – underline why Australian retail traders have a keen interest in its growth.

Male vs Female

Male_vs_Female_AUS_top stocks

We’ve also taken the time to assess the trading trends of male and female retail clients down under to ascertain whether the most traded stocks and stock types differ between the sexes.

Interestingly, four of the top five most traded stocks for male and female retail clients in Australia were the same, albeit in different orders:

Male

  1. GameStop Corp.
  2. AMC Entertainment Hold Inc.
  3. Tesla Inc.
  4. Zip Co Ltd
  5. Apple Inc.

Female

  1. Zip Co Ltd
  2. GameStop Corp.
  3. AMC Entertainment Hold Inc.
  4. Tesla Inc.
  5. NOVONIX Ltd

The numbers show that the ‘meme stocks’ of 2020 and 2021 have proven the most traded across the board with our male and female retail clients in Australia. Both GameStop and AMC have seen liquidity rise across the board due to their heightened exposure. Consequently, meme stocks have been an easy starting point for those new to retail trading, despite the volatility and subsequent risks involved with buying or selling these stocks.

Green technologies and the push for EVs has seemingly captured the imagination of male and female retail traders, with their continued focus on the Tesla share price. Brisbane-based NOVONIX was the one anomaly from the list of top traded stocks among our female clients. This too has the potential to make a huge impression on the EV space. NOVONIX produces anodes for EV batteries and is one of the only non-Chinese synthetic graphite producers, making it immune from China’s internal political or global trade matters. NOVONIX anticipates producing 20 million tons of graphite anodes by 2025, with forecasts of its output growing to 100 million tons annually by 2030.

Other commonly traded stocks among our Australian male retail clients

  • Ocugen Inc.
    Ocugen Inc. has attracted interest ever since it started to develop Covaxin – a Covid-19 vaccine produced in collaboration with Indian firm Bharat Biotech. They are a company whose roots lie in gene therapy for eye diseases, but its shift to tackling Coronavirus has caught the eye of the biotech sector.
  • Meten EdtechX Education Group Ltd
    Meten EdtechX has rapidly become one of China’s leading English language training (ELT) services provider, equipping Chinese professionals and young students with English as well as future skills training. More recently, the company announced an underwritten public offering of ordinary shares and pre-funded warrants to purchase ordinary shares.
  • Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd
    Flight Centre Travel Group is headquartered in Brisbane and has come under increasing scrutiny in the last 12-to-18-months as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its share price rose after its half-year earnings report in February 2021, which saw annualised costs fall $1.9bn and a 12% increase in total transaction value to $1.5bn. Despite this, it remains one of the most shorted stocks on the ASX due to the ongoing fragility surrounding global travel.

Other stocks that are commonly traded among our female retail clients down under

  • Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF
    The Vanguard Australian Shares Index is clearly a favoured ETF among our female retail clients down under. It tracks the return of the S&P/ASX 300 Index, providing broad-based exposure to Australian brands publicly listed on the ASX. ETFs like these also have a propensity to offer sizeable dividends on strong performance.
  • The a2 Milk Company Ltd
    The a2 Milk Company is a dual-listed company on the ASX and the NZX that’s captured the eye of female retail traders by specialising in A1 protein-free milk. Its share price has plunged considerably in the year to date, with the strict lockdowns across Australia and New Zealand heavily impacting on revenue.
  • Pilbara Minerals Ltd
    Pilbara Minerals is a West Perth-based lithium mining firm that has witnessed its share price soar by over 145% in the year to date. At a relatively low value of between $1-$2 per share throughout 2021, Pilbara has offered a low barrier of entry for female retail traders looking to test the water and invest at low risk.

Age Trends

Ages trends top traded stocks australia_AU

We also delved deeper into our client demographic data to ascertain whether certain stocks appealed more to our younger retail clients than our older clients – and vice versa.

The data confirms that the so-called meme stocks have managed to transcend retail traders of all ages, with GameStop Corp. ranking as the number-one most traded stock among those aged 21-30, 31-40 and 41-50-years-old.

It’s a similar story for the AMC Entertainment meme stock, which also ranked consistently as the second most traded stock in August 2021 among our retail clients aged 21-30 and 41-50-years-old. Zip Co Ltd proved the second most traded stock among those aged 31-40-years-old, although AMC Entertainment ranked a close third.

Key points of note in the 21-30-year-old age range

  • Palantir Technologies is listed only in the top ten most traded stocks among our 21-30-year-old retail clients. This suggests that our younger clients are more readily considering stocks related to the global efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF is also listed only in the top ten most traded stocks among our youngest retail clients. This ETF is a solid entry-level option for retail investors new to ETFs and seeking broad-based exposure to the biggest firms listed on the ASX.
  • Qantas Airways Ltd also appears exclusively in the 21-30-year-old top ten, with our youngest retail clients looking at going long or short on Australia’s flagship airline that’s also been hit hard by ongoing Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Key points of note in the 31-40-year-old age range

  • Our retail traders aged between 31 and 40 years old have focused largely on biotech and fintech stocks in recent weeks, with Biolase and Ocugen listed exclusively on the top ten most traded stocks among those aged 31-40. Both stocks experienced substantial gains earlier this year but have since seen those profits steadily retract.
  • Payment solution providers such as Afterpay and Qudian Inc. – which are based in Australia and China respectively – have also attracted significant attention from our retail clients aged 31-40.

Key points of note in the 41-50-year-old age range

  • The biggest headline from the top ten stocks most traded by our retail clients aged 41-50 is the focus on decarbonisation and the future of net-zero transport. Nio Inc, Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd, Piedmont Lithium Ltd, and Plug Power are all exclusively listed here, underlining the shift towards ‘green stocks’ among our older retail investors.

Search Trends

Changing google search trends Australia 2020 2021

It’s also important to look at the kinds of stocks and shares users are searching for online and the types of sectors that retail investors are looking to research. Do the most searched for stocks correlate to being the most traded shares to trade with Saxo Markets?

In July 2020, the monthly search volume for the GME share price was just 10 searches. A year later, the term ‘GME share price’ was searched 74,000 times in July 2021 – representing an increase of 739,900% year-on-year. GME is the stock quote of GameStop, which has been the key ‘meme stock’ of the last 12-to-18 months, capturing the imagination of both our male and female retail clients down under and across the globe.

The top 10 trending stocks in 2021

  • GME share price (739,900% increase in search volume)
    The GameStop stock was the first of the ‘meme stocks’ to garner the attention of the Reddit community and beyond. In early 2021, it was the most traded equity in the global stock markets, attracting more attention than even Apple and Tesla.
  • Aussie Broadband share price (28,900% increase in search volume)
    The Aussie Broadband share price has surged 129% in the year to date, as the telecommunications firm broadens its reach and strengthens its technical capabilities. A recent strategic fibre swap deal involving VicTrack has expanded its full-fibre network.
  • AstraZeneca shares (23,900% increase in search volume)
    The AstraZeneca share price has risen over 15% in the year to date, underpinned by the strength of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.
  • Moderna stock price (15,900% increase in search volume)
    Like AstraZeneca, the Moderna share price has also experienced significant attention due to the success of its Covid-19 vaccine. The Moderna stock has risen 272% in the year to date.
  • Nio stock forecast (9,900% increase in search volume)
    Chinese EV manufacturer Nio saw its stock reach an all-time high of $63 in February 2021. Although it remains a loss-making corporation, its future in the EV industry appears bright.
  • Zip share price today (9,900% increase in search volume)
    Australian fintech giant Zip Co Ltd saw its share price surge from $5.50 to highs of $13.92 in mid-February 2021. However, it has been one-way traffic downwards since with the costs of its expansion laid bare. Its cash EBTDA for 2021 was $22.9m after finishing 2020 $3.5m in the black.
  • Amazon share price today (4,700% increase in search volume)
    Amazon’s share price continues to know no bounds with a price increase of more than 9% in the year to date. It’s been largely one-way traffic upwards for the e-commerce giant in the last five years, attracting global attention from retail traders.
  • Nokia share price NYSE (3,800% increase in search volume)
    Finnish mobile technology giant Nokia has seen a surprise upturn in fortunes with its shares up 60% in the year to date. This is largely due to improvements in its bottom line with operating margins of 12.8% in Q2 2021 and liquidity of €3.7bn in net cash.
  • Afterpay shares today (2,500% increase in search volume)
    Fintech giant Afterpay has seen its share price rise over 11% in the year to date. Its $39bn acquisition by US-based Square Inc. saw the firm garner increased attention from retail traders through August.
  • Flight Centre share price history (2,500% increase in search volume)
    Long-term retail traders will have seen that Flight Centre’s share price is down over 44% in the last five years, due largely to the global pandemic. Positivity surrounding Covid-19 vaccinations has seen the share price bounce 16% upwards in the year to date.

Disclaimer: All trading carries risk.  Any past performance stated is not an indication of future performance.

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