TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index: IMX Closes 2019 at Year-Long High

Investors were net buyers in December, increasing exposure to equity markets

OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$AMTD #TDAmeritrade–The Investor Movement Index® (IMXSM) increased to 5.55 in December, up 7.4 percent from its November score of 5.17. 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 December IMX score reached its highest point in 14 months; although it was considered “Middle” compared to historic averages, it marked a willingness for investors to take on more exposure as the markets hit all-time highs. This is the first time in 2019 the IMX reading was not considered “Low” or “Moderately Low.”

“The December rally was fueled by strong retail industry news, encouraging industrial profit numbers from China and continued optimism around a U.S.-China trade deal getting signed in January,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “The positive headlines encouraged investors to increase their exposure in a controlled fashion for the third month in a row, and they finished the year as net buyers of equities.”

In December, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite crossed historic levels at 3,200 and 9,000, respectively, for the first time. All three major U.S. indices saw positive gains, with the Nasdaq leading the way, up 3.9 percent during the period. The S&P increased 3.2 percent during the month, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 2.1 percent. The Federal Reserve held its benchmark interest rate steady after lowering it during the previous three meetings. Movement on the U.S.-China trade front, in addition to data signaling an improvement in the Chinese economy, added optimism surrounding global financial markets.

Retail investors at TD Ameritrade net bought popular names during the December IMX period, including:

  • Walt Disney Co. (DIS)
  • Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY)
  • Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
  • Boeing Co. (BA)

TD Ameritrade clients also used record highs to net sell some popular names, including:

  • Facebook Inc. (FB)
  • Alibaba Group (BABA)
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
  • Netflix Inc. (NFLX)

Millennial Buys & Sells

In December, there were a few key differences in the stocks TD Ameritrade’s millennial clients net bought when compared to the total population. Millennials net bought Uber Inc. (UBER), AT&T Inc. (T) and Exxon Mobil Co. (XOM).

When it comes to net sold stocks, millennials differed from the total client population with Tesla Inc. (TSLA) and Shopify Inc. (SHOP).

2019 in Review

The IMX entered 2019 at a six-year low as geopolitical issues related to U.S.-China tariffs, and the potential worldwide slowdown associated with it, made headlines. By May, optimism of a China trade deal coupled with a low unemployment rate helped the IMX reach a six-month high. Over the summer, the IMX dipped once again as trade-related policy concerns led to investors favoring less-risky assets, including fixed income products. The IMX began to rebound this fall, beginning with investors reacting to a positive earnings season and Fed easing in October.

The five most popular stocks net bought by TD Ameritrade clients throughout the year were:

  • Boeing Co. (BA)
  • Walt Disney Co. (DIS)
  • Occidental Petroleum Co. (OXY)
  • AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)
  • CVS Health Corp. (CVS)

The five most popular stocks net sold throughout the year by clients included four FAANG stocks:

  • Facebook Inc. (FB)
  • Apple Inc. (AAPL)
  • Netflix Inc. (NFLX)
  • Amazon Inc. (AMZN)
  • Bank of America Corp. (BAC)

Millennials had a similar group of top buys and sells in 2019. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Tesla Inc. (TSLA) were in the top five net buys for millennials, but not the total client population. For net sold, Alibaba Group (BABA) made the list for millennials, but not the larger group.

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. For more information on the Investor Movement Index, including historical IMX data going back to January 2010; to view the full report from December 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. All investments involve risk including the possible loss of principal. Please consider all risks and objectives before investing.

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.

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

TD Ameritrade provides investing services and education to approximately 12 million client accounts totaling approximately $1.3 trillion in assets, and custodial services to more than 7,000 registered investment advisors. We are a leader in U.S. retail trading, executing an average of approximately 800,000 trades per day for our clients, more than a quarter of which come from mobile devices. We have a proud history of innovation, dating back to our start in 1975, and today our team of 10,000-strong is committed to carrying it forward. Together, we are leveraging the latest in cutting edge technologies and one-on-one client care to transform lives, and investing, for the better. Learn more by visiting TD Ameritrade’s newsroom at, or read our stories at Fresh Accounts.

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Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation


Cassie Burica

Specialist II, Corporate Communications

(773) 435-3215

Jeff Goeser

Managing Director, Investor Relations

(402) 597-8464

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