Retail investors continue to buy dip despite turmoil: TD Ameritrade

Retail investors have continued to buy the dip in the recent market turmoil, even liking tech despite the sector rout, according to TD Ameritrade’s AJ Kahling brokerage.

“Our indicators, TD Ameritrade [Investor Movement Index]just came out this morning indicating indeed that the retail traders are continuing to buy the dip,” Kahling, head of international education at the firm, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday. TD Ameritrade claims its Investor Movement Index is the ” first-ever index based on real investing behavior.”

“One of the interesting things that we saw was … tech continued to be a strong buy,” he said.

I think what customers were doing was saying ‘listen, these stocks are almost on sale.’

AJ Kahling

Head of International Education, TD Ameritrade

The world’s largest tech firms recently shed more than $1 trillion in value over three trading sessions.

As of its Wednesday close, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite on Wall Street has plummeted more than 27% so far this year.

Even bigger losses have been seen in Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech index in Hong Kong has fallen by more than 29%. On the mainland, the Star 50 index — a collection of the 50 largest stocks on the tech-heavy Star Market — has tumbled more than 28% in the same period.

Investors appear to have interpreted the pullback in tech as a buying opportunity, according to Kahling.

“It’s looking like these stocks are … at an opportunity to buy them that they haven’t been in two years. If you missed the pullback from the Covid was when we had the 23 days … of declines there, this could be your opportunity, “he said.

Much of the buying took place around the end of April rather than the beginning, Kahling said.

“What we think we saw was people waiting for, you know, a support level, technical support level happening to be reached before jumping in and buying that dip,” he added.

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Some of the names TD Ameritrade customers bought include chip making heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and American software firm Adobe.

“I think what customers were doing was saying ‘listen, these stocks are almost on sale,'” Kahling said, adding that TSMC’s stock had declined to levels not seen since October 2020.

“That was specific to the Singapore TD Ameritrade customers, but the overall client base in the US and including Singapore also bought tech-heavy — Twitter, NVIDIA, AMD,” he said. “It’s still a lot of tech buying amongst the TD Ameritrade Singapore and general population.”

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