According to new data released by TD Ameritrade, millennials are investing in many of the same stocks as people from other generations.
Millennials are defined as people born between 1981 and 1997, whereas those of Generation X were born from 1965 to 1980 and the Baby Boomers from 1946 to 1964. Over all three generations Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Bank of America, Amazon, Twitter, and The Walt Disney Company all formed part of the top 10 list of most traded stocks in 2015, writes Sally French for MarketWatch.
Appetite for risk marks millennials out from older generations
Despite the overbearing similarities, there was one particular investment which marks millennials out from the rest. The Velocity Shares 3X Long Crude ETN was the fifth most traded stock by millennials in 2015.
[drizzle]The ETN in question tracks futures contracts on WTI crude oil. It is meant for the short holding periods favored by aggressive traders. In fact it is traded very widely, but it does not feature in the top 10 list for any other generation. With ETNs the investor risks default if the underwriter were to go bankrupt because it’s an unsecured debt note. Think of it like a riskier version of an exchange traded fund.
According to FactSet the ETN ended up down around 92% in 2015. However millennials typically weren’t making long term investments. Nicole Sherrod, managing director for trading at TD Ameritrade, said that millennials favored short-term trades on this ETN due to the risk factor, whereas other, older investors were more likely to shy away from the volatility of oil.
Chipotle among most bought stocks for millennials in 2016
“It’s way more risky than the broad market,” Sherrod said. “I would not say this is dangerous, just that’s it’s more risky. The younger you are, the more aggressive you can be in your investment strategy.”
On the list of most bought equities for millennials, it came in 5th. It was 4th on the list of stocks sold. Its low price means younger investors can chase big returns on a relatively small initial investment.
Conversely mutual funds are not popular among millennial investors. “The millennial audience has a distrust for Wall Street,” Sherrod said. “They steer away from products that are managed by a professional.”
In 2016 the millennial generation investing is stocks such as Chipotle, which comes in at 10th on the list so far. “It’s declined so much that millennials are speculating where the comeback is for the stock,” she said.
In summary, it sounds like a bit of Peter Lynch without the fundamentals part, and a sprinkle of leveraged dangerous ETN thrown in.