AMF says “stock marketers” are leaving the stock and crypto markets

The eighth edition of the Active Savers Scorecard of the AMF has seen a smaller influx of new private investors, bringing the overall number of individuals with brokerage accounts down to nearly half of its annual peak over the past three months.

In the quarter just ended, 600,000 individuals placed at least one order to buy or sell stocks. With the stock market on track for its worst quarter since 2008, that number is down 35 percent from the previous quarter. Judging by the numbers from previous years, curiosity about stock prices has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“Uncertainty in the markets is reflected in the decline in activity among individual investors. While markets are down for the third consecutive quarter, retail investors appear to have adopted a wait-and-see approach and held their positions,” the AMF said.

Other highlights show that stock buyers fell 19% to 485,000, their lowest level since the third quarter of 2020. In particular, the AMF survey shows that 39,000 had never placed a stock order before or were inactive since January 2018. In a further downturn in the market, the number of stock sellers fell sharply to a level well below buyers, by 43%, to 362,000.

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A previous AMF report showed that retail investor activity closed out a record year in 2021, with 1.6 million accounts making at least one equity trade, a 19% increase over the previous year.

Retail trading volume has also more than doubled over the past two years compared to the turnover seen in 2018 and 2019. This occurred as market volatility and Covid blockades created a unique opportunity for regular investors to play the unprecedented stock market rally.

The flow of new investors has remained steady but appears to have stabilized at around 50,000 per quarter, the AMF notes.

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These annual volumes are in line with those reached in 2020, when many French people turned to trading as central banks cut rates to record lows, making bank deposits less attractive.

Much of this growth was driven by first-time investors. However, the AMF has found that these new investors are not only young people, but also older people who are discovering investing for the first time.

Individual investing was on the rise even before the Covid-19 crisis hit the world. But the new virus gave just the right boost to send young investors into the financial markets.

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