Belgian traders tempted by American stock market rush and Reddit investors

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2021 bolted straight out of the gates with a significant increase in stock trading: Belgians bought and sold 26% more shares in January than in December. Investors seem ready to put the 2020 annus horribilis behind them and show growing optimism about the economic revival of the world economy.

Reddit investors claim the stock exchange as their own

More than ever, Belgians were seduced by shares traded on the American stock exchange during January and February. Investors were clearly not blind to the ‘Reddit investors’ rush on American company Gamestop, as well as a few others. January and February saw Gamestop among the top three most-traded stocks for investors at Keytrade Bank.

Other stocks listed on the American stock exchange – including Tesla, Apple, and the Chinese car manufacturer NIO – also benefited from the increased interest in American stocks.

The rush on stocks like Gamestop also led to increased market volatility. Several brokerage firms were even forced to apply trade restrictions on Gamestop. Despite the increased risk, many Belgians showed great interest in the ‘Reddit shares’.

Whether Reddit will have an impact on Belgian investors in the long term will only become clear during 2021. In any case, companies such as Apple and Tesla have been popular with Belgians for some time. Their place in the top 10 should therefore come as no surprise. On the other hand, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also a welcome guest on Reddit where investors invariably refer to him as ‘Daddy Musk’. Are forums like Reddit contributing to the popularity of stocks like Tesla? Without a doubt. How much impact does it have? It’s hard to say.

Belgian favourites

Despite the rush on the American stock exchange, Belgians obviously stuck to some of their favourite stocks as well. Regardless of the international stock market news, AB InBev was the most-traded company in January. The brewer was ‘only’ at 8th place in the top 10 in February, but its shares were the most purchased among Belgian investors.

Other popular stocks included Galapagos (most traded in February), ING (most sold stock in February), and Barco (in the top 10 in both January and February).

Growth comes from young and small investors

The US stock market rush also revealed some subtle evolutions. Young and small investors, in particular, were the root cause of the extra trading during the first weeks of 2021. In addition, Belgian investors sold significantly more shares than usual in January and February. The Belgian investor seems to want a share of the volatile markets of the past weeks.

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Table 1: 10 most traded shares January 2021

10 most traded shares January 2021

Table 2: 10 most traded shares February 2021

10 most traded shares February 2021
Source: Keytrade Bank

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