TD Ameritrade clients continued to increase exposure to equity markets during the September IMX period. The IMX score increased 15.8%, or 0.78, to 5.71 from 4.93 the previous period.
Equities were once again in favor, with TD Ameritrade clients net buyers overall and net buyers of equities during the period. Buying was particularly heavy in the Information Technology and Consumer Discretionary sectors. Market volatility increased during the period, as measured by the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, which increased above 35 for the first time since June.
Early in the period, new highs were reached in the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite, with the Nasdaq increasing above 12,000 for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also increased above 29,000 for the first time since February. Gains were short-lived, as the Nasdaq fell nearly 5% on the fourth day of the period, leading a market decline across all U.S. stock indices. Late in the period, losses picked up steam as hopes for additional fiscal stimulus dimmed and new coronavirus cases rose, pushing the Nasdaq into correction territory. For the period, the S&P 500 decreased 6.0% while the Dow Jones fell 5.2%. The Nasdaq posted the biggest decrease, down 6.7% for the period. An abundance of economic news had investors questioning the strength of the recovery. It was announced that U.S. employers added 1.4 million jobs in August, pushing the unemployment rate to 8.4%. Unemployment claims also held steady during the period, a sign for many investors that the labor-market recovery is losing steam six months into the pandemic in the United States. Johnson & Johnson Co. (JNJ) became the fourth company to announce its experimental coronavirus vaccine had entered final-stage testing in the U.S., which was welcome news as the death toll in the U.S. topped 200,000. Federal Reserve officials projected no plans to raise interest rates through 2023 and said they were committed to providing more support to an economy that faces an uneven recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
TD Ameritrade clients used market volatility to add to positions during the September period. They were net buyers of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) after each hit an all-time high early in the period but sold off as the period progressed. AAPL and TSLA each executed a stock split and traded lower with the overall market, with clients buying on the weakness. MSFT announced the launch of a cloud communications service to rival Twilio, composed of cloud-based voice and video calling, chat, and telephony features, and was net bought. Chip makers NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) were both net buys on weakness as the sector has been highly volatile amid profit-taking early in the period and coronavirus uncertainty. Retailers Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) were both …