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Tesla Inc, Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust among most popular shares and funds for private investors

Investors were looking in the bargain bin for a lot of their share and fund purchases in December and for most of last year

Small cap stocks, downtrodden blue chips and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) were among the most fancied shares for UK retail investors last year, according to data from major investment platforms.

A mix of exciting tech and local value were among the dominant themes for those who look to investment trusts for their gains.

December’s most popular shares were led by fashion retailer Boohoo Group PLC (AIM:BOO), with investors looking for a bargain after a profit warning sent the share price to a five-year low.

Fellow AIM constituent genedrive PLC (AIM:GDR) was second on the list, which is based on purchases on the Interactive Investor (ii) platform, as it received approval for its point-of-care Covid diagnostic test kit.

Third, fourth, sixth and seventh were Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LSE:RR.), Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LSE:LLOY), International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE:IAG) and Cineworld Group PLC (LSE:CINE), FTSE 350 names that have remained extremely popular with bargain-hunting investors expecting the market to turn in their favour, be that by an upturn for the travel sector, in Bank of England interest rates, or bums on cinema seats.

New technology, in short, drove continued interest for electric car leader Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain PLC (LSE:ARB, OTCQX:ARBKF, NASDAQ:ARBK) and hydrogen trailblazer ITM Power PLC (AIM:ITM).

For the fourth quarter as a whole, oil was a big theme, with BP PLC (LSE:BP.) proving the top purchase and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LSE:RDSB) further down the list of purchases, via data from AJ Bell.

Most popular shares in December

  1. Boohoo Group
  2. Genedrive Plc
  3. Rolls Royce Holdings PLC
  4. Lloyds
  5. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)
  6. IAG
  7. Argo
  8. Cineworld Group
  9. ITM Power
  10. Omega Diagnostics
Data from ii

Most popular shares in Q4

  1. BP
  2. Tesla
  3. Glaxosmithkline
  4. Rolls Royce
  5. Boohoo
  6. International Consolidated Airlines
  7. Aviva
  8. Royal Dutch Shell
  9. Lloyds
  10. Unilever
Data from AJ Bell

Across the whole of 2021, Argo Blockchain was the most popular share on the AJ Bell platform and second on ii’s. 

The cryptocurrency player proved more popular with private ISA and SIPP investors than the host of blue chips which filled places from second to seventh, GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LSE:GSK), BP PLC (LSE:BP.), Lloyds, Rolls, IAG and Unilever, plus Aviva PLC (LSE:AV.) in ninth.

Tesla proved a top pick across the whole year for small investors, and delivered very strong gains to early November before giving back some as CEO Elon Musk sold stock, which many investors seemed to see as a potential discounted buying opportunity. Up around 50% over the year, most investors will be very pleased.

Reddit meme-stock GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) was tenth most popular over the year, with the stock up from US$15 at the start to almost US$150 by the end of the year, but it would be interesting to find how many portfolios still holding the struggling US retailer.

Most popular shares in 2021 (on AJ Bell)

  1. Argo Blockchain
  2. Glaxosmithkline
  3. BP
  4. Lloyds
  5. Rolls Royce
  6. IAG
  7. Unilever
  8. Tesla
  9. Aviva
  10. Gamestop

Most popular shares in 2021 (on ii)

  1. Rolls-Royce
  2. Argo Blockchain
  3. IAG
  4. Lloyds Banking
  5. BP
  6. Boohoo
  7. ITM Power
  8. easyJet
  9. Tesla
  10. Glaxosmithkline

“Share investors have shown no shame about rummaging about in the bargain bucket in search of cheap items,” said Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at AJ Bell.

“At the more speculative end of proceedings, some investors also chose to back the crypto miner Argo Blockchain. Retail investors can no longer buy crypto ETFs, so it’s not too surprising to find crypto enthusiasts alighting on Argo Blockchain as a way to gain exposure to this emerging asset class within their SIPPs and ISAs.”

As for investment trusts, the FTSE 100-listed tech investor with the unlikely name, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC (LSE:SMT), was the most bought in December and across the whole year.

Analyst Keith Bowman at Interactive Investor said studies suggesting that the new omicron Covid variant has a lower risk of hospitalisation than previous strains helped keep travel stocks such as British Airways owner IAG and engine maker Rolls on the radar for investors.

Most popular investment trusts in December

  1. Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust
  2. Smithson Investment Trust
  3. Harbourvest Global Private
  4. Polar Cap Tech Trust
  5. Allianz Technology
  6. City Of London Investment Trust
  7. Capital Gearing Trust
  8. Monks Investment Trust
  9. Edinburgh Worldwide
  10. Personal Assets Trust PLC
Data from Interactive Investor

Most popular investment trusts in Q4

  1. Scottish Mortgage
  2. Scottish
  3. City of London
  4. L&G Global Tech Index
  5. Smithson
  6. Finsbury Growth & Income
  7. Monks
  8. RIT Capital REIT
  9. F&C
  10. Blackrock World Mining Trust

Most popular investment trusts for 2021

  1. Scottish Mortgage
  2. Scottish
  3. Monks
  4. City of London
  5. Smithson
  6. Edinburgh Worldwide
  7. Blackrock World Mining
  8. Finsbury G&I
  9. Foreign & Colonial
  10. Fidelity China Special Situations
Data from AJ Bell

“DIY fund buyers didn’t get the memo that value investing is back in fashion, instead largely plumping for growth strategies over the course of 2021. Success breeds success they say, and retail investors clearly have a high conviction that these funds will continue to prosper,” said Khalaf.

There are sound reasons for buying growth-orientated investments, but investors shouldn’t entirely neglect value funds, in case market leadership changes.

December’s buying saw tech a popular strategy, with Polar Capital Technology, Allianz Technology Trust and Legal & General Global Technology Index Trust all in the top 10, while inflation proofing was also notable as Personal Assets and Capital Gearing proved fashionable, with exposure to inflation-linked bonds and small weights to gold to protect against rising real world prices.

Dzmitry Lipski, head of funds research at II, said: “Our customers sought adventurous options and inflation proofing strategies in almost equal measure in December amid a backdrop of rising inflation and interest rates.

“The tech sector suffered a wobble early on in 2021 but bounced back as the market rotation towards value shares fizzled out.”

More broadly, he noted that retail investors continue to favour fund strategies that have their fingers in a number of investment opportunities globally, offering diversification amid an uncertain market.

Most popular open-ended funds in December

  1. Fundsmith Equity
  2. Vanguard Lifestrategy 80% Equity
  3. Legal & General Global Technology Index Trust
  4. Baillie Gifford Positive Change
  5. Vanguard Lifestrategy 60% Equity
  6. Rathbone Global Opportunities
  7. Vanguard US Equity Index
  8. Vanguard Lifestrategy 100% Equity
  9. Baillie Gifford American
  10. Vanguard Ftse Global All Cap
Data from Interactive Investor

Global exposure and technology were also prominent in open-ended funds, with US exposure and sustainability factors also notable.

Terry Smith’s Fundsmith Equity retained the crown for AJ Bell customers of most popular fund despite a relatively weak year for performance.

“Investors won’t be too disappointed with a 17% return, even if it is 4% shy of the wider global stock market, particularly when Smith’s exceptional track record to date is factored in,” said Khalaf.

“Credit in the bank hasn’t helped Lindsell Train Global Equity retain a place in the top ten though, and the long term Fundsmith competitor is somewhat conspicuous in its absence.”

Based on latest updates, Lindsell Train Global Equity lost 1% in 2021 compared to a market that has risen over 20%.

“Train and Lindsell are sticking to their guns, and clearly have pedigree as investment managers, but the turn in performance shows how quickly and severely an investment style can fall out of favour, and highlights why it’s important to keep a diversity of manager styles in any active fund portfolio. Nick Train, Michael Lindsell, and their investors will be hoping that 2022 brings a return to form,” Khalaf added.

Most popular funds in 2021

  1. Fundsmith Equity
  2. Fidelity Index World
  3. Baillie Gifford American
  4. Baillie Gifford Positive Change
  5. Fidelity Global Special Situations
  6. Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap
  7. Baillie Gifford Global Discovery
  8. Liontrust Sustainable Global Growth
  9. Polar Capital Global Technology
  10. Baillie Gifford Global Alpha Growth
Data from AJ Bell

Read More: Tesla Inc, Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust among most popular shares and funds for private investors

2022-01-05 10:27:00

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