Individual investors spent February rotating out of the relative safety of dividend-paying value stocks back into growth-fueled technology stocks, said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at T.D. Ameritrade.
T.D. Ameritrade's Investor Movement Index fell 1.7% in February to 4.44 compared to a flat performance for the S&P 500 (SPY) . The IMX was negative for the second month in a row. The 52-week high for the IMX is 5.39. The S&P 500 finished roughly flat for the month.
Each month, T.D. Ameritrade pulls a sample from its client base of 6 million funded accounts, which includes all accounts that completed a trade in the past month. The holdings and positions of this statistically significant sample are evaluated to calculate individual scores, and the median of those scores represents the monthly IMX.
In terms of individual stocks, T.D. Ameritrade clients were net buyers of Alphabet (GOOGL) , which saw a sharp decline from its record high at the beginning of February following the company's earnings release, but recovered later in the month. Apple (AAPL) was another net purchase. Its stock price stabilized in the second half of February.
"Apple was under $100 in February and when that happens it becomes very attractive to a lot of people," said Kinahan.
Online retailer Amazon (AMZN) posted record profits in its earnings announcement late last month, but missed analyst estimates. The stock saw price pressure until mid-February, but later rebounded and was a net buy.
On the flip side, the IMX showed telecom giants AT&T (T) and Verizon Communications (VZ) as net sales in February. Bricks-and-mortar retailers Target (TGT) , Walmart (WMT) and Macy's (M) were also net sales in February, although each saw its price trend upward later in the month.