Individual investors were yield-hungry in April, climbing back into dividend-paying stocks like AT&T (T - Get Report) and Ford (F - Get Report) , said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade (AMTD - Get Report) .
TD Ameritrade's Investor Movement Index (IMX) rose 1.8% in April to 4.41 from 4.33 in March compared to a 1.5% rise in the S&P 500. The 52-week high for the IMX is 5.39.
Each month, TD Ameritrade pulls a sample from its client base of 6 million funded accounts that 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.
Dividend paying stocks appeared to be popular in April as AT&T, Ford and Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) were each net buys, according to TD Ameritrade. AT&T and Ford's dividend yields are both above 4%, and Wells Fargo's yield is around 3%.
"The Fed has indicated that it may be on hold (in raising interest rates) longer than we think," said Kinahan. "That has investors looking for yield in reliable places."
Although widely held by TD Ameritrade clients, Apple (AAPL - Get Report) was net sold prior to announcing earnings late in the month. Many investors took the proceeds from their Apple sales and reallocated those dollars into Facebook (FB - Get Report) , according to Kinahan. The social networking giant was a net buy as it reached a new all-time high following its earnings announcement. The company's shares surged in after-hours trading and opened nearly 10% higher the next day.
"People are still excited by the prospects surrounding Facebook, even as a number of other large cap tech players stumbled in April," said Kinahan.
Finally, oil producer Chevron (CVX - Get Report) has seen its value rebound with the price of crude oil. The stock traded above $100 per share for the first time since June 2015 and was net sold, according to Kinahan.
"Lots of investors made money on Chevron, which recovered along with oil," said Kinahan. "And they sold in April in search of a high dividend yield with less commodity risk."