Howard Gold, a columnist at MarketWatch, explains that Millennials are making the same investing mistakes their parents made. But rather than making those mistakes on a clunky old desktop, they’re making them on their smartphones. Millennials’ favorite stocks are those without dividends, and instead of trading for value, they’re trading the stocks of companies they’re familiar with.
According to TD Ameritrade, the five stocks most owned by its millennial customers are—wait for it—Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.26% Facebook Inc. FB, +2.39% Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.35% Tesla Inc. TSLA, +1.03% and Netflix NFLX, +2.62% almost all staples of millennials’ daily diet. (Few millennials can afford to drive Teslas, but they’re way cool, so I guess it counts.)
These also have been among the market’s hottest stocks over the past few years, until the recent selloff took some wind out of their sails. None of the millennials’ top 10 stocks pay boring old dividends, Steven Quirk, executive vice president of TD Ameritrade’s Trader Group, told CNBC.
Quirk said nearly half of the firm’s millennial clients trade on their mobile devices, twice as much as the overall customer base. They “all trade the same” social media stocks, he said, including hip losers Snap Inc. SNAP, -1.16% and Twitter Inc.TWTR, +3.38% both now below their initial public offering prices, as millennials invest in what they know.
Those of us who’ve been around for a while have seen this movie before, and it looks like a bad sequel, like “Alien: Resurrection” or “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”
Not so long ago, before the turn of the Millennium, novice investors, caught up in the giddy potential of an internet that was going to “change everything,” threw gobs of money into fly-by-night dot-coms and solid technology companies like Cisco Systems CSCO, +0.42% Many of these “investors” may be parents of millennials, who were born roughly between 1981 and 1997.
A famous E*TRADE ad from that era urged investors to “boot your broker” and trade online. Thousands followed that advice, sometimes quitting their real jobs to day trade hot stocks like Yahoo and internet incubator CMGI (which gained almost 5,000% in five years) dozens of times a day. Sure, they used clunky old desktop PCs rather than sleek iPhones, but the result was exactly the same: Very few made any money.
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