Markets

The next AI winners and other companies investors have been buying this year

Tue 06 Feb 24, 4:06pm (AEDT)
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Key Points

  • January marked a strong market performance with new highs in both US and Australian indices, driven by optimism over inflation and potential rate cuts
  • Australian investors across age groups showed common interest in US exposure through ETFs, with preference shifting to AI-focused themes
  • Resource stocks, particularly lithium, witnessed a decline in popularity among younger investors, while BHP remained popular across all age groups

January was the month for fireworks – and I’m not just talking over the Harbour Bridge. It was a cracking month for markets. Stocks and bonds rallied, pricing in good news re slowing inflation and the potential for rate cuts later in the year. The S&P 500 hit new highs – but as it happens, Australia joined in the rally and finished January on a new record too – surpassing the previous record from August 2021.

Investors focused on broad-based indices and miners on the home front, steering towards AI themes in the US across January. It’s a slight difference to November 2023, which saw major banks feature more on the home front.

Once again, Livewire has partnered with Stake to bring you insights into what Australian investors and traders, in different age cohorts, were transacting. As it happens, there was clear common ground in the stocks to watch – no generation wars here. That said, there was a distinct preference for ETFs in younger cohorts. This is not surprising given the lower costs typically involved in these investment products and broad exposure they can offer to the market.

Megan Stals, market analyst for Stake, has also provided some commentary on what she saw in the data.

Please note that all data below has kindly been provided by Stake. None of the companies or instruments noted below should be considered a recommendation. Please do your own research before considering any investment. Past return is not a reliable indicator of future return. 

January most watched Australian stocks

  1.  iShares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV)

  2. Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS)

  3. BHP Group (ASX: BHP)

  4. Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ)

  5. Vanguard MSCI International Shares Index ETF (ASX: VGS)

  6. Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA)

  7. Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS)

  8. Vanguard Diversified High Growth ETF (ASX: VDHG)

  9. Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG)

  10. Betashares ASX 200 ETF (ASX: A200)

Megan Stals, market analyst for Stake: January saw an uptick in trading as investors remained optimistic following December’s Santa Claus rally.

The iShares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV) is the most watched ASX stock in January, showing how the appeal of US exposure is also impacting the local market. This comes as no real surprise given the continued outsized returns on the index and increasing expectations of a ‘goldilocks’ economic landing.

ASX stocks bought by age groups (most bought by unique customers)

AGE COHORT: 18-30

  1. Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS)

  2. iShares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV)

  3. Vanguard MSCI International Shares Index ETF (ASX: VGS)

  4. Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ)

  5. Betashares Diversified All Growth ETF (ASX: DHHF)

  6. Vanguard Diversified High Growth ETF (ASX: VDHG)

  7. Betashares ASX 200 ETF (ASX: A200)

  8. Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS)

  9. BHP (ASX: BHP)

  10. Vanguard US Total Market Shares Index ETF (ASX: VTS)

AGE COHORT: 31-54

  1. Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS)

  2. iShares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV)

  3. Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF (ASX: VGS)

  4. Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ)

  5. Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS)

  6. BHP (ASX: BHP)

  7. Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WDS)

  8. Vanguard Diversified High Growth ETF (ASX: VDHG)

  9. Core Lithium (ASX: CXO)

  10. Betashares ASX 200 ETF (ASX: A200)

AGE COHORT: 55+

  1. Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WDS)

  2. Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS)

  3. BHP Group (ASX: BHP)

  4. Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS)

  5. Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR)

  6. iShares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV)

  7. Core Lithium (ASX: CXO)

  8. Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ)

  9. Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN)

  10. Resmed (ASX: RMD)

Megan Stals, market analyst for Stake: Resource stocks continue to prove popular, but there are signs that lithium is falling out of favour with young investors. 

While Pilbara Minerals was the second most watched stock at the end of last year, it has since dropped to seventh as the lithium price has plummeted. Pilbara Minerals, the most popular lithium play on Stake, is still in the top 10 most bought across age groups, yet has been slowly falling down the list month to month.

BHP is only the individual stock featured on the lists across all age groups, having benefited from high iron ore prices in late 2023. Yet lower nickel and copper prices could also weigh on the firm if current trends continue.

Woodside also gained interest from the older age groups due to a potential merger with Santos (ASX: STO) still being under discussion and the prospect of higher energy prices following tensions in the Middle East.

January most watched US stocks

  1. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD)

  2. Nvidia (NYSE: NVDA)

  3. Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT)

  4. Amazon (NYSE: AMZN)

  5. iShares Bitcoin ETF (NYSE: IBIT)

  6. Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (NYSE: VOO)

  7. Apple (NYSE: AAPL)

  8. Alphabet (NYSE: GOOGL)

  9. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (ASX: SPY)

  10. Tesla (NYSE: TSLA)

Megan Stals, market analyst for Stake: Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) saw incredible momentum, emerging as the most watched stock of the month, and more than double the number of watchlist adds when compared to December. Nvidia remains more popular in terms of buys, but many see AMD as another potential winner.

AMD reported full year results that exceeded expectations on the 30th of January, but the stock fell slightly due to a weaker than expected sales forecast. But with AMD launching its new Instinct MI300 Series in a bid to compete with Nvidia’s AI prowess, investors will be watching closely as the rivalry heats up. 

The iShares Bitcoin ETF (NYSE: IBIT) made an appearance in the most watched stocks list, following its high profile approval by the SEC. Interestingly, the ETF only featured in the most bought list for the over 55s. Whereas younger investors may have already acquired crypto through an exchange, ETFs could be making Bitcoin more appealing for people that don’t want to navigate crypto exchanges.

US stocks bought by age groups (most bought by unique customers)

AGE COHORT: 18-30

  1. Tesla, Inc. (NYSE: TSLA)

  2. Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (NYSE: VOO)

  3. NVIDIA Corporation (NYSE: NVDA)

  4. Apple Inc. (NYSE: AAPL)

  5. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD)

  6. Amazon.com (NYSE: AMZN)

  7. Microsoft Corporation (NYSE: MSFT)

  8. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (ASX: SPY)

  9. Alphabet (NYSE: GOOGL)

  10. Meta Platforms (NYSE: META)

AGE COHORT: 31-54

  1. Tesla (NYSE: TSLA)

  2. NVIDIA Corporation (NYSE: NVDA)

  3. Apple (NYSE: AAPL)

  4. Amazon (NYSE: AMZN)

  5. Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT)

  6. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD)

  7. Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (NYSE: VOO)

  8. Alphabet (NYSE: GOOGL)

  9. Palantir Technologies (NYSE: PLTR)

  10. Alibaba (NASDAQ: BABA)

AGE COHORT: 55+

  1. Tesla (NYSE: TSLA)

  2. NVIDIA Corporation (NYSE: NVDA)

  3. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD)

  4. Amazon (NYSE: AMZN)

  5. Apple (NYSE: AAPL)

  6. Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT)

  7. Alphabet (NYSE: GOOGL)

  8. Palantir Technologies (NYSE: PLTR)

  9. iShares Bitcoin ETF (NYSE: IBIT)

  10. Meta Platforms (NYSE: META)

Megan Stals, market analyst for Stake: Nvidia continues to be the most bought AI-focused stock, featuring in either second of third place across all age groups.

Interestingly, Tesla moved back to being the most popular US stock in January, after displacing the Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (NYSE: VOO). We saw a spike in buys following Tesla’s disappointing earnings release last month, showing that many retail investors still have high conviction in the EV maker’s success despite the headwinds. That said, we do see its lead beginning to slip as Nvidia continues to steal the limelight.

Alibaba sneaked into the top ten for the 31-54 group, being the only non-US tech stock on the list. This was partly driven by significant insider buying by the company’s founders, Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, yet the relatively cheap valuation of 10x earnings may also be appealing to those looking for options outside the US. 

This article was first published for Livewire Markets.

Written By

Sara Allen

Content Editor

Sara is a Content Editor at Livewire Markets and Market Index. She is a passionate writer and reader with more than a decade of experience specific to finance and investments. Sara's background has included working at ETF Securities, BT Financial Group and Macquarie Group. She also holds a degree in psychology which drives a continued fascination with how human behaviour drives and is driven by investments and market activity.

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