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Millennials invested in some underperforming stocks — Uber, Canopy, Aurora — in August: new data

Brian Sozzi

Millennials may want to consider tabling that “invest in what you know” wisdom learned from the summer book reading list.

And while they’re at it, the often used Wall Street adage “buy the dip” should be put in the trash bin for right now as well. Because clearly millennials need a mental reset after having their rear-ends handed to them amidst the August volatility in global stock markets.

The top stocks bought by millennials in August were some of the worst performers in the market, according to new data from online brokerage house TD Ameritrade. Millennials were buyers of cannabis names Aurora Cannabis (ACB) and Canopy Growth (CGC) last month, which tanked 15% and 27%, respectively, per Yahoo Finance data.

They also snapped up ride-hailing outfit Uber (UBER), which saw 20% of its value go up in smoke as its CEO basically laughed at Wall Street on a conference call for demanding profits. Uber’s second quarter earnings release also broadly stunk, calling into question whether the company will ever turn a profit (especially amid fresh worries about new worker laws in California that have taken hold in September).

The only somewhat decent trades put on by millennials in September were Disney (DIS), Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT) — all three powerhouses generally traded in line to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500.

“Just like their parents, millennials were taught buy what you know. Uber sold off, so many investors came in to buy it. If you’re going to be buying a stock, you should be buying it when a stock sells off, not wait until it’s at/near the top,” explained TD Ameritrade chief markets strategist JJ Kinahan of the action last month.

Kinahan added, “When you’re very familiar with the product, and have done some investigation into the business model, investors may want to consider tempering their enthusiasm on some of these stocks until they show profits longer-term. Finally, keep in mind a time frame – retail traders need to ask themselves if this is a name they are going to hold for a while or is it something they are trying to trade really quickly? While retail traders may have a price in mind, one of the most common mistakes we see at that retail traders make is that they don’t necessarily have a time frame in mind.”

But the performances of Aurora, Canopy Growth and Uber suggest millennials enter the fall with a good bit of losses in their trading accounts.

Overall, retail investors on the TD Ameritrade platform were net buyers of Disney, Amazon, Microsoft, Beyond Meat and Uber. So in effect, more experienced traders were also left holding the bag on once hyped names in the market. TD Ameritrade’s Investor Movement Index inched up to 4.62 in July, suggesting traders began to wade back into the market once the August selling subsided.

The Investor Movement Index measures trading activity from 11 million accounts on the TD Ameritrade platform.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-host of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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