For years, Wall Street pros have been bemoaning the exodus of mom-and-pop investors from a market increasingly dominated by high-tech pros and their blindingly fast computers.
Recent data, though, suggest the trend might be changing.
Discount brokerages TD Ameritrade and E*Trade Financial both reported sizable trading volume jumps in the first quarter, an indication that retail investors are getting more active. E*Trade reported 33 percent more volume, while TD Ameritrade said it had witnessed a 30 percent rise in activity, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Experts quoted by the Journal attributed the increase to more confidence in a stock market that has risen 180 percent from its March 2009 lows.
The data jibe with fund flow trends that have seen money exit the zero-yielding money market and mutual fund flows. Cash on the sideline has fallen to $2.58 trillion overall, representing a 4.8 percent drop from the end of 2013, according to the Investment Company Institute. The retail money market total has slipped to $912.9 billion, a decline of 2.2 percent.
Stock-focused mutual funds have taken in $64.4 billion for the year, a gain of more than 9 percent.
TD Ameritrade Chief Executive Fred Tomczyk called the gain in activity "very robust retail engagement," according to the Journal account.
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