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Entering the Second Quarter of 2015, Investor Sentiment Remains Positive on the Outlook for U.S. and Global Equities

TOKYO, PLANTATION, Fla. and HONG KONG, March 31, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TradeStation, a Monex Group company (Monex Group, Inc. is listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, code: 8698) and an award-winning broker-dealer and futures commission merchant, today announced results of the "Monex Global Retail Investor Survey, Vol. 16," which finds that U.S. investors remain upbeat in their expectations for global and domestic equities entering the spring of 2015.

Results of the online survey conducted in March 2015 closely tracked those of the previous quarter. U.S. investors' perception of the global equities markets remained positive – more than half of survey respondents (52%) expect global stocks to gain further ground in the second quarter of 2015. That number fell by 8 percentage points from December 2014, but was almost double the 29% figure recorded when investor sentiment bottomed out just nine months ago in the June 2014 survey. The percentage of respondents who see the global equities markets losing ground in the next three months also continued its steady downward trajectory, falling to 25%.

U.S. investors likewise remain especially bullish on the prospects for U.S. equities and the U.S. dollar. Sixty percent of those surveyed expect U.S. stocks to outperform stocks in Europe/U.K., Asia (excluding Japan) and Japan in the second quarter of 2015, and an even greater share – 68% – expect the U.S. dollar to strengthen the most of any currency over the next three months.

Investors' favorable outlook is also evident in expectations for their own trading volume over the next 12 months. Fifty-eight percent say they expect their trading volume to increase in 2015 – up 5 percentage points from last quarter's survey – while just one in 10 investors said they expect to trade less over the coming year.

"The latest quarterly survey results reinforce the positive shift in investor sentiment that we saw emerge in the latter half of 2014," said Salomon Sredni, CEO of TradeStation Group, Inc. and COO of Monex Group, Inc. "With a majority of investors poised to increase their own trading activity in 2015, it's more important than ever that we at TradeStation stay focused on delivering the tools and technology that will enable them to take advantage of market opportunities going forward."

China retains its favored status outside the U.S. – one in three U.S. investors (33%) believe China is poised for the strongest GDP growth of all markets outside the U.S. in 2015. However, with the Chinese economy slowing from its breakneck pace of recent years, that figure has fallen considerably, and is now just five percentage points higher than the U.K./EU region (28%) with regard to where investors perceive the strongest GDP growth to occur in the next 12 months.

As in the in previous quarter, options/futures, ETFs and stocks head up the list of favored investments by asset class – 77%, 76% and 71% of those surveyed, respectively, say these instruments present attractive opportunities in 2015. Technology and healthcare again topped the list of favored market sectors, as roughly three of four investors – 80% and 75%, respectively – expect these two sectors to post the biggest gains over the next three months.

With regard to changes in Federal Reserve Bank monetary policy, roughly three of four survey respondents (74%) expect the Fed to act sooner rather later and begin raising interest rates in 2015; of these investors, however, a plurality – 35% of respondents overall – don't expect the Fed to take action until the final quarter of 2015.

Monex has been conducting its monthly retail investor survey with its Japanese clients since October 2009. The "Monex Global Retail Investor Survey," covering retail clients in Japan, Hong Kong and the U.S., was launched in June 2011 and is conducted on a quarterly basis. Please refer to the full report for complete results.

The Monex Global Retail Investor Survey measures customer sentiment based upon answers to specific questions received from a random sampling of customers of Monex, Inc., TradeStation Securities, Inc., IBFX, Inc. (a/k/a TradeStation Forex), and Monex Boom Securities (H.K.) Ltd. Details of the methodology used to conduct the survey are available upon request. Accuracy and completeness of the data derived from the survey is not guaranteed.

The information contained herein should not be construed as investment research or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities, securities derivatives, futures or off-exchange foreign currency products or services. Investor sentiment derived from the survey responses is no guarantee of future performance or success.

Active trading regardless of asset class (equities, futures, foreign exchange) carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Relevant risk disclosures are available at www.tradestation.com

About Monex Group Inc.

Monex Group Inc. (Tokyo Stock Exchange 1st section: 8698), including its main subsidiary Monex Inc. (Tokyo, Oki Matsumoto, Chairman and CEO), an online securities brokerage, provides advanced and unique financial services to individual investors. Monex Group has been a pioneer among Japanese online securities brokers since the complete liberalization of commissions and fees in stock brokerages in 1999. Monex relentlessly strives to offer its customers in Japan innovative products and services and has established its reputation as a unique independent financial institution group. Its services cover M&A advisory, debt & equity underwriting, asset management focusing on alternative investments, investment education, and other investment banking functions along with an online distribution network to more than 1.2 million individual investors in Japan.

Monex Group aims to globalize its customer base and businesses in addition to enhancing its global product line and services. Specifically, in recent years, Monex has embarked on an ambitious plan to strengthen its products and services globally by focusing its expansion efforts to date on the growing Chinese market, by opening representative offices in Beijing and acquiring Boom Securities (H.K.) Limited and its group companies in Hong Kong. As a core element in the further expansion and global diversification of its businesses, it has been seeking opportunities to expand into the U.S. market, which it saw as the missing pillar in achieving a truly global platform. The acquisition of TradeStation provides Monex with an immediate expansion and strong commercial presence in the U.S. online brokerage market.

About TradeStation Group, Inc.

TradeStation Group, Inc., through its principal operating subsidiaries, TradeStation Securities, Inc. and IBFX, Inc. (a/k/a TradeStation Forex), offers the TradeStation analysis and trading platform to the active trader and certain institutional trader markets. The TradeStation platform offers electronic order execution and enables clients to design, test, optimize, monitor and automate their own custom Equities, Options, Futures and Forex trading strategies. TradeStation Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc., one of the largest online financial services providers in Japan.

TradeStation Securities, Inc. (Member NYSE, FINRA, SIPC, NSCC, DTC, OCC & NFA) is a licensed securities broker-dealer and a registered futures commission merchant (FCM), and also a member of BATS's BZX, BYX, EDGX and EDGA Exchanges, BOX Options Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Chicago Stock Exchange, International Securities Exchange, NASDAQ OMX BX, NASDAQ OMX PHLX, NASDAQ Stock Market, NYSE Arca and NYSE Mkt. Its TradeStation Prime Services division, based in New York, seeks to provide prime brokerage services, including securities lending, to small and mid-sized hedge funds and other firms. IBFX, Inc. (Member NFA) is a Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (RFED) that provides the company's forex brokerage offering, and IBFX Australia Pty Ltd (ASIC regulated) provides forex brokerage services outside of the United States. The London-based subsidiary, TradeStation Europe Limited (FCA regulated), introduces UK and other European accounts to TradeStation Securities, Inc. and IBFX, Inc. The company's technology subsidiary, TradeStation Technologies, Inc., develops and offers strategy trading software tools and subscription services, and hosts the TradingApp® Store.

About Monex Boom Securities (H.K.) Limited

Monex Boom Securities (H.K.) Limited ("BOOM") offers multi-market and multi-currency online securities trading services to investors all around the world. With BOOM's proprietary web-based trading platform, investors can trade equities in all major exchanges and manage different major currencies via one single account. Currently, it offers access to securities listed on over 17 stock markets in 12 countries. In addition, BOOM also develops trading solutions for other financial institutions.

Being the first company to launch Internet stock trading in Asia/Pacific, BOOM introduced a new pattern of self-directed cross-border investment by applying new technology to traditional equities trading and financial services. BOOM aims to provide retail investors with PRIVATE, EASE, SPEEDINESS and INEXPENSIVE international stock trading services.

BOOM is a fully licensed Broker / Dealer regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Hong Kong. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, one of the largest online financial services providers in Japan.

CONTACT: Monex, Inc. Yumi Matsuzaki +81-3-4323-3800 TradeStation Securities, Inc. Loren Lopez +1 (954) 652-7011 Monex Boom Securities (HK) Limited Grace Chow +852-22558880

Source:TradeStation Group, Inc.