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In a record-breaking year, here are some of the world’s most popular shares

A rockstar stands bathed in the spotlight and camera flashes from photographers, indicating a the most popular and successful share on the market
Image source: Getty Images

2020 has seen some truly unprecedented events on the ASX (yes, I know that phrase is becoming cliched, but we’re nearly done with 2020).

We had one of the shortest and sharpest bear markets in history back in March and April. And that was of course followed by a remarkable recovery in global markets.

Our own S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is up more than 45% since 23 March. American indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) are pretty much at record, all-time highs.

Data from popular broker Saxo Markets tells us that 2020 has been a record-breaking year, with “record levels of activity from both new and existing clients” using the broker.

Saxo gives a breakdown of the most popular stocks its investors were buying by country. And it makes for some interesting reading.

Clearly, its investors have been pretty good at picking winners. The top 5 stocks in terms of trading volume overall were the following:

  1. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA)
  2. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL)
  3. Nio Inc (NYSE: NIO)
  4. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT)
  5. Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN)

All five of these companies are up at least 33% year to date, with Tesla up more than 600%, and Nio up more than 1,000%.

But let’s dig into some individual countries. Here are Australian’s most popular shares on Saxo:

  1. Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT)
  2. CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)
  3. Tesla
  4. Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT)
  5. Australia and New Zealand Banking GrpLtd (ASX: ANZ)

Some names would be familiar here, but it is interesting to note that a US company in Tesla comes in at No. 3. But Aussies evidently can’t shake that affinity for blue chip shares, with CSL and ANZ making the top 5. We also have a clear turnaround play here with travel company Flight Centre.

Saxo lists the most popular shares across a further 14 countries or regions, so I won’t bore you with all of them. I can tell you that similar themes do emerge. Tesla, for instance, is in more than half of these countries’ top 5 lists.

We also see other ‘big tech’ US companies in most of them, including Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Amazon. Other ‘hyper-growth’ stocks like Beyond Meat Inc (NASDAQ: BYND), Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (NYSE: SPCE) and Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ: ZM) were also popular across the board. As were ‘vaccine stocks’ like Moderna.

Saxo head of equity strategy, Peter Garnry, had this to say on these trends: 

This year was all about the online vs offline world as technology companies were catapulted into the future by the COVID-19 pandemic while many physical industries such as aviation, travel, leisure, hospitality and automobiles came under significant pressure due to the severe restrictions and lockdowns.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Sebastian Bowen owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Facebook, and Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc, and Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Flight Centre Travel Group Limited, and Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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