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20 April 2023

Slight recovery of retail investor activity in the stock market

After a slowdown in the second half of last year, the number of active retail investors in the stock market in the first quarter of the year picked up again, but without returning to the levels seen between 2020 and 2022. The number of investors in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) reached the highest level recorded by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) since January 2018.  

The tenth edition of the AMF's active retail investor dashboard shows an upturn in investor activity in the first quarter, amid a strong rally in equity markets. Over the first three months of the year, 746,000 retail investors bought or sold shares at least once, compared with around 600,000 in the previous two quarters. While this level is still lower than in the first quarters of 2020, 2021 and 2022, it is much higher than in 2018 and 2019, before the health crisis.

After a wait-and-see phase in the second half of last year, the number of sellers rose significantly to 513,000, although it did not exceed the number of buyers (566,000). Of these buyers, the AMF identified 51,000 new investors who had never traded in equities or had been inactive since January 2018. 

The number of transactions involving the purchase or sale of equities during the quarter picked up significantly compared with the previous two quarters, to more than 11.9 million, which is nearly double the quarterly average observed in 2018 and 2019.

Another noteworthy development was that the number of investors in ETFs rose to 159,000, a five-year high.

The Active Retail Investor Dashboard is based on reports provided by French financial institutions and French branches of EU institutions since the entry into force of the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) in January 2018.

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