Apex Fintech Solutions’ Data Highlights Millennials as the Most Active Traders in Fourth Quarter

Across all generational holdings, industrials and energy stocks attracted investors while TSLA is unseated by AAPL as top Gen X and Gen Z stock

Apex Marketing
Feb 22, 2023 - Last Updated: Nov 27, 2023

DALLAS, February 22, 2023 –(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apex Fintech Solutions (“Apex”), a fintech powerhouse enabling seamless access, frictionless investing, and investor education for all, today released its Fourth Quarter 2022 Apex Next Investor Outlook (“Q4 ANIO Report” or the “report”). New to the report is a longer-dated lookback at investor activity over the last three years.

The report, which analyzes proprietary data of U.S.-based investors who trade through introducing brokers on the Apex Clearing platform as of December 31, 2022, sheds light on the top 100 stocks1 held by investors across four generations, with a special focus on the millennial and rising Gen Z demographics. The report is not intended as securities analysis nor as a recommendation to buy or sell any investment and is meant for informational purposes only.

Specific themes in the Q4 ANIO Report include:

  • Millennials Take Stage as the Big Movers – In Q4, Millennials executed nearly 56 million trades, more than any other generation and 1.4x the trades made by Gen X. Gen Z made the fewest moves overall, executing just over 9 million trades.
    • Of investors who did execute trades in Q4, while many of them involved selling, a large minority of their positions had no sales and were increased with additional buying activity.
    • Across generations, over 40% of positions that saw trading activity had buy activity only, with Gen Z having the lowest buy-only percentage of 37%.
  • Investors Hold Amid Continued Recession Concerns – The end of 2022 saw notable moves up and down the bottom half of the rankings, although the top stocks— Tesla Inc. (TSLA), Apple Inc. (AAPL),, Inc. (AMZN) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT)—barely budged.
    • Each generation had a different set of significant shifts, but real estate investment trust AGNC Investment Corp (AGNC) advanced on all 4 generation lists with an average move of 21.8.
    • Self-directed investors took a wait-and-see approach in Q4. A full 92% of their positions were held. Furthermore, 89% of self-directed investors executed no trades. On the other hand, managed investors generally held less and traded more.
  • Industrials and Energy Sectors Favored Across Generations While Services Lose Steam
    • The two strongest performing sectors in Q4 across the generational rankings, were industrials and energy, with 76.5% and 76.9% of their respective tickers moving up and only 17.6% and 19.2% moving down.
    • Across all generational holdings, industrials were led by General Electric (GE), Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT), Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX), Boeing Co (BA), and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL), while energy stocks were led by namely Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM), and followed closely by BP plc (BP), Energy Transfer LP Unit (ET), and Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD).
    • The tickers that dropped the most in our Top 100 list include RIVN, which dipped an average of 27.8 spots across all generations, followed by AMC, which slipped an average of 11.8 spots. For three out of four generations — Gen Z, millennials and Gen X — businesses TTD, DKNG and RBLX also dropped the most, -27.7, -18.7, and -18.3, respectively.
  • Long-Time Leader TSLA Overtaken By AAPL – After holding the number-one spot on the Top 100 Stocks, Tesla Inc. (TSLA) was finally unseated by Apple Inc. (AAPL) for Gen X and Gen Z. For Gen X, TSLA spent nine consecutive quarters in the top spot; for Gen Z, TSLA had a four-quarter streak.
    • At number two, TSLA is still a beloved stock—especially with Millennials and Gen Z, who chose to hold at the highest rates, even as the price plummeted.
    • For self-directed investors of all ages, the TSLA hold rate is significantly higher (93%) than for investors who use managed brokerage services (84%).

“As a partner for the industry’s leading online investing platforms, Apex has a unique view into the changing landscape of digital wealth management,” said Connor Coughlin, Chief Commercial Officer, Fintech at Apex Fintech Solutions. “Throughout the fourth quarter 2022, retail investors displayed a risk-managed approach to trading and strategic investing as they continue to navigate recession fears. Millennials were the most active traders in the fourth quarter, demonstrating clear engagement and attention to evolving market conditions.”

Over the past few years, aggregate assets for all generations have risen ~16% to $52.4 trillion, while millennials and Gen Z are gaining wealth at a rate of 25%, much faster than the older generations.3 Such a massive shift in market power is fueling major implications for how, when, and why financial services are consumed today and in the future. In turn, for the first time, Apex included longer-duration data analysis to evaluate investor behavior during this period, deemed to be the “rise of the retail investor.”

The analysis found:

  • Self-Directed vs. Managed Trends Lookback (Q1 2020 – Q2 2022) – Compared to managed accounts, self-directed accounts did comparatively little selling at the lows of the stock market at the onset of the pandemic (early 2020).
    • Instead, the peak in selling (the low for the hold rate) for self-directed came at the height of meme stock volatility in Q1 2021.
    • Over the whole period, including when their rate of selling was at its highest, managed accounts consistently add to positions at a much higher rate than self-directed, who are more likely to enter a position only once or add to it fewer times.
    • Specifically, year over year from EOY ’21 to EOY ’22 the top 10 stocks with the largest decline in the value of holdings held by self-directed investors were: Tesla Inc. (TSLA), AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (AMC), Apple Inc. (AAPL), NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), NIO Inc. (NIO), Lucid Group Inc. (LCID),, Inc. (AMZN), Microsoft Corp (MSFT), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), Palantir Technologies Inc. (PLTR).

Overall, the report analyzed more than 1.3 million Gen Z accounts, in addition to over 4.0 million accounts held by Millennials, 2.0 million held by Gen X, and over half a million held by baby boomers. Apex defines generations according to the following:

  • Generation Z
    • Born: 1997–2012
    • Age in 2022: 25 and younger
  • Millennial
    • Born: 1981–1996
    • Age in 2022: 26-41
  • Generation X
    • Born: 1965–1980
    • Age in 2022: 42–57
  • Baby Boomer
    • Born: 1946–1964
    • Age in 2022: 58–76

To download the full ANIO Report, click here.

Apex Marketing - Writer for Apex