Indexes Rule the Roost Amid Volatility Surge: October at TradeStation


Clients returned to exchange-traded funds in October as volatility shifted attention to the broader indexes.

Five of the 10 most active symbols on TradeStation last month were ETFs. That’s a big difference compared with tranquil September, when there was only one. Here’s a breakdown of the busiest tickers on our platforms. ETFs are marked with an asterisk (*):

  1. *SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY): The market-tracking fund rose from ninth on September’s list.
  2. Apple (AAPL): The smartphone giant held the No. 2 spot in October.
  3. (AMZN): The e-commerce giant rose one notch.
  4. Netflix (NFLX): Earnings lifted the video company from No. 7 to No. 4.
  5. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): September’s busiest symbol slipped to fifth place last month.
  6. *PowerShares QQQ Trust QQQ: The Nasdaq-tracking fund rose from 12th place in September. It hasn’t been in the top 10 since July.
  7. Nvidia (NVDA): The chip giant rose from the tenth spot last month.
  8. *iPath S&P 500 VIX (VXX): The volatility-tracking fund rose from No. 15 in September.
  9. *ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ): The leveraged instrument rose from No. 17 in September.
  10. *ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term (UVXY): The market-inverse instrument returned to the top 10 for the first time in seven months, up from No. 25 in September.

At one point, the S&P 500 was facing its biggest monthly drop since last decade’s financial crisis. But then it clawed back to close October down 6.9 percent in October. That was its worst performance since September 2011.

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David Russell is VP of Market Intelligence at TradeStation Group. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience as a financial journalist and analyst, his background includes equities, emerging markets, fixed-income and derivatives. He previously worked at Bloomberg News, CNBC and E*TRADE Financial. Russell systematically reviews countless global financial headlines and indicators in search of broad tradable trends that present opportunities repeatedly over time. Customers can expect him to keep them appraised of sector leadership, relative strength and the big stories – especially those overlooked by other commentators. He’s also a big fan of generating leverage with options to limit capital at risk.