Stocks just crashed because of coronavirus. Investors responded by flocking to index ETFs in a huge way.
The SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (SPY) shot back up the rankings for TradeStation’s most active symbols. It not only rose two positions to reclaim the top spot for the first time since October. SPY also outpaced its nearest rival by almost 2-to-1.
The change is typical of highly volatile periods like March. Stocks make bigger moves when they fall, and they get more correlated. Stock-picking goes out the window and fast day trading dominates.
Speaking of March, the S&P 500 slid 13 percent — its the biggest monthly decline since October 2008. It capped off the worst quarter since that same period at the peak of the subprime crisis.
SPY knocked Tesla (TSLA) and Apple (AAPL) from the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. Both moved down one notch from February.
ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ), a leveraged fund tracking the Nasdaq-100, was the fourth most-popular symbol in March. It rose from sixth place the previous month, following the bias toward indexes.
Ford Motor (F) rounded out the top five, inching down one spot from February.