How a rush of a high-energy, momentum-embracing retail traders is remaking markets


Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Source: The New York Stock Exchange

The rush of retail investors into stocks is putting a charge into the post-Covid bull run while also turning trusted market signals staticky and upending some familiar trading patterns.

About 10 million or so new online brokerage accounts were opened last year by relative newcomers who are, in general, shunning the plodding, passive, get-rich-slowly approach in favor of playing small, fast-moving stocks, short-dated options and unproven companies with a claim on some big-picture societal trend.

This action is changing the market’s metabolic readings in several ways, the clearest perhaps being the blistering turnover rates in the riskier regions of the tape.

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