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Argo Blockchain, Rolls-Royce Holdings and Tesla among March investor favourites

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust remained the most popular investment trust on the major UK platforms

BlackRock -

Cyclical stocks and passive funds made a comeback among investors in the past month, while small cap Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) continued to mix it with the blue chips.

Investors saw value in British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) and aero engine maker Rolls Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.), which were in the top three most popular shares on the major investment platforms, a trend that was also emerging with investors the previous month.

This also fitted into the wider market theme of investor rotation from growth stocks to value stocks, typically more cyclical and mature businesses.

“A major theme was travel and, in particular, airline and airline-related stocks,” said noted Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

“Other demand-led shares in the event of a recovery saw a number of oil stocks in the list, with the ever-present Lloyds Banking also falling into that category, as investors tried to get ahead of a potential return to some kind of normality later in the year.”

Pondering the cyclical flavour of the month, analyst Laith Khalaf at AJ Bell said the likes of Rolls Royce, IAG, and BP PLC (LON:BP.) are among those “stocks that will do well if there is a strong economic recovery”.

UK investors continued to look overseas for opportunities, though Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) were the only non-UK shares in the top 10s.

That is, unless you look at spread-betting and CFD platforms. 

On IG, the top 10 has six US-traded names, led by Tesla and its Chinese rival NIO (NYSE:NIO) and hydrogen fuel cell specialist Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG). 

“We are still seeing plenty of interest in the high growth stocks like Tesla, despite recent falls, with Nio also making an appearance, and Plug Power providing a step change from electric cars to fuel cells,” said IG analyst Chris Beauchamp.

“Zoom has also come into focus as questions loom about whether the surge in its shares will last given the prospect of a return to the office in even a limited form, given the lofty valuation it currently enjoys.”

The weakness of Tesla stock was a reason to tempt bargain hunters, with Khalaf also lumping Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR) into this category.

“While both have suffered a fall from grace in recent weeks, they are long term winners that have benefited from investors’ focus on future earnings growth.

“This split between growth and value stocks reflects a dichotomy of views in the market, on whether or not inflationary pressures are building, and perhaps promising a reversal of the trends we have seen in the market for the last decade,” he said.

Most bought stocks on Interactive Investor March

  1. Rolls Royce Holdings PLC
  2. IAG
  3. Argo Blockchain PLC
  4. Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY)
  5. Tesla Inc
  6. Cineworld Group (LON:CINE)
  7. Premier African Minerals Ltd (LON:PREM)
  8. BP PLC
  9. 88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E)
  10. Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN)

Top 10 shares on AJ Bell

  1. BP
  2. International Consolidated Airlines
  3. Rolls Royce
  4. Argo Blockchain
  5. Tesla
  6. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB)
  7. Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR)
  8. Gamestop Inc (NYSE:GME)
  9. Cineworld
  10. Astrazeneca PLC (LON:AZN)

Top 10 buy trades on IG

  1. Tesla
  2. NIO
  3. Rolls-Royce
  4. IAG
  5. Apple
  6. Lloyds
  7. Plug Power
  8. Palantir
  9. BP
  10. Zoom

On the investment trust front, City of London re-entered the Interactive Investors top 10 table of the most bought investment trusts among interactive investor customers following a four-months absence.

Prior to departing the list in November, the trust had been a regular member of the top 10, with its income consistency a key attraction.

“The resurgence of City of London adds to a growing body of evidence that investor sentiment to the UK has started to pick up following a tumultuous period for the region owing to Brexit uncertainty and the pandemic,” said Teodor Dilov, fund analyst at Interactive Investor.

“The Investment Association also reports that UK funds ended an eight-month streak of outflows in February. With the UK on the cusp of exiting lockdown, it will be interesting to see if the seemingly renewed appetite remains.”

Polar Capital Technology lost its place in the II top 10, though the rest of the trust remained in the same place as the month before.

Scottish Mortgage continued to be the most popular investment company across platforms, despite the recent wobble for big tech stocks.

Baillie Gifford, the manager of the FTSE 100-listed trust, also has several others in the top 10s, Edinburgh Worldwide and Baillie Gifford US Growth occupy second and third place, while Pacific Horizon is in fifth position.

While Baillie Gifford is losing long-running manager James Anderson, they are winning lots of followers, noted AJ Bell’s Khalaf.

“The sheer number of Baillie Gifford funds hitting the sweet spot with investors shows the investment group is far from a one trick pony, and while the departure of James Anderson is of course a blow, success has not been limited to just Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust,” he said.

Ahead of the just-passed tax year end, passive funds proved popular on the platforms.

However, only one company was a notably bestseller and that was Vanguard - with its LifeStrategy funds proving very popular.

On the Interactive Investor platform, the Vanguard Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equity fund surged five positions from the previous month into second, while the 60% variant rose from ninth to seventh place, and the 100% Equity and Vanguard US Equity Index both climbed onto the list.

Among active funds, Fundsmith Equity returned to the top spot for II customers, knocking Baillie Gifford American off its perch.

The LifeStrategy range has remained a favourite despite the dominance of active funds on the top 10 fund bestsellers over the past year, noted Dilov.

“These funds have developed a strong reputation, underpinned by a solid performance track record – even during the coronavirus crisis.”

He noted that the Vanguard US Equity Index had not been seen in the top 10 most-bought funds’ list for about a year, with its inclusion coinciding with US president Joe Biden’s $3trn Covid recovery package.

Top 10 investment trusts on Interactive Investor in March

  1. Scottish Mortgage
  2. Edinburgh Worldwide
  3. Baillie Gifford Us Growth
  4. Allianz Technology
  5. Pacific Horizon
  6. JPMorgan China Growth & Income
  7. City Of London
  8. Fidelity China Special Situations
  9. Monks
  10. Blackrock World Mining

Most popular investment trusts on AJ Bell

  1. Scottish Mortgage IT
  2. City of London IT
  3. Edinburgh Worldwide IT
  4. Monks IT
  5. Scottish IT
  6. JP Morgan China G&I IT
  7. Allianz Technology
  8. Baillie Gifford US IT
  9. Pacific Horizon IT
  10. Smithson IT

Top funds on Interactive Investor March

  1. Fundsmith Equity
  2. Vanguard Lifestrategy 80% Equity
  3. Baillie Gifford American
  4. Vanguard Lifestrategy 60% Equity
  5. Baillie Gifford Positive Change
  6. Baillie Gifford Global Discovery
  7. Vanguard Lifestrategy 100% Equity
  8. Baillie Gifford China
  9. Baillie Gifford Pacific
  10. Vanguard Us Equity Index

Top funds on AJ Bell

  1. Fundsmith Equity
  2. AJ Bell Responsible Growth
  3. Baillie Gifford American
  4. Vanguard Lifestrategy funds
  5. Fidelity Global Special Situations
  6. Fidelity Index World
  7. Lindsell Train Global Equity
  8. Polar Capital Global Technology
  9. Baillie Gifford Positive Change

Quick facts: Argo Blockchain PLC

Price: 225 GBX

LSE:ARB
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £858.96 m
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