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Revealed: Top US and AU stocks in 2024 – are you missing out?

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There's a clear slant to how investors view the 2 markets, according to Stake data.

Aussie trading platform Stake has released its list of the most bought US and AU equities last financial year and it paints an interesting picture of how local retail investors are trading.

While established ETFs (exchange-traded funds) dominate down under, individual stock picking is the name of the game for retail investors tackling the US stock market.

What does this tell us?

Perhaps nothing extraordinary, but it does show investors are looking to the States in search of better returns.

In fact, 3 of the most popular Aussie stocks are actually ETFs that track US or international stocks, and only 1 local stock makes the top 5.

With how the US stock market has performed recently, especially its blue chip tech stocks, it's perhaps no surprise tech-savvy investors are going heavy on the US market. Thanks to platforms like Stake, it's also easier and cheaper than its ever been to invest directly in US markets.

But if a generation of investors are looking elsewhere, is this an existential worry for the local stock market?

Most popular Australian stocks

1. Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS)

Australia's largest ASX ETF, VAS is the most popular local investment for Stake users. The dividend-heavy fund, which tracks the top 300 companies on the ASX, is up a modest 2.30% in 2024 (excluding dividends).

2. iShares S&P 500 ETF (IVV)

The iShares IVV ETF tracks the 500 largest companies on the US stock market and is up 18.4% in 2024 off the back of surging US tech stocks.

3. Vanguard Msci Index International Shares ETF (VGS)

A similarly US-focused ETF, the Vanguard VGS ETF ostensibly tracks a basket of international companies, but is dominated by the largest US stocks, which make up around 75% of the fund. It has a return of 12.7% this calendar year.

4. Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (NDQ)

Yet another US-focused ETF, this time tracking the performance of the Nasdaq-100 index, the NDQ ETF has returned 20.85% this year.

5. Pilbara Minerals Ltd (PLS)

The exception to the rule, Pilbara is the only individual Australian stock to make the list. The mining giant is actually down 25% in 2024.

Most popular US stocks

1. Tesla (TSLA)

The crown prince of retail investors, the electric carmaker remains the most bought stock on Stake, despite a relatively modest 5.60% return so far this year.

2. Nvidia Corporation (NVDA)

It's THE stock success story of the post-Covid market and the pioneering chip maker is up a staggering 172% in 2024. Nvidia has become something of a bellwether for the burgeoning AI industry.

3. Apple (AAPL)

The tech heavyweight remains a favourite amongst retail investors and has recently reclaimed its place as the most valuable company in the world. It's up 23% this year and has just set a new all-time high (ATH) of US$228 per share.

4., Inc. (AMZN)

Another tech titan, Amazon is up 33% in 2024 and has also recently hit a new ATH of US$200, taking its total market capitalisation past US$2 trillion.

5. Microsoft (MSFT)

Apple's key competitor for the title of world's most valuable company, Microsoft has also had a strong 2024, returning 24% in the calendar year so far.

Looking for a low-cost online broker to invest in the stock market? Compare share trading platforms to start investing in stocks and ETFs.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involve substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances and obtain your own advice before making any trades.

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