With new industries and star stocks emerging fast, this list includes many you may not have heard of.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Chinese rival NIO (NYSE:NIO) have got investors buzzing at the start of 2021, although they are far from the only US-listed stocks our customers have targeted to play this hottest of sectors.
The list of most-bought US stocks on the interactive investor platform since November has been dominated by companies involved in the roll-out of electric vehicles or charging infrastructure.
Popular picks such as XPeng (NYSE:XPEV), Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) and QuantumScape (NYSE:QS) have actually outperformed Tesla and Nio in terms of their share price performances over the same period, with Blink Charging (NASDAQ:BLNK) a stand-out success after rising by 570%.
These opportunities in a red-hot sector highlight why the US stock market is in the sights of a growing number of our clients. Wall Street's long run of outperformance over the FTSE 100 index, and exposure to the world's biggest names such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), add to the US appeal.
- Want to buy and sell international shares? It’s easy to do. Here’s how
- Most-bought US stocks in 2020
Despite fears about stretched valuations, particularly in the tech sector, the prospect of new president Joe Biden setting in motion a US$1.9 trillion economic rescue package means there are plenty of commentators backing the US market to hold its own in 2021.
It's a view shared by many of our customers as the list of most-bought US stocks between 1 November 2021 and 11 January 2021 reveals no-let up in appetite for established technology sector names or for last year's intake of Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB), Snowflake (NYSE:SNOW) and Palantir Technologies (NYSE:PLTR) among others.
Tesla is the second most-bought stock after investor enthusiasm was taken to a new level by a sustained run of profitability and its subsequent elevation to the S&P 500 index. The valuation jumped by 750% over the last year, making its founder Elon Musk the world's richest person and transforming the portfolios of many retail investors in the process.
- Tesla: is Elon Musk’s vast fortune safe?
- Why you must spread your investing wings in 2021
- How could investments fare under Joe Biden?
- Stockwatch: Tesla challenged by touchscreen woes
But even Musk is being put in the shade by Shanghai-based Nio, which has been the most-bought stock on our platform amid a 550% surge in its share price since July.
The Chinese Tesla, whose name translates to “Blue Sky Coming”, has caught the imagination, even though it remains loss making and is much smaller in production terms than its US rival after delivering 43,727 vehicles in 2020 compared with Tesla's 500,000.
But its growth potential has been recognised by fund manager Baillie Gifford, which has Nio as one of the top five holdings in its high-flying Scottish Mortgage investment trust (LSE:SMT) alongside a 12% holding in Tesla. The fund's latest report pointed to the influence of chief executive William Li, who set up the business in 2014 and floated Nio in 2018.
They noted: “We eschew prediction and prefer to partner with the entrepreneurs that are driving change. Encouragingly we are seeing more opportunities.
“Nio has endured difficult trading conditions since its IPO in late 2018 but its business is back on track and its balance sheet has been strengthened by continued investment from its founder and through local government support.”
Another US-listed Chinese stock with an eye on becoming the next Tesla is Xpeng. Younger than Nio, it delivered 27,041 vehicles in 2020, although with a record December performance its annual volumes grew by 112% compared with 2019.
Shares have trebled since raising $1.5 billion in its August IPO, with a market capitalisation of $38 billion already placing it on a par with Ford Motor. Tesla, in contrast, is worth $783 billion.
Investor enthusiasm for electric vehicles extends to Quantumscape, which has been working with Volkswagen on the potential mass production of solid-state lithium batteries.
Unlike conventional lithium-ion batteries, the technology has the potential to deliver high energy density, fast charge and a long cycle life. In recent tests, Quantumscape showed its solid-state separators are capable of a 15-minute charge up to 80% capacity.
Shares in the California-based business, which has been in partnership with Volkswagen (XETRA:VOW3) since 2012, have already risen 354% since its listing by way of a merger in November.
Another popular and high-flying stock in the sector is Nasdaq-traded Blink Charging, which this month featured on the Forbes list of America's Best Small Companies.
It boasts a network of more than 23,000 charging stations, although with global electric vehicle purchases expected to reach 10 million by 2025, up from two million in 2019, the Miami Beach-based company has just raised $232 million towards further growth. The fundraising took place at $41 dollars a share, which compares with a price of just $8 in early November.
Switchback Energy (ChargePoint)
ChargePoint, which is one of the world's largest electric vehicle charging networks, went public in September when it reversed into Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp (NYSE:SBE) in a move valuing the business at $2.4 billion.
The deal raised almost $500 million towards expansion in North America and Europe, with Baillie Gifford among those supporting the transaction. ChargePoint was founded in 2007 and has a capital-light model where it sells individual organizations and businesses — known as site hosts — everything they need to electrify their parking spaces.
Retail investors who have been on board since the start of November have been rewarded with a share price rise of more than 200% since November.
There's been a similar rise for Plug Power, whose hydrogen and fuel cell technology is increasingly used to replace lead-acid batteries in powering electric industrial vehicles, such as the fork-lift trucks in distribution centres.
Its shares recently surged to multi-year highs after it signed a joint venture with French car maker Renault (EURONEXT:RNO) to develop hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles. The shares were just over $4 a year ago, but now stand at more than $60 for a value of more than $25 billion.
The clean energy transition is also being played by interactive investor customers through their purchase of shares in Nasdaq-listed FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL).
The utilities and industry-focused company, which was founded in 1969 and mainly operates in the United States and South Korea, has seen shares rise sharply on the back of hopes that Joe Biden, will accelerate the transition away from traditional fossil fuels.
As well as low carbon exposure, investors continued to spot opportunities in a data-driven world. Analytics firm Palantir Technologies was one of the most popular after it went public in September through a direct listing, enabling existing investors to monetise their shares.
The stock rose by more than 250% at one stage after a better-than-expected earnings report in November triggered a wave of buying. Its profile among UK investors was boosted in December when Palantir's Foundry division signed a new two-year contract with the NHS, including for data processing to help health bosses understand how Covid-19 is spreading.
Warren Buffett-backed data warehouse company Snowflake also made its stock market debut in September, when shares more than doubled on their first day of trading. They peaked at $390 in December for a market value of more than $100 billion, reflecting the favourable conditions for cloud-based companies as Covid-19 has accelerated remote working trends.
Revenues more than doubled in its most recent quarter, but shares have fallen back since early December after the California-based company reported a much bigger loss for the period.
A new way of selling insurance also attracted investors to Lemonade (NYSE:LMND) in June when it became one of the first companies to test the IPO market in the wake of the pandemic sell-off.
The start-up, which has replaced brokers with machine learning and behavioural economics, got off to a flying start when shares rose 139% on their first day of trading. The SoftBank-based company hit a peak of more than $180 last week, compared with $29 at its IPO, but has come off the boil after announcing plans to offer new shares at a price of $165.
- IPO market: how the class of 2020 has fared
- IPOs to watch out for in 2021
- Find out more about IPOs on interactive investor here
Cyber security has been another closely-watched sector for interactive investor customers, with CrowdStrike Holdings (NASDAQ:CRWD) among the most-bought stocks on our platform since November.
Its backers have enjoyed the ride, given that the company's shares peaked earlier this month at more than $233 after a better-than-expected performance in third-quarter results in December. Broad-based demand fuelled an 87% jump in subscription revenue growth, having seen the addition of a record 1,186 new customers in the three-month period.
Coronavirus-related trends continue to be a factor in investor buying decisions, with the fitness platform Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:PTON) among the US stocks most in demand.
Shares were $26 in March but are now changing hands at about $157 after the company's latest quarterly figures showed revenues jumped 232% to $757.9 million. Its membership completed over 90 million workouts in the quarter across 17,000 classes, a rise of 332% year-on-year.
Fiverr International (NYSE:FVRR), which connects businesses with freelancers offering digital services in categories including graphic design, programming and animation, has been one of Wall Street's best performing stocks after a share price surge of more than 700% in 2020.
Having been forced to close outlets in the pandemic, traders have turned to the Fiverr marketplace for experts to help build an e-commerce presence. The growth follows Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) and Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) as other examples of the gig economy and the trends favouring a flexible workforce.
Fiverr raised its full-year guidance in October, when it said revenues in the third quarter grew by 88% year-on-year alongside an improved underlying margin of 8%. Shares are at an all-time high of $267, having surged from $23 in less than a year.
- Top of the markets: US smaller companies outperform
- Take control of your retirement planning with our award-winning, low-cost Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)
There's been an even swifter ascent for shares in Nasdaq-traded bitcoin miner Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT), whose fortunes have closely tracked the spiralling value of the cryptocurrency. With shares up 592% in the period since November, Riot's rapid growth has enticed speculative investors and made the company a new entry on the 50 most-bought US stocks on our platform.
Riot's bitcoin mining operations are located at Coinmint's New York facility, where its hardware fleet consists of 6,040 next generation Bitmain Antminers.
Meanwhile, the potential of gene-editing technology company CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP) for tackling serious diseases has made the Switzerland-based company a big target for customers in recent months. Crispr, which has offices in London, has established strategic partnerships with leading companies including Bayer (XETRA:BAYN), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) and ViaCyte. Its Nasdaq-listed shares have doubled since November.
50 most-bought US stocks
*most-bought US stocks on the interactive investor platform between 1 November 2020 and 11 January 2021
These articles are provided for information purposes only. Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.
Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.