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Tesla leads 10 most-traded retail stocks on the Nasdaq in 2021

Associated Press

  • The Nasdaq Retail Trading Activity Tracker ranked the top 10 stocks among day traders in 2021.
  • Tesla leads the group, thanks in part to retail traders’ love of Elon Musk and EV makers.
  • Popular exchange-traded funds like Invesco’s QQQ also made the list. 
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Retail traders made their mark on Wall Street in 2021, and final results are now in.

It started in January, when millions banded together on social media sites like Reddit to drive massive gains in meme stocks like GameStop and AMC. It spread elsewhere in the market throughout the year.

The Nasdaq Retail Trading Activity Tracker found the top 10 stocks among day traders from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, based on the percent of total retail activity. Here they are:

10. Moderna

Share of total retail trading activity: 1.1%
12-month stock performance: 89%

moderna vaccineA container of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is seen at the United Memorial Medical Center on December 21, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images/Go Nakamura

Getty Images/Go Nakamura

Retail traders poured into Moderna stock since the company’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccination was approved in the US in late 2020.  

9. ProShares UltraPro QQQ ETF

Share of total retail trading activity: 1.2%
12-month stock performance: 76%

Stock MarketReuters

REUTERS

This exchange-traded fund is one of the largest that tracks the Nasdaq index.

8. NIO

Share of total retail trading activity: 1.6%
12-month stock performance: -41%

Nio lineupThe Nio lineup. Nio

Nio

Retail traders love electric-vehicle makers. This Chinese EV company has been dubbed “China’s answer to Tesla.”

7. Invesco QQQ ETF

Share of total retail trading activity: 1.7%
12-month stock performance: 25%

the Invesco logo seen displayed on a smartphone.Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This popular fund is the official ETF of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and has helped young investors get started with a new computer game that teaches them keys to financial success.

6. Nvidia

Share of total retail trading activity: 1.7%
12-month stock performance: 124%

A sign is posted in front of the Nvidia headquarters on May 10, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.Nvidia headquarters in Santa Clara, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Last year, retail traders on sites like Reddit hyped up Nvidia, the maker of graphics processing units (GPUs), for gaming.

5. SPDR S&P 500 ETF

Share of total retail trading activity: 1.9%
12-month stock performance: 25%

Stock market trader new yorkXinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

This ETF largely tracks the performance of the broader S&P 500 index.

4. Advanced Micro Devices

Share of total retail trading activity: 2.2%
12-month stock performance: 51%

AMD headquartersAP Photo / Paul Sakuma

AP Photo / Paul Sakuma

Retail traders bought up this semiconductor maker’s stock, thanks in part to major tech companies like Microsoft and Google purchasing its chips.

3. AMC

Share of total retail trading activity: 2.2%
12-month stock performance: 1,037%

2019 American Cinematheque Award - Arrivals - Beverly Hills, California, U.S., November 8, 2019 - Adam Aron.AMC CEO Adam Aron. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

AMC is perhaps one of the most well-known meme stocks. Its CEO Adam Aron has capitalized on retail-trader hype through social media, investor perks, and even NFT offerings.

2. Apple

Share of total retail trading activity: 3.9%
12-month stock performance: 36%

FILE PHOTO: An Apple logo is seen at the Apple store in Munich, Germany, January 27, 2016.  REUTERS/Michaela RehleAn Apple logo is seen at the Apple store in Munich. Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters

In the new year, Apple became the first US company to cross the $3 trillion market capitalization level. It has since fallen back below that threshold. 

1. Tesla

Share of total retail trading activity: 4.5%
12-month stock performance: 42%

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, stands at a press event on the grounds of the Tesla Gigafactory.Elon Musk, Tesla CEO. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Retail traders love EV makers, and they love Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He has been an icon for the retail community, partially because of his Twitter account. He’s also led his carmaker to become one of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the world.

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