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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Investor Movement Index (IMX)?

The Investor Movement Index®, or the IMXSM, is a proprietary, behavior-based index created by TD Ameritrade designed to indicate the sentiment of retail investors’ portfolios. It measures what investors are actually doing, and how they are actually positioned in the markets.

The IMX does this by using data including holdings/positions, trading activity, and other data from a sample of our six million funded client accounts. This data is used to create a snapshot that can be monitored over time, or compared to other market indicators, to suggest the current sentiment of the real portfolios held by retail investors.

Why did TD Ameritrade create the IMX?

As one of the largest online brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade is often asked by financial news media, investment analysts, and others for insight into the mood and behavior of retail investors. Up to now, we and others have largely relied on opinion surveys – which measure what investors are thinking or what they’re saying – to provide this information.

With six million funded client accounts spanning investors of all ages, account sizes, and experience levels, we saw a unique opportunity to create a quantitative, behavior-based index that can better reflect what retail investors are actually doing. As a result, when it’s combined with opinion-based research, the IMX can provide a more complete snapshot of retail investor sentiment.

How is the IMX calculated?

We create a monthly sample from all of our retail (individual, self-directed) investor clients who have traded recently. Then we use a proprietary methodology based on the holdings and positions in each portfolio to create an individual score. The process is similar to beta weighting (a method of analysis which considers the percentage of each position in a portfolio to create a view of profit and risk), but instead relies on our proprietary models. The median of the individual scores is the overall, or official, IMX.

The overall IMX score is democratic: A large portfolio and a small portfolio will have the same influence on the score. In other words, each client account in the sample is treated equally – whether it has $2,000 or $2 million in it.

Are all TD Ameritrade client accounts counted in the IMX?

No, and the sample changes from month to month. In order to calculate a score measuring client behavior, it’s best to draw from actual client account activity over that period.

So each month, we draw a sample from our six million funded client accounts that include all TD Ameritrade retail (individual, self-directed) investor clients who have traded at least once in that time period. Please note that client account activity is only compiled in aggregate in order to protect the privacy of any individual account.

How do I interpret this report?

It’s best to review IMX trends over time, rather than focusing on one month’s score. If a score increases month over month, that likely means that investors are getting more bullish. If a score decreases month over month, that can either mean that investors are becoming bearish, or that they are less bullish than before. There are no defined bullish/bearish thresholds for the index. Scores should be viewed relative to other periods – the more scores you consider, the more likely you are to see trends that can be compared to other indices or market dynamics.

For example: If the index decreased from one month to the next after hitting a new high, that may be because investors are taking profits and reducing exposure to the market. But relative to other periods, the score is still high – indicating that portfolios are still bullish.

How much IMX data is available prior to January 2013?

The first official IMX data was for the month ended December 31, 2012. Each future release will include the overall score and a commentary.

If you’re interested in seeing past IMX scores going back to January 2010, click on the Table view under the chart.

How can I use the IMX to make investing decisions?

While the IMX can help provide insight into retail investor behavior, it cannot predict the direction of the market. It provides a snapshot of what individual investors are currently doing within their portfolios. This snapshot, when viewed over time, can be used to suggest a bullish or bearish sentiment on the part of retail investors.

Investors shouldn’t rely solely on one indicator or study to make investing decisions. Instead, it’s a good idea to monitor a variety of indicators and studies when considering an investing decision.

Can the IMX be broken down by individual client portfolio scores or any other demographics (i.e. active traders, Baby Boomer investors, etc.)?

The IMX is meant to be viewed only at an aggregated level, and its data is only compiled in aggregate in order to protect the privacy of any individual account. Neither individual scores nor scores by a specific group are available.

How often is the IMX updated?

The IMX is issued monthly. Click here to see the schedule. )

IMX Schedule


Below are the monthly release dates for the Investor Movement Index.

Monday, May 5, 2014
Monday, June 9, 2014
Monday, July 7, 2014
Monday, August 4, 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014

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Investor Movement Index® (IMX) 1.25

0.05+4.00%

For December Net Change from previous month
 
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About The IMX


What is the Investor Movement Index (IMX)?
The Investor Movement Index®, or the IMXSM, is a proprietary, behavior-based index created by TD Ameritrade designed to indicate the sentiment of retail investors’ portfolios... See full answer

Why did TD Ameritrade create the IMX?
As one of the largest online brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade is often asked by financial news media, investment analysts, and others for insight into the minds of retail investors ... See full answer

How is the IMX calculated?
We create a monthly sample from all of our retail (individual, self-directed) investor clients… See full answer

View all Frequently asked Questions

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