Stock Trading Frenzy Has U.S. Volumes Near Peak Panic Levels

Stock Trading Frenzy Has U.S. Volumes Near Peak Panic Levels

The frenzy of trading in U.S. equities is showing no signs of abating and looks set to surpass levels seen during the worst of the pandemic panic in March.

Over the last 20 days, an average 15.8 billion shares have traded each day on all U.S. exchanges, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s just below the 16.1 billion average hit on March 25, which was the highest in at least over a decade, the data show.

Stock Trading Frenzy Has U.S. Volumes Near Peak Panic Levels

Bursts of trading in U.S. stocks usually come amid periods of surging volatility in markets, such as the spike seen early last year when fears about the coronavirus spread led to a sharp selloff in equities. This time, volatility is much more subdued suggesting the jump in trading activity is one more sign of exuberance in the stock market.

The S&P 500 Index is up over 4% so far this year and closed at an all-time Thursday.

Last month’s parabolic surge and rapid collapse in GameStop Corp. shares seems to have done little to dampen enthusiasm for equity exposure. A similar measure of euphoria in the options market -- volume in bullish bets via call options -- has itself hit another record.

“We’re seeing so many signs of frenzied speculation,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group Ltd. “This is part of the retail trader explosion.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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