Home Finance European retail investors focus on gold and oil following Russia’s Ukraine invasion

European retail investors focus on gold and oil following Russia’s Ukraine invasion

by jcp
  • February 24th saw trading in gold instruments quadruple and oil double
  • 91.9 million securitised derivatives were traded on Spectrum Markets last month
  • Mix of long and short trading sees average sentiment for the month close to neutral

Spectrum Markets, the pan-European trading venue for securitised derivatives, has published its SERIX sentiment data for European retail investors for February (see below for more information on the methodology), a month that saw spiking interest in safe havens like gold, as well as oil, given the expected volatility, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A flurry of both long and short trades on these underlyings saw the three SERIX indicators settle close to neutral for the month as a whole, though there was a marked swing into bullish territory immediately following news of the invasion. The SERIX for gold moved from a bearish 91 on February 23rd to a firmly bullish 111 on 24th. Similarly Brent jumped from 96 to 107 over the same period, and WTI moved from 98 to peak, slightly later, at 108 on 25th.

For February as a whole, Brent and WTI averaged 96 and 101 respectively, while Gold recorded its joint-lowest month with a SERIX of 97, reflecting profit-taking and hedging of other positions that shows as bearish sentiment.

“On the 24th February, the day when Russian troops invaded Ukraine, we saw a sharp increase in trading activity on turbo warrants from retail investors across Europe. The number of trades on instruments linked to oil futures roughly doubled from the previous day, while figures for gold were four times higher, which is not surprising considering the attractiveness of gold as a traditional safe haven asset in a time of military conflict,’’ explains Michael Hall, Head of Distribution at Spectrum Markets.

“Russia’s position in international energy markets, combined with the announcement of major sanctions, has seen oil futures also play a significant role in the conflict and is clearly a big part of retail investors’ thinking,” added Hall.

During February 2022, 91.9 million securitised derivatives were traded on Spectrum, with 39.3% of trades taking place outside of traditional hours (i.e. between 17:30 and 9:00 CET). 88% of the traded derivatives were on indices, 4.5% on currency pairs, 5.9% on commodities, and 1.6% on equities, with the top three traded underlying markets being DAX 40 (28.5%), NASDAQ 100 (15.3%) and S&P 500 (15.2%).

Looking at the SERIX data for the top three underlying markets, the NASDAQ 100 and DAX 40 were relatively unchanged at 101 and 100 respectively. Meanwhile the S&P 500 declined slightly, from 102 to 99, going into the bearish zone again.

Calculating SERIX data

The Spectrum European Retail Investor Index (SERIX), uses the exchange’s pan-European trading data to shed light on investor sentiment towards current development in financial markets.

The index is calculated on a monthly basis by analysing retail investor trades placed and subtracting the proportion of bearish trades from the proportion of bullish trades, to give a single figure (rebased at 100) that indicates the strength and direction of sentiment:

SERIX = (% bullish trades – % bearish trades) + 100

Trades where long instruments are bought and trades where short instruments are sold are both considered bullish trades, while trades where long instruments are sold and trades where short instruments are bought are considered bearish trades. Trades that are matched by retail clients are disregarded. (For a detailed methodology and examples, please visit this link).


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