Saturday, October 5, 2013
Stock Turnover At Online Brokers Hit Record Y181tln In April-Sept
TOKYO (Nikkei)--The combined value of stock trading at seven online brokerages soared to a record high in the fiscal first half, buoyed by brisk market gains and looser margin trading regulations.
Stock turnover at the brokerages rose 4.6-fold to 181.04 trillion yen in the April-September period, according to preliminary results they had announced by Friday.
The tally at the seven brokerages -- SBI Securities Co., Rakuten Securities Inc., Matsui Securities Co. (8628), Monex Inc., kabu.com Securities Co. (8703), GMO Click Securities Inc. and Okasan Online Securities Co. -- marks a six-month record, beating the previous high of 126.96 trillion yen logged in the second half of fiscal 2005.
With the Nikkei Stock Average's lofty gains since last fall, "retail investors who had kept a distance have returned," says Tomoichiro Kubota at Matsui Securities Co.
Relaxed margin trading rules implemented by the nation's securities exchanges in January also seem to have fueled the sharp increase. Previously, individuals who conducted margin trades were required to put up new margins for additional transactions if the earlier shares had not been settled. But now, investors can reuse the existing margin for their next purchases as long as they sell the shares beforehand.
The laxer margin rules have made it easier for investors to engage in short-term margin trades, resulting in a spike in turnover. "Experienced day traders were clearly the driving force of the uptick in trading value among individuals," says SBI Securities Co. President Masato Takamura.
Margin transactions previously accounted for around 60% of the overall trading value at Internet brokerages, but have climbed to nearly 70% since January.
Investors can conduct margin trades at low cost as a result of the intense competition among online brokerages to lower trading fees, another factor driving the increase in turnover.
But on a monthly basis, trading value has lost steam since late May, when the Nikkei average tanked. The value of trading at the seven brokerages hit a monthly record high of around 46 trillion yen in May, only to tumble to around 20 trillion yen in August, then inch back to 21 trillion yen or so in September.
The securities industry is hopeful that tax-exempt individual savings accounts debuting in January will spark a fresh influx of investors into the stock market.
(The Nikkei, Oct. 5 morning edition)