Retail inflows at nearly all-time high despite market turbulence

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May 25 (Reuters) - Individual investors are buying stocks at a pace akin to the 2021 meme-stock frenzy even as the returns on retail investments sit at multi-year lows amid a widespread sell-off on concerns about rising interest rates, Vanda Research said.

Retail investors bought stocks worth $76 billion during a three-month period ending on May 24, or $1.3 billion a day on average, compared with net purchases of $80.6 billion, or $1.32 billion a day, between January and March 2021, Vanda data showed.

The investors last year shot to fame when they banded together on online forums to fuel gains in highly-shorted GameStop (GME.N) and AMC Entertainment (AMC.N) and others that cost hedge funds billions of dollars.

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However, shares of retail darlings have since plummeted. GameStop has lost about half its value over the past year and AMC a quarter, compared with S&P 500's (.SPX) 6% slide.

The performance of retail investors' portfolio compared to broader markets in the last three months was the worst ever recorded by Vanda, which has data from the start of 2014.

That has not deterred small-time investors from buying shares of their favorite tech and growth companies such as Apple (AAPL.O), Tesla (TSLA.O) and (AMZN.O) over the past week, per Vanda, when the benchmark S&P 500 came within spitting distance of confirming a bear market territory.

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Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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