The return of the French to the stock market remains to be confirmed

Twenty years later, will the CAC 40 index finally beat its record? While it reached 6,913.67 points on Friday August 13, less than thirty points from its highest reached during the session of September 4, 2000, the barometer of the Paris Stock Exchange has since fallen. Chinese economic growth, weaker than expected, and the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic, with the development of the delta variant, halted the interrupted upward movement observed since the beginning of August.

The health crisis does not, however, discourage individual savers who seem to find interest in investing in shares.

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Peaking at more than 7 million just before the subprime crisis in 2008, the number of individual shareholders has continued to decline since. A decline that has stopped in recent months.

“We have seen an inflection with the privatization of La Française des Jeux in November 2019, then some wanted to take advantage of the extremely low prices of certain companies, when the markets collapsed in March 2020”, observes Gregory Guermonprez, director of Fortuneo, one of the major players in the market for stock market orders.

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And if many observers feared that this return to favor of actions in the hearts of the French was only an opportunist movement, the latest indicators show that this phenomenon is deeper. In the first quarter, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) recorded more than 600,000 individual investors having made at least one share purchase, almost double the levels observed in 2019 with the exception of the fourth quarter. And the number of new entrants is constantly on the rise.

Shareholder rejuvenation

“After the historic year we experienced in 2020, the number of accounts opened continued to increase strongly in the first half of 2021”, says Frédéric Garcia, head of the Bourse Direct trading room. “We processed 3.41 million stock market orders during this first semester, up 8% compared to the end of 2020. This order volume remains at a level similar to that of the first semester of 2020, historically. “

Same trend at Fortuneo, whose activity had multiplied by 2.5 during the first half of 2020 and grew by 4% in the first six months of 2021.

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However, if we are witnessing a renewed interest in the stock market, this has not yet translated into an increase in individual shareholders. According to the latest Kantar survey for the AMF published in July 2021, the share “Of investors declaring to hold shares directly stands at 6.7%, against 6.9% in March 2020”. The holding rate of collective equity investments (excluding unit-linked life insurance contracts) remains low. “It is estimated at 2.1% in March 2021 (…) against 2.7% in 2018.”

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