Online brokers saw trading activity pick up sequentially in February as daily average revenue trades increased across the board. Growth in client assets remained strong with double-digit year-over-year gains.
E*TRADE Financial Corp. booked the highest year-over-year increase in DARTs in February. The online broker saw DARTs increase to 218,964 in February, up 33.5% from February 2016. The company reported DARTs of 201,464 in January.
TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. grew its DARTs 5.3% year over year in February to 534,000. DARTs had fallen 7.79% year over year to 521,000 for the company in January.
TradeStation Group Inc. continued to post a double-digit year-over-year decline in DARTs for the second straight month in 2017. The company saw the steepest drop of the group as DARTs fell 27.9% year over year to 99,588 in February. The company booked DARTs of 95,505 in January.
For Interactive Brokers Group Inc., DARTs fell 11.6% year over year in February to 678,000. Trading activity was better than it was a month earlier, however, when the broker/dealer posted DARTs of 646,000.
Discount broker Charles Schwab Corp., which does not report DARTs on a monthly basis, posted daily average revenue trades of 293,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from 285,000 in the year-ago quarter.
Charles Schwab, E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade, along with Fidelity Investments, have recently been locked in a trade commission pricing war, leading to a decline of the average trade commission fee for U.S. equities at the four brokers to $5.95 per trade as of March 3, compared to the $9.22 per-trade average as of Feb. 1.
The reductions could shrink commission revenues by 16% to 20% for the industry, Sandler O'Neill analyst Richard Repetto said in a recent note.
Total client assets climbed for most online brokers in this analysis in February with Interactive Brokers continuing to lead with a 40.5% year-over-year increase. E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade posted year-over-year gains of 24.6% an 24.3%, respectively, in the month. Schwab and TradeStation saw total client assets rise by 19% and 18.6%, respectively, compared to February 2016.
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