Today marks the half-way point for the Fall Half of the 2014/2015 Fortress Global Macro University Challenge. We would like to take this opportunity share a few highlights from our analysis of everyone’s trading records.

In looking for general investing trends, we focused strictly on those students who have traded 10 or more names and have logged into the platform at least every couple of days. This sub-set of Challenge participants has taken on a combined total of 5,863 positions. We were pleasantly surprised to find that 40% of these most active students have traded some currencies and futures:

half-way

Some highlights:

  • Equity themes: As always, AAPL is dominant – about a third of the people in this group having traded in it. Yet those who go look for less widely followed names seem to have no shortage of original ideas; the most popular 20 names combined were found to account for less than 15% of the total number of positions held.
  • Currency themes: Among currencies, those driven largely by fiscal policy – EUR, GBP, and JPY – have been by far the most popular. The next most popular group consisted of commodity-driven currencies like the AUD, BRL, CAD, and RUB.
  • Commodities: The most popular futures and ETFs have been those linked to oil and gold. Quite a few students have also traded VIX ETFs; we would advise against taking positions in the VIX as they are far more risky than most students realise – VIX ETFs’ Beta versus the S&P 500 is often greater than 10.