Small caps Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) and US-quoted stocks Gamestop Corp (NYSE:GME), Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and NIO Inc (NYSE: NIO) have been among the most popular shares for UK investors on the big three platforms so far this year. 

And in the past month, other small caps Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) and Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) have mixed it with the FTSE 100 giants of Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:IAG) and Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.) among retail investors’ fancies. 

Among investment trust choices, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC (LON:SMT) and Pacific Horizon Investment Trust PLC (LON:PHI) have been the top two in the first half of the year, while in open ended funds, vehicles managed by Baillie Gifford have dominated but others have made it into the top ten

Top shares for AJ Bell clients in for the first half of 2021

  1. Argo Blockchain PLC
  2. GlaxoSmithKline PLC
  3. BP PLC
  4. Lloyds Banking Group PLC
  5. Rolls Royce Holdings PLC
  6. International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG)
  7. Gamestop Corp
  8. Unilever PLC
  9. Tesla Inc
  10. Aviva PLC

Top shares for Hargreaves Lansdown clients in H1

  1. Unilever PLC
  2. GlaxoSmithKline PLC
  3. Rolls Royce Holdings Plc
  4. Tesco PLC
  5. BP PLC
  6. NIO Inc
  7. easyJet plc
  8. Churchill Capital Corp IV
  9. Petrofac
  10. Imperial Brands Group

Top shares on interactive investor (for month of June only) 

  1. International Consolidated Airlines Group
  2. Rolls Royce Holdings PLC
  3. Lloyds Banking Group PLC
  4. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc
  5. Sareum Holdings PLC
  6. Vodafone Group PLC
  7. Avacta Group PLC
  8. Argo Blockchain PLC
  9. Easyjet PLC
  10. Glencore PLC

AJ Bell analyst Laith Khalaf said the most popular shares bought by DIY investors on the AJ Bell Youinvest platform in the last six months “showcases a number of investment trends which we’ve witnessed this year. At the fizzier end of proceedings, Argo Blockchain has been used by investors to get exposure to cryptocurrency, and Gamestop was the epicentre of the meme investing craze. But purchases of stocks like IAG, Lloyds and Rolls Royce show investors also continue to seek out bargains amongst the UK’s value stocks.

“Growth orientated funds still dominate the leaderboard of most popular funds, with offerings from Baillie Gifford continuing to attract investment. But there are a couple of signs of a tentative shift in investor preferences, with demand for Jupiter UK Special Situations and BlackRock World Mining suggesting some investors are positioning themselves in more cyclical areas, in preparation for an economic recovery, and perhaps inflation.”

HL equity analyst Nicholas Hyett said: “It’s good to see a selection of blue-chip FTSE mainstays remain popular with clients. These are companies with established track records generating substantial profits, cash flows and dividends and should form the backbone of any UK share portfolio. However a smattering of higher risk growth stocks, particularly in electric vehicles, are eye catching.

“Clearly investors feel the electric vehicle revolution that Tesla has led has further to run and are backing rivals NIO and CCIV owned Lucid Motors to take a growing share of the pie. 

“Also notable is the presence of Petrofac and Imperial Brands. Neither would be considered ESG friendly investments, with one an oil & gas services business under investigation by the SFO and the other among the world’s largest tobacco manufacturers. It’s an indication that while ESG is an important and growing concern across the market, for some at least the potential for outsized financial returns is still the greater draw.”

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at interactive investor, says: “Considerations for the pandemic and its impact on the outlook remain front and centre for investors. Growing vaccination rates across populations continue to battle nerves regarding the spread of the delta variant. Once again, travel related companies such as IAG, easyJet and Rolls Royce have proved prominent in share positions. 

“Elsewhere, a backdrop of Central Bank money printing continues to play into the cryptocurrency story with Argo Blockchain a favoured play – as it does with commodity prices and mining stocks such as Glencore.” 

Top investment trusts for HL for H1 2021

  1. Pacific Horizon Investment Trust plc
  2. Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust
  3. JPMorgan China Growth & Income Plc
  4. Monks Investment Trust plc 
  5. Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust plc 
  6. Smithson Investment Trust Plc 
  7. Fidelity China Special Situations PLC 
  8. JPMorgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust plc 
  9. Worldwide Healthcare Trust PLC 
  10. City of London Investment Trust

Top investment trusts on AJ Bell for H1 2021

  1. Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC
  2. Scottish Investment Trust PLC
  3. Monks Investment Trust PLC
  4. City of London Investment Trust PLC
  5. Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust PLC
  6. BlackRock World Mining Trust
  7. Smithson Investment Trust PLC
  8. Finsbury Growth & Income Trust PLC
  9. Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust PLC
  10. JP Morgan China Growth & Income PLC

Top investment trusts for ii (for month of June)

  1. Scottish Mortgage
  2. Blackrock World Mining Trust
  3. City Of London
  4. Monks Inv Trust
  5. Capital Gearing Trust
  6. Polar Capital Technology Trust
  7. Smithson
  8. Baillie Gifford Us Growth
  9. Hg Capital Trust
  10. Edinburgh Worldwide

Top funds for HL for H1 2021

  1. Baillie Gifford American
  2. Baillie Gifford China
  3. Baillie Gifford Global Discovery
  4. Baillie Gifford Positive Change
  5. Baillie Gifford Pacific Fund
  6. JPMorgan Emerging Markets
  7. Legal & General Future World ESG Developed Index
  8. Baillie Gifford Managed 
  9. FSSA Asia Focus
  10. Baillie Gifford Long Term Global Growth

Top funds for AJB for H1 2021

  1. Vanguard Lifestrategy funds
  2. Fundsmith Equity
  3. Baillie Gifford American
  4. Baillie Gifford Positive Change
  5. Baillie Gifford Global Discovery
  6. Fidelity Global Special Situations
  7. Jupiter UK Special Situations
  8. Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap
  9. Baillie Gifford Global Alpha Growth
  10. Polar Capital Global Technology

Top funds on ii (just June)

  1. Fundsmith Equity
  2. Vanguard Lifestrategy 80% Equity
  3. Baillie Gifford American
  4. Vanguard Lifestrategy 60% Equity
  5. Baillie Gifford Positive Change
  6. Vanguard Lifestrategy 100% Equity
  7. Vanguard U.S. Equity Index
  8. Marlborough Nano Cap Growth
  9. Mi Chelverton Uk Equity Growth
  10. L&G Global Technology Index Trust

Top exchange-traded products on ii (just June)

  1. Ishares Core Ftse100 Ucits Etf
  2. Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits Etf
  3. Vanguard Ftse 100 Ucits Etf
  4. Ishares Physical Gold Etc
  5. Ishares Global Clean Energy Ucit Etf
  6. Vanguard Ftse 250 Ucits Etf
  7. Wisdomtree Ftse 100 3x Daily Leveraged
  8. Vanguard Ftse All-World Ucits Etf
  9. Ishares Core Msci World Ucits Etf
  10. Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits Etf

Susannah Street, senior analyst at HL, said: “Baillie Gifford American remains hugely popular among clients. It has delivered a stellar performance due to its investments in the consumer discretionary and technology sectors. Although the fund has had a very strong performance over the past year, this is a short timeframe, so investors should consider this performance in the context of a longer time horizon and not in isolation.

“Legal & General Future World ESG Developed Index has been among the most popular funds since the start of the year, demonstrating how ethical funds are soaring in popularity. Inflows via the Hargreaves Lansdown platform into ethical funds rose 222% in 2020 compared to 2019 – and by more than 1000% since 2018. Data from the Investment Association shows that responsible investment funds attracted a record £1.2bn in January, that is 37% of the total £3.2bn poured into funds by retail investors. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and uncertainty about our futures, investors have been zeroing in on their moral values and concern for the planet.”

Dzmitry Lipski, head of funds research at interactive investor, said: “Despite inflation creeping up above the Bank of England’s 2% target to 2.1% – with indicators pointing to further raises in future – and covid ‘Freedom Day’ being pushed back from 22 June to 19 July, appetite to UK funds among our customers held firm.

“It seems investors are becoming more optimistic about the UK outlook as Brexit uncertainty has somewhat passed and vaccination levels are much higher relative to other regions. Despite the delay in full reopening and still rising in new cases, mortality levels remain low due to speed of vaccinations.

“Investment trusts that could represent reasonable inflation hedges, such as Capital Gearing and BlackRock World Mining, also crept up the tables.

“After dominating our bestsellers list for most of the year, Baillie Gifford now plays second fiddle to Vanguard on the top 10 bestsellers list in recent months. The reversal in fortunes comes amid a resurgence in demand for passive solutions according to Investment Association figures.

“Global portfolios once again dominate, accounting for half of the top 10 fund bestsellers while technology remains a popular play, with Polar Capital Technology Trust once again ranking among the top bestseller and L&G Global Technology Index Trust making the cut in June.

“There is still no place for China and Asia Pacific focussed portfolios, which have fallen out of the top 10 for the second month in a row.”