Saxo Bank: US tech companies top list of most popular stocks among UAE investors in record-breaking year


Tesla led Saxo Bank’s UAE list, followed by Apple, Nio, Microsoft, and

Peter Garnry, Head of Equity Strategy at Saxo Bank

In a rollercoaster year that surprised analysts and market participants alike, US technology companies attracted the highest trading volumes among Saxo Bank investors in the UAE and around the world in 2020.

The strict lockdowns and prolonged work-from-home trend which arose from the Covid-19 pandemic suited the business models of the US tech companies, reflected by the Nasdaq-100 being up more than 40% for 2020. 

EV-companies ruled supreme as the best performers of 2020, with Tesla up more than 640% and Nio (also referred to as the Chinese Tesla) skyrocketing by an astonishing 1069%.

Peter Garnry, Head of Equity Strategy at Saxo Bank, said: “This year was all about the online vs offline world as technology companies were catapulted into the future by the Covid-19 pandemic while many physical industries such as aviation, travel, leisure, hospitality and automobiles came under significant pressure due to the severe restrictions and lockdowns.

“2020 will also be remembered for the rise of Tesla as its market value surged 646%, reaching a market value of $590bn and ending the year as the biggest stock inclusion in the history of the S&P 500 Index. Part of the Tesla story was the increase in EV sales globally despite the pandemic and the rise of “green transformation” stocks highlighting a powerful new theme in financial markets.”

Here is Garnry’s analysis on the top traded UAE and global stocks:

Many analysts thought Tesla peaked back in the beginning of February. However, this was only the beginning of what would be an extraordinary year for Elon Musk. While a 646% increase brings the company into bubbly territory, a new climate friendly Biden administration could mean that there is more in store for the king of EVs. 

Apple started on the wrong foot but made a swift recovery in the first months of the year, and it takes more than a pandemic to keep customers from acquiring the latest gadgets, as the latest iPhone 12 appears to be one of the top-sellers in the company’s history. 

The strategic shift towards cloud-based services has paid off. If the work-from-home trend grows as expected, Microsoft will be a key facilitator for years to come. This is also highlighted in the stock, which gained 33% in 2020. 

While many physical stores hit a brick wall, Jeff Bezos’ everything store did not skip a beat and hired 175,000 people to accommodate the boom in online orders. However, regulators around the globe are setting up roadblocks, which could mean trouble in 2021. 


While Tesla is trying to gain a foothold in China, Nio is already there. 2020 put a spotlight on the Chinese EV company, which rose astronomically 1069 % during the year. While Musk makes the headlines, Nio benefits from the tailwind. Next step is punching their way into the European market.

Record levels of activity from both new and existing Saxo Bank clients in 2020 

Investors across the world turning to financial markets as net buyers following the March global stock market crash and historically swift recovery powered by the Federal Reserve pledge to shore up the economy. 

As the all-out stimulus to fight the biggest economic contraction since the 1930s quickly erased losses from late March, high levels of activity continued throughout 2020 and Saxo Bank welcomed more than 200,000 new clients throughout the year. 

“The year will be remembered for the fastest equity market rebound in modern history, following a sharp 34% selloff in just 23 trading days during February and March, driven by aggressive policy action across the world.

“Covid-19 has amplified the participation rate of retail investors in equity markets, a trend that was already underway before Covid-19 and mainly driven by younger people. The growing influence of retail traders has altered equity markets and created a new environment that has made it more difficult for traditional institutional investors to navigate.

Saxo Bank’s most traded stocks 2020 (YTD return %) (15/12/2020)

  1. Tesla (+646%)
  2. Apple (+70%)
  3. Nio (+1069%)
  4. Microsoft (+33%)
  5. (+67%)

UAE’s most traded stocks 2020:

  1. Tesla
  1. Apple
  2. Microsoft
  3. Amazon
  4. Nio

GCC’s most traded stocks 2020:

  1. Boeing
  1. Facebook
  2. Zoom Video Communications
  3. Alibaba
  4. Moderna

About the Saxo Bank Group:

The Saxo Bank Group is a leading fintech specialist that connects people to investment opportunities in global capital markets. As a global leader in multi-asset trading and investment, Saxo’s vision is to enable people to fulfill their financial aspirations and make an impact.  

Founded in Copenhagen in 1992, Saxo was one of the first financial institutions to develop online trading platforms that offer everyday investors the same tools and market access as professional traders, large institutions, and fund managers. As the most innovative and best choice for clients, Saxo offers broad access to global capital markets across asset classes, where they can trade more than 40,000 instruments in over 20 languages from one single margin account. The Saxo Bank Group also powers more than 120 financial institutions as partners by boosting the investment experience they can offer their clients via its open banking technology. Whether it’s through their investments or the outcome of their investments, Saxo gives clients and partners the tools, platforms and knowledge to make an impact. 

The Saxo Bank Group holds four banking licenses and is well regulated globally. With client assets totaling more than 45 billion Euros, Saxo is a global company with local presence, employing more than 2,100 people in financial centres across the world, including London, Singapore, Amsterdam, Zurich, Dubai, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.