Top traded equities of 2019

As the year comes to a close, we look at the equities that have been most popular with personal investors in 2019.

Article updated: 27 December 2019 10:00am Author: Helal Miah

  • Lloyds Banking remains top traded company for three years in row
  • Household names remain popular for personal investors in a year of economic and market uncertainty

In a year of what feels like never ending levels of market and economic uncertainty, personal investors have looked for security, with the top 10 being made up of mostly household names. The attraction of a progressive dividend policy from Lloyds has meant it tops the table for the third year in a row, while big oil companies continue to be in favour due to falling costs and a steady rise in energy prices since the 2016 lows.


This is a perennially top traded stock, owing to its familiarity among personal investors and the most UK exposed of the big banks, along with its “penny share” status.

Sirius Minerals

It was hard to miss the hype around the Yorkshire potash mine, however lack of support from the Government led to difficulty in securing the funding to develop the mine. It makes the top 10 despite shares losing nearly all their value over the last year.


With attractive yields and strong growth from the emerging markets and data use, it continues to be an attractive share. This is despite the company navigating headwinds such as slowing European economies, increased competition, increased regulation and consumers not upgrading as frequently.


In comparison to its peer group, Aviva shares have underperformed. However, investors are enticed by an attractive dividend yield, which the new management team has prioritised to protect, and hopes the team can reinvigorate the group, starting off with some strategic disposals.


It is far more operationally streamlined now with much lower costs since the oil price plunge in 2014 and is attractive to investors because of the high dividend yield, but slipping oil prices again have seen its shares drop close to the lows last seen in early 2018.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Sales of newer drugs from the group have been extremely strong over the last year or so and shares are seen as defensive, there are good growth prospects through ageing societies and emerging markets growth, while paying a good dividend.

Royal Dutch Shell

2019 has seen production gains being offset by lower oil and gas prices while the refining division has experienced tougher market conditions, which puts at risk its debt reduction and share buyback plan. However, it still remains popular as a high dividend yielding stock with a bounce back potential as it tracks oil prices.

National Grid

The regulatory framework and the potential of a hard left Government threatening to nationalise utilities has made a challenging period for the utility sector, while the group’s US exposure doesn’t entirely give it immunity from regulators and public officials as there have been issues there too.

Thomas Cook

The headline corporate failure of the year which fell victim to a host of factors. Unfortunately there were many contrarian personal investors who thought a rescue would come along to lift the shares hence why its inclusion in the top 10.


The online only fast fashion retailer has (so far) avoided the growing pains of larger peers such as ASOS, and by being smaller and making some strategic acquisitions it has seen sales grow at a faster pace than rivals.

Legal & General

So far 2019 operating profits have maintained the growth seen in 2018 and it has become the UK’s first £1tn asset manager. It continues to increase market share with individual annuities and pensions transfers, while heavier than expected mortality rates have helped release reserves. Investors also like the shares because of the attractive dividend.


Investors have been encouraged by some better trading updates from the group as a focus on customer needs has to, a certain extent, helped mitigate market shares loss to the traditional rivals and the German discounters. It has been on a path to offload some of its international businesses and the latest news that it is considering disposing it Asian units have pleased investors so that it can focus on its core UK market.


Despite many factors hitting the sector such as Brexit, unusual weather and excess capacity in the sector, easyJet has seen record passenger numbers. Investors see the airline as a likely winner as other budget airlines have failed and its expansion into packaged holidays is well-timed given Thomas Cook’s failure.

Equity data was analysed over the following time period: 01/01/19 – 31/11/19 (inclusive) and is based on the total number of trades made by personal investors at The Share Centre.

Find out what the top traded funds of 2019 were here

All information given including prices, yields and our opinion is correct at the time of publication. Our opinions on investments can change at any time and for our latest view please go to To understand how our Investment research team arrive at their views please read our Investment Research Policy.

Helal Miah portrait photo
Helal Miah

Investment Research Analyst

After graduating with an economics degree from University College London, Helal started his career within private banking at Smith & Williamson Investment Management and later held analyst and fund manager roles with the Industrial Bank of Japan, Schroders and Mitsubishi Corporation. He is a chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. 

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