How are millennials trading?

Millennials—loosely defined as young adults born between 1980 and 2004—are “extremely conservative” when it comes to investing, recent surveys have showed.

For one, the millennial generation, including those with higher net worth, hold significantly more cash than any other generation, according to a report by UBS issued in the first quarter of 2015.

“We see investors who are extremely conservative, savers not investors, and not nearly as self-directed as one would expect. And they worry about their parents’ financial health and futures as much as they worry about their own,” the report, which surveyed more than 1,000 millennials, said.

Their risk-averse attitude is shaped by two unprecedented events, namely access to lightning-fast technological innovation and dramatic economic and market volatility, UBS noted.

Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, backed that view in an interview with CNBC this month.

“Some younger investors … are extremely risk averse because they have seen their parents lose their jobs, lose equity in their homes and experience stock market declines after 9/11, Enron and the global financial crisis,” the certified financial planner said.

There are, of course, some outliers within generation Y, as the millennials are also known.

Patrick O’Shaughnessy, portfolio manager at O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, told CNBC that among the millennials who invest, there is a penchant for technology and other innovation-oriented companies.

“They’re buying all the expensive, exciting names like GoPro andTwitter and Tesla,” 30-year-old O’Shaughnessy said.


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