Stocks have moved higher for the past few months as the major indices have all broken multi-year highs. In Wednesday’s trading, two online brokers hit a new 52 week high. Interactive Brokers (IBKR) touched a new 52 week high at $16.30. Charles Schwab (SCHW) also hit a new 52 week high at $19.57.

What about the other two publicly traded online brokers? TD Ameritrade (AMTD) hit a price point of $22.88, which was one penny lower than its 52 week high. E*TRADE (ETFC) fell just two cents shy of hitting a new 52 week high.

The stocks of online brokers have underperformed the overall market a bit over the last couple years because of the lack of volume and volatility in the market. Increased volatility like we saw following Wednesday’s FOMC minutes release is something that the online brokerages would love to see more often. Wednesday’s volume was far above the normal volume from the last few months.

If you wish to monitor the online brokerage business, one of the best ways to do so is by following the DARTs. Interactive Brokers strong April metrics were blogged about here, and those were certainly a good initial sign for the industry. If DARTs can improve, stocks in this sector could see even higher highs. On the other hand, if DARTs continue to disappoint it’s hard to see these stocks faring all that well in the near future.┬á will continue to keep a close eye on all the online brokers!

stocks chart