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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Having been conditioned for years by financial pundits to see the next recession as their opportunity to get rich after largely missing out on 11 years of a surging bull market, young people are viewing the coronavirus-driven stock market crash as their golden ticket.

What's happening: Thanks to zero fees, easy access afforded by the internet, and an unexpected glut of free time on their hands, millennials and Gen Zers are opening online brokerage accounts at a record pace.

  • Finance apps have seen a 55% growth in usage time from the end of 2019 to the week ended April 18, according to new data from App Annie.
  • TD Ameritrade reported a record 608,000 new funded accounts in the first quarter and more than three times the number of users in March compared to March 2019.
  • Brokerages like Schwab, Fidelity and E*Trade also reported record new users.

"The way we can see that a lot of these people are newer to investing is because they are accessing our educational resources at a rate that is three to four times what we’d normally see," Steven Quirk, EVP of trading and education at TD Ameritrade, tells Axios.

  • "And the courses they’re accessing are explainer video series about investing principles, investing basics, 'How do I buy a stock?'"
  • "Our investing courses are laid out as a journey and a lot of them are hitting the ones that are the first part of the journey."

Driving the news: Despite two separate embarrassing outages on critical trading days this year that could have sunk its business, millennial-focused trading app Robinhood has seen its valuation rise to $8.3 billion, while investing platform Stash got a new $112 million infusion that took its valuation to $800 million.

Yes, but: In their thirst for a piece of the expected market rebound, these new investors may be ignoring the economic reality of the moment.

  • The Fed, IMF and an army of the world's foremost economists predict the recession will be long lasting and many companies are expected to go bankrupt or dissolve entirely over the next year.

The last word: Those who have used their new accounts to buy the dip since late March have done quite well.

  • But if equity prices don't continue to defy gravity, the downturn could destroy already fragile savings gains for millennials who have largely been priced out of home ownership and are just starting to build wealth, wreaking further havoc on the broader economy.

Go deeper: How the stock market can lie to you

Editor’s note: This piece was corrected to take out a reference to Robinhood as partnering in a survey from App Annie, which representatives for App Annie had misstated.

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2020 - Health

N.Y. deploys "micro-cluster strategy" to target coronavirus "block by block"

New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday announced the state will deploy a "micro-cluster strategy" to target the coronavirus "block-by-block" instead of at the statewide or regional levels.

Why it matters: Cuomo said that while New York's infection rate has remained relatively low — at an average of 1.1% average as of Saturday — “the fall is a new phase."

Updated Nov 10, 2020 - World

In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

A waiter stands on an empty street in downtown Lisbon on Nov. 9, after Portugal introduced a night-time curfew for 70% of the population, including the capital and also the coastal city of Porto. It'll last for at least two weeks, per the BBC. Photo: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

Portugal and Hungary have become the latest European countries to impose partial lockdowns, with curfews going into effect overnight. Governments across the continent are imposing more restrictions in attempts to curb COVID-19 spikes.

The big picture: Over 9.2 million cases have been reported to the European Centre for Disease Control. Per the ECDC, France has the most (almost 1.8 million) followed by Spain (over 1.3 million) and the United Kingdom (nearly 1.2 million). The COVID death rate per 100,000 of the population is highest in the Czech Republic (25), followed by Belgium (19) and Hungary (10.4).

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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