60 Stock Market Statistics & Facts

Despite the current bull market — the longest in history — many Americans are reluctant to invest their hard-earned cash in the stock market. There are variety of factors at play here, including negative experiences during the 2008 financial crisis, insufficient funds and a even just a lack of financial education.

The stock market is constantly in flux, making it difficult to pinpoint the most up-to-date facts, so we curated this information to provide a stock market summary — everything from the size of the global stock market and the different countries/companies that make it up to the people who invest in the stock market.

Global Market by the Numbers

percent of world stock market cap by country

Nearly all countries participate in a global stock exchange that allows for both local and international companies to be traded. The number of traded companies varies, usually proportionately to the size of the country, but can vary from a couple hundred to as many as a couple thousand. The stock market status can fluctuate at any given time, but here are some current statistics regarding the global stock market.

  • The global market capitalization has exceeded $80 trilliona 320 percent increase from $25 trillion in 2009. [Source: Business Insider]
  • Analysts at Goldman Sachs predict that the global market cap will continue heading towards $100 trillion. [Source: Business Insider]
  • 2017 marked the first time in history that a calendar year passed without a monthly decline in an all-country index. [Source: MarketWatch]
  • Best performing major indices from the last twenty years (1998–2018) [Source: Trading View]
    • NASDAQ 100: 468%
    • Dow Jones Industrial Average: 191%
    • German DAX: 163%
    • S&P 500 with 158%
  • World stock market cap by country (Top 10) [Source: Seeking Alpha]
    • United States: 40.01%
    • Japan: 7.59%
    • China: 7.51%
    • Hong Kong: 6.51%
    • United Kingdom: 4.49%
    • France: 3.23%
    • Germany: 2.91%
    • India: 2.83%
    • Canada: 2.81%
    • Switzerland: 2.03%
  • Over 93 percent of global stock value is divided between three continents. [Source: The Money Project]
  • There are 60 major stock exchanges in the world. [Source: The Money Project]
  • Sixteen stock exchanges each have a market capitalization of over $1 trillion, accounting for 87 percent of the global market capitalization. [Source: The Money Project]
  • Major stock exchanges by market capitalization (Top 10) [Source: World Federation of Exchanges]
    • New York Stock Exchange (NYSE): 24,220 billion
    • NASDAQ: 11,860
    • Japan Exchange Group: 6,288
    • Shanghai Stock Exchange: 5,023
    • Euronext: 4,649
    • London Stock Exchange Group: 4,596
    • Hong Kong Stock Exchange: 4,443
    • Shenzhen Stock Exchange: 3,547
    • Deutsche Börse: 2,339
    • Bombay Stock Exchange: 2,298
  • Stock exchanges on the tiny islands of Malta, Cyprus and Bermuda all range from just $1 billion to $4 billion in value. Even added together, these three exchanges make up just 0.01% of total market capitalization. [Source: The Money Project]

US Stock Market Data

Unsurprisingly, the US stock market is the largest and most expensive in the world. Despite this, the US economy isn’t the most productive. China has surpassed the US as the most productive economy in the world with a $23 trillion GDP compared to the $19 trillion US GDP. Here are some important statistics regarding the US stock market.

  • The U.S. stock market makes up the largest percentage of the world stock market capitalization at 40 percent. [Source: Seeking Alpha]
  • The US market cap 32.121 trillion as of 2017. [Source: The World Bank]
  • The US stock market is currently the most expensive in the world with a Cyclically Adjusted Price-Earnings (CAPE) Ratio of 30. [Source: Nasdaq]
  • The US houses only 17% of the world’s stocks, meaning US companies are much bigger on average. [Source: Nasdaq]
  • The US exchanges (NYSE & NASDAQ) combined make up 39 percent of the entire global stock market value, bigger than the next seven exchanges together (Japan, China, Euronext, London, Hong Kong and Canada.) [Source: Liberated Stock Trader]
  • The NYSE itself is bigger than the world’s 50 smallest major stock exchanges. [Source: The Money Project]

Statistics by Industry

the technology sector is 26 percent of the us stock market value

The stock market today is dominated by tech giants like Apple and Amazon, but it hasn’t always been that way. According to the Washington Post, the big five tech companies have risen above big energy for the first time. The stock market is notorious for its cyclical pattern of bubbles followed by crashes like the dot-com bubble and the US housing bubble, but here are the current industries and companies dominating the market.

  • The US stock market’s largest sector is the technology sector, which accounts for 26 percent of the total value. [Source: Washington Post]
  • The technology sector has increased 16 percent since before the 2008 financial crisis. [Source: Washington Post]
  • World stock market by sector [Source: MSCI World Index]
    • Information technology: 19.1%
    • Financials: 16.3%
    • Healthcare: 12.9%
    • Consumer discretionary: 12.6%
    • Industrials: 11.3%
    • Consumer staples: 8.1%
    • Energy: 6.5%
    • Materials: 4.7%
    • Utilities: 2.9%
    • Real estate: 2.9%
    • Telecommunication services: 2.6%

By company

  • The 10 largest companies in the world by market value in billion US dollars (as of June 2018) [Source: Statista]
    • Apple: 926.9
    • Amazon.com: 777.8
    • Alphabet: 766.4
    • Microsoft: 750.6
    • Facebook: 541.5
    • Alibaba: 499.4
    • Berkshire Hathaway: 491.9
    • Tencent Holdings: 491.3
    • JPMorgan Chase: 387.7
    • Exxon Mobil: 344.1
  • The global top 100 companies have a market capitalization of $20.04 billion – a 15 percent increase year over year. [Source: PwC]
  • Before the financial crisis, the most valuable companies on the stock market were ExxonMobil, General Electric, Microsoft and AT&T. Now it’s all technology companies: Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. [Source: Washington Post]
  • Apple is the world’s most valuable public company, and it became the first company to reach a $1 trillion valuation on August 2, 2018. [Source: CNBC]
  • Amazon’s market value crossed $1 trillion dollars on September 4, 2018. [Source: The New York Times]
  • Analysts at Goldman Sachs project that stock repurchases will reach $1 trillion this year, up 46 percent from 2017 on the back of tax reform and strong corporate cash flows [Source: MarketWatch]
  • Share buybacks boosted the 2.2% dividend yield to an overall of 3.5% by reference to market capitalization. [Source: PwC]
  • August tends to be the most popular month for share buybacks. [Source: MarketWatch]
  • A total of $704 billion has been distributed to shareholders by the top 100 companies. [Source: PwC]

Historical Overview

  • There have been 18 economic recessions in the past 100 years — averaging one every five and a half years, roughly aligning to the business cycle of four years. [Source: Liberated Stock Trader]
  • Only two recessions have occurred in the past twenty years — 2000 to 2002 and 2008 to 2009 — making the more recent average 1 every 10 years. [Source: Liberated Stock Trader]
  • Worst stock market years by percent loss [Source: Liberated Stock Trader]
    • 1931: 47.0%
    • 1937: 38.6%
    • 2008: 38.6%
    • 1974: 29.7%
    • 1930: 28.5%
    • 2002: 23.4%
  • Best stock market years by percent jump [Source: Liberated Stock Trader]
    • 1933: 46.6%
    • 1954: 45.0%
    • 1935: 41.4%
    • 1958: 38.1%
    • 1927: 37.9%
    • 1995: 34.1%
  • August 22, 2018 marked the longest bull market in history at 3,453 days (roughly a 10-year run) [Source: Quartz]
  • Prior to 2018, the record for the longest bull market was during the dot-com boom and subsequent bust clocking in at 3,452 days. [Source: Statista]
  • Since 1980, 40 percent of stocks fell at least 70 percent, resulting in a “catastrophic loss,” and many never recovered. [Source: Investopedia]
  • Stocks have risen 1,100-fold over the past 70 years. [Source: Investopedia]
  • Stock market correction statistics [Source: Seeking Alpha]
    • On any given day, stocks have roughly a 53 percent chance of rising and a 47 percent chance of falling.
    • Over any given 3-month period, stocks rise 68 percent of the time, dropping the other 32 percent of the time.
    • Over a typical 12-month period, the odds of making money in stocks rise to roughly 75 percent.
    • If you are in the market for a long enough period of time, there is a 100 percent chance that you will experience temporary price declines at times.
  • “Fundamental discretionary traders” account for only 10 percent of trading volume in stocks today. The other 90 percent is robotic quantitative and computer algorithms. [Source: JPMorgan via CNBC)

Investor Statistics

percentage of americans who invest in the stock market

Despite clear economic advantages over traditional savings accounts, many Americans aren’t investing in the stock market. This could be a result of not enough capital or, for many Americans, simply a lack of knowledge.

If recent reports are any indication, understanding the stock market is not many Americans’ strong suits. According to our investment literacy survey, nearly half of Americans don’t even understand the basic financial markets, which is crucial to understanding the market as a whole. That same survey also showed that three quarters of Americans don’t understand bonds — the least risky investment type.

Even among those who do invest, 52 percent rebalance their stock portfolio more than once per year, which can result in unnecessary fees and negative tax consequences. Even more worrisome, 42 percent of investors don’t know how their assets are allocated in their portfolios.

  • In 1998 60% of U.S. Adults were invested in the stock market though Mutual Funds, Retirement Plans or Directly. [Source: Gallup]
    In 2007 the number of invested adults reached a high of 65%. [Source: Gallup]
  • Stock ownership before 2008 was 62 percent, but only 54 percent of Americans are invested now. [Source: Gallup]
  • Of Americans with money in the market, half have less than $40,000 invested. [Source: The Washington Post]
  • Among non-investors, 53 percent say they don’t have the money to invest and 21 percent say they don’t trust stockbrokers or financial advisors. [Source: Bankrate via CNBC]
  • 11 percent of Americans are investing in mutual funds. [Source: Lexington Law]
  • More adults in the United States own homes than stocks. [Source: Chicago Tribune]
  • For 9 out of 10 households, even a shift in value of 10 percent — enough to qualify as a “market correction” — would “at most, have a 1 or 2 percent impact on their wealth holdings.” [Source: Edward N. Wolff via The New York Times]
  • Foreign multinational and other investors own 35 percent of all United States corporate stock, up from 10 percent in 1982. That share of the pie exceeds the single slice owned by taxable American shareholders. [Source: The New York Times]
  • In 2017, when stock options were taken into account, chiefs at the 350 largest U.S. companies received an average of $18.9 million for their services — a nearly 18 percent increase over the previous year, and 72 percent since 2009. [Source: Economic Policy Institute]

By income

  • The richest 10 percent of households controlled 84 percent of the total value of stocks in 2016. [Source: Money]
  • Americans invested in the stock market by income [Source: Gallup]
Annual household income 2001 to 2008 2009 to 2017
Less than $30,000 27% 21%
$30,000 to $74,999 67% 54%
$75,000 to $99,999 85% 75%
$100,000+ 88% 89%

By age

  • Americans invested in the stock market by age [Source: Gallup]
Age  2001 to 2008  2009 to 2017 
18 to 29 42% 31%
30 to 49  71% 62%
50 to 64  69% 62%
65+ 53% 54%

By gender

  • On average, women invest more conservatively than men. Over the long run, this can result in lower returns and greater risk of your assets not keeping pace with inflation. [Source: Investopedia]
  • Americans invested in the stock market by gender [Source: Gallup]
Gender 2001 to 2008  2009 to 2017 
Men 65% 56%
Women  59% 52%

By education

  • Americans invested in the stock market by education [Source: Gallup]
College graduate   2001 to 2008  2009 to 2017 
Yes 83% 78%
No 53% 43%

All economists agree that predicting stock prices is tough; however, only slightly over half (59 percent) of Americans agree with that statement. Figuring out how to invest in the stock market — or if you even should — may seem like a challenge for most Americans, but the rewards can far outweigh the time it takes to put in a little research. In fact, according to Investopedia, if you don’t start saving until 45, you will need to save three times as much as if you start at 25! While starting early is great, it’s never too late to catch up on retirement or invest in a mutual fund. Taking control of your finances will help you feel more empowered to make smarter decisions along the way.