22 Breathtaking Stock Market Statistics & Facts 
The Duch East India Company opened the world’s first stock exchange in 1602. The stock market, also known as the equity market and share market, has seen rallies and crashes ever since. But even with this volatility, the stock market offers statistically one of the highest returns on capital for investors.
Public traded companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are the most popular investments, but cryptocurrency trading also started dominating the world’s financial markets. This article reveals breathtaking statistics about the stock market you surely want to know about.
Most Remarkable Stock Market Statistics
- The total stock market volume from July 2020 to June 2021 was nearly $149 trillion.
- Three stock market crashes with losses beyond -35% happened in this Millenium. Two of them caused >50% market declines.
- April and November have been the best-performing months in the S&P 500 during the past 20 years, while January and September are typical underperforming months.
- The United States represents 55.9% of stock market capitalization globally.
- 53% of all families in the U.S. are invested in the stock market.
Stock Market Statistics
1. Most Significant Stock Market Crashes of the Millenium
The S&P 500 lost over 50% of its value during the dot-com bubble burst between March 2000 and October 2002. The crash lasted 2 years and 8 months before markets started to gain back to new all-time highs over the course of 5 years until July 2007.
In October 2007, the S&P marked a new all-time high again but failed to go higher. Instead, the financial crisis led the market to a decrease of over 57% in just 1 year and 6 months between October 2007 and March 2009.
From there, the market started an impressive really all the way up to new highs in 2020 before the pandemic caused the most significant stock market crash where the S&P 500 lost 35% of its value in just 1 month.
Then, the SPY rallied from its lows of 218.26 in March 2020 to the all-time high of 479.98 in January 2022. Meanwhile, the stock market has entered the bear market territory, defined as 20% below all-time highs. While some growth stocks have lost more than 80% of their value, companies like Apple, Amazon and Google remain strong relative to the broad market.
The interest rate hikes, inflation numbers and news about potential recession dominate the market right now. Opinions are divided on wheater a bottom was formed or if the market will fall another 30% before it retraces.
2. How Much Money is in the Stock Market
Statista evaluated the value of the global equity trading last time for Q3/2021. The impressive statistic reveals that Q4/2021 was with over 41 trillion was one of top three quarters of stock market volume of all-time. Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 2021 were exceptionally above the respective 2020 quarters.
3. Market Seasonality
The best performing months during the past 22 years within the S&P500 were the months of April, August and November, while January, June and September show the worst stock market seasonality performance.
The perspective changes slightly by looking at the past 5 years. The months of April, June, July and November are the best-performing years then, while the months of February and September were the absolute low-performers.
4. Market Share of Equity Market Value Globally
As of January 2022, the United States has the largest stock market share, with 59.9% across all countries worldwide. Japan follows as #2 with 6.2%, and UK with 3.9%, ranks third.
5. Holdings of Public Traded Stock Amongst Families
The last publication of the Federal Reserve Survey about the Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2016 to 2019 reveals that about 53% of all families held stock of publicly traded companies in 2019. That’s was a slight increase compared to 2016. The families with the highest income are more frequently invested in the stock market, while only every third of families with an income in the lower half of average family income held stock.
6. Companies with the Highest Market Capitalization
Apple (AAPL) clearly led the top list of the companies with the highest market capitalization with a stunning number of $2376.38 billion in October 2021. Microsoft (MSFT) followed in second place with $2275.13 billion. The third place got to Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), with a market capitalization of $1945.10 billion. Remember, $2376.38 is $2.376 trillion and similar to $2,376,380,000,000.
Wouldnt it be cool to see that amount available on your bank account, even knowing that you can never spend that much money in a lifetime? However, things can change quickly and the market cap of all companies fell significantly between October 2021 and January 2023. XOM, UNH and V are new to the list, while META, TSM and JPM dropped out.
|Ticker||Company||Market Cap 2023-01||Market Cap 2022-06||Market Cap 2021-10|
|BRK-B||Berkshire Hathaway Inc.||678.71B||665.48B||690.63B|
|XOM||Exxon Mobile Corporation||476.34B||–||–|
|UNH||UnitedHealth Group Inc.||459.90B||–||–|
7. The Best ETF in The Last 10 Years
Exchange traded funds are amongst the most popular investment vehicles these days. The low management cost and zero commission for purchasing U.S. listed ETS make this investment type enjoyable. The technology sector ETF iShares PHLX Semiconductor (SOXX) leads the list of the best performing ETFs over the last 10 years with a performance of +1,030% between 12/2011 and 12/2022, and +649.38% between 1/2013 and 1/2023. In the same time span, the S&P 500 grew only 176%.
As of January, 2023
8. Biggest Industry in the U.S. by Revenue
IBISWorld’s statistics of 2023 reveals the 10 biggest industries by revenue in the United States. Their database contains over 1,300 US industries, and the results are surprising.
Hospitals, Health & Medical Insurance and Commercial Banking lead the list with revenue projections for 2023.
|1.||Hospitals in the US||$1.4269B||$981.0B||$938.1B|
|2.||Health & Medical Insurance in the US||$1.246.9B||$1.145.1B||$1.165.8B|
|3.||Commercial Banking in the US||$1.210.9B||$703.4B||n.a.|
|4.||Drug, Cosmetic & Toiletry Wholesaling in the US||$1.202.2B||$1.169.0B||$1.049.9B|
|5.||New Car Dealers in the US||$1.124.3B||$978.7B||$978.7B|
|6.||Life Insurance & Annuities in the US||$1.121.4B||$886.7B||$886.7B|
|8.||Public Schools in the US||$995.7B||$791.0B||$791.0B|
|9.||E-Commerce & Online Auctions in the US||$934.1B||n.a.||n.a.|
|10.||Gasoline & Petroleum Wholesaling in the US||$928.0B||n.a.||n.a.|
9. 35% Of Trading Volume Executed Off-Exchange
The algo trading report by the SEC reveals that 22% of all trades, 37% of all shares and 35% of the total amount of USD is traded Off-Exchange. The so-called dark pools do not publicly display quotes. Instead, institutional investors execute Off-Exchange trades to execute big orders without leaving a footprint in the official accessible stock market.
Percentage of All NMS Stock Trades, Shares, and Dollar Volume in 2018 at all registered exchanges or reported to Trade Reporting Facilities | Sources: SEC Staff Report on Algorithmic Trading in U.S. Capital Markets, NYSE Trade Reporting Facilities
10. 72% of Robinhood’s revenue came from payment for order flow
Robinhood offers zero-commission trading to clients and receives compensation from venues to re-finance their business instead. The payment for order flow gets paid by venues like Citadel Securities. A ban of payment for order flow practices is currently heavily discussed across the media.
In 2020, $687,094,992 of Robinhood’s total net revenues of $958,833,000 came from payments for order flow.
Robinhood total revenue based on SEC registration statement form S-1 for 2020:
Robinhood payment for order flow income 2020:
11. New York Stock Exchange has the Highest Market Share
The NYSE is the leading global listing exchange worldwide. It has the biggest market share & liquidity and also offers the narrowest quoted spread. The listed companies include small cap, medium cap and large cap companies. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) is the biggest company listed on NYSE by market cap (678 billion), followed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSM) with 430 billion and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) with 407 billion rank number two and three.
12. Most Expensive price per Share
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the most expensive share to buy. One share of the NYSE-listed company currently costs $465,039.98 at least if you buy the A-Class shares. The B-Class stock of BRK costs $307.33 and is more affordable for the average person on this planet.
As of January 31, 2023
13. US Stock Market Trading Halts
You can count all the instances the US stock market has been closed on the fingers of your hands. Usually, such moments follow extreme situations like global crises, defaults of systemically-important companies, terrorist attacks or other black swan events that can cause extreme volatility and throw the market into a downward spiral.
- The first time the stock market halted trading was in 1865, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
- Next, in 1873, the market was closed for ten days after the default of Jay Cooke & Company, one of the largest underwriters of treasuries in the US at the time.
- The start of World War I in 1914 also led to halted trading to prevent a massive selloff of US securities by European investors.
While there were other periods when the market remained closed in the century, we would fast-forward to some more recent events. Many of them were triggered by the so-called “trading circuit breakers” – mechanisms intended to shut trading down once particular market thresholds are reached.
- The NYSE and NASDAQ didn’t open for close to a week after the 9/11 attacks.
- On December 1, 2008, the market also remained closed due to the turmoil caused by the financial crisis.
- The most recent examples of halted trading activity on the US markets were in 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and the market had to be closed on three instances, on March 9, 10 and March 12, 2020.
The New York Stock Exchange defines three different circuit breaker halt levels:
- Level 1: Decrease of 7% vs. S&P 500 previous closing price
- Level 2: Decrease of 13% vs. S&P 500 previous closing price
- Level 3: Decrease of 20% vs. S&P 500 previous closing price
While circuit breaker halts of Level 1 and Level 2 lead to trading halts for 15 minutes, Level 3 leads to a stock market close for the rest of the day.
Still, when the stock market is closed, institutional investors often continue quoting and trading stocks OTC utilizing dark pools.
Trading halts for the whole Nasdaq and NYSE did not happen that often in history, but trading halts for specific stock symbols nearly happen daily.
January 24, 2023, the NYSE had to put 251 listed stocks on halt. Those had been up and down on abnormally %-value when the market opened. Further investigations revealed that the opening auction did not happen for the affected stocks, which led to excessive market dynamics with freely floating orders at the open. For example, Morgan Stanley closed at $97.13 on the previous day and plunged to $84.93 minutes after the opening. Walmart and McDonald’s fell more than 12%. All affected stocks were halted, while the majority of NYSE listed securities continued trading. As a consequence of the technical error, over 4,300 trades have been canceled.
14. The largest IPO ever
Saudi Aramco is a Saudi Arabian fossil fuel giant that engages in the exploration, production, transportation and trading of crude oil and natural gas. The company is one of the world’s largest businesses.
In December, 2019, Saudi Aramco went public, becoming the company with the largest IPO in history and taking the crown from Alibaba. The IPO took place on the Saudi Stock Exchange. After selling over 3 billion shares, the company raised $25.6 billion. After selling an additional 450 million shares, the capital raised jumped to $29.4 billion.
However, it is worth noting that Saudi Aramco’s shares aren’t traded on foreign exchanges.
- Saudi Aramco: $25.6B in 2019
- Alibaba: $25.0B in 2014
- Agricultural Bank of China: $22.1B in 2010
- Industrial & Commercial Bank of China: $21.9B in 2006
- SoftBank Corp: 21.3B in 2018
15. The wealthiest 10% of Americans own 89% of all US stocks
According to estimations from different organizations, between 53% and 58% of Americans participate in the stock market. These figures are up from just 32% in 1989. The last time over 60% of Americans owned stocks was in 2008, before the Global Financial Crisis. A part of the reasons for the active participation of American investors in the stock market is the relatively higher financial literacy compared to the rest of the world. Another crucial fact is that the average stock owner is most likely to be invested through mutual funds and retirement plans.
However, more interesting is that the top 10% of income earners are found to own ten times as much of the stock market as the rest of the investors. Most of these investments come as corporate equities and mutual fund wealth.
The disproportionate spread of wealth highlights the increasing wealth inequality gap in the country.
16. The Best Performing Stock of The Past 25 Years
Since its IPO in 1997, Amazon has generated a total return of about 199,000%, dwarfing any other tech stock in the past 30 years. For reference, a $1,000 invested in Amazon shares in 1997 would now be worth $1.99 million.
Amazon’s shares also rank second after Microsoft (although the latter had its IPO 11 years earlier) in terms of wealth creation (increase in market value adjusted for cash flows in and out of business). Since its IPO, Amazon has created wealth worth $1.57 billion. It has also ensured a weighted annualized dollar return of 31.1%.
This massive gain illustrates Amazon’s historic journey. For just 25 years, the company leaped from an online bookstore to a global e-commerce and cloud service leader with a market cap well over the $1 trillion mark.
17. The Best Performing Sector in the Past Decade
Unsurprisingly, the global technology sector has been the best-performing industry of the past decade, with a 433.6% growth. The engines behind this market expansion are mainly the US giants Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft.
Global tech companies also contributed to the remarkable growth of the sector. For example, Tencent’s shares have soared 1,530% during the past decade, compared to 290% for the S&P 500.
However, it is worth noting that past performance isn’t indicative of the future. In fact, if you had taken a look at the performance of the tech sector in the decade before, you would have probably made sure to stay away from it.
18. The Historical Average Stock Market Return Is 10%
The S&P 500 has returned 10.7% on average per year since it was introduced back in 1957. While for most of the years, the returns fluctuate way above or below that mark, when we take the average for the particular period, we get a figure around 10%. Adjusted to inflation, the average goes down to around 7% – 8%, which is still a pretty decent return for a passive investment strategy.
According to data from Nobel-winning economis tRobert Schiller, since 1971, the S&P 500 has had an annualized return of 7.58%. Accounting for reinvested dividends, the figure jumps to 10.51%.
Recently, the market has been performing even better. For example, during the 2012 – 2021 period, it has returned 14.8% annually (or 12.4% adjusted for inflation).
In terms of up and down periods, the market has been going up about 70% of the time.
19. Most Fund Managers Can’t Beat the S&P 500
Most active fund managers are continuously failing to outperform the benchmark. For example, between 2003 and 2018, 92.43% of large-cap, 95.3% of mid-cap and 97.7% of small-cap managers failed to beat the market.
In the best-case scenario, only around 20% of the active managers actually manage to outperform the S&P 500 consistently on long-term horizons. Mid-cap active managers perform the best on a single-year basis, with around 1 in 2 beating the market. However, over 63% of large-cap and over 72% of small-cap fund managers still can’t match the returns of the respective S&P benchmarks.
In reality, this means that long-term investors can find it more reasonable to invest in an index instead of active management, which not only comes with additional costs and fees but also obviously fails to generate similar returns.
20. Apple is the Most Traded Stock Nowadays
The most liquid stocks are usually those of tech companies, including Microsoft, Tesla, AMD, Alphabet, Amazon and more. However, the most traded among them is Apple’s stock. On most days of September 2022, the daily trading volume for AAPL was often above the 100 million mark.
An interesting fact about the most traded stock, which also has the highest market cap (~2.6BN as of September 2022), as mentioned above, is that, as of September 2022, it was worth more than the GDP of countries like France, Canada, Brazil or Italy. In January 2023, the market cap was ~2.2BN.
21. The Dutch India Company and the First Modern Stock Exchange in History
While there were signs of stock trading centuries ago, the first modern stock exchange was established in 1602 in Amsterdam. It was founded simultaneously with the Dutch East India Company, which became the first publicly traded entity in history.
In fact, for many years, it remained the only company with public trading activity. The company became the undisputed leader in maritime transportation, eclipsing all of its competitors in global trade. However, due to smuggling, corruption and increasing administrative costs, the company went bankrupt in 1799.
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange continues to operate to date. However, in 2000, it merged with the Brussels Stock Exchange and the Paris Stock Exchange, forming the European trading giant Euronext.
The first stock exchange in the US was the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, founded in 1790. At the time, it was known as the Board of Brokers of Philadelphia.
22. The Remarkable Gains of the Leading Stock Market Indices Over Time
The S&P 500, in the format it is today, was introduced back in 1957. Since then, the index has grown 14,432%. However, it became available to investors with the introduction of the first ETF tracking it – the SPY, in 1993. Since then, it has grown 816%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), introduced in 1896, is the world’s second oldest index after the Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJTA). Since its inception, the DJIA has grown by a remarkable 2,143,179.45%. Unfortunately, investors weren’t able to capture the gains of the entire index up until 1998, when the DIA ETF came out. Since then, it has grown 304.54%.
Nasdaq 100 was formed in 1985 and has ever since grown by 9,082%. The first investable ETF over the index, QQQ, was released in 1999 and has achieved a 479,65% growth since then.