By: Alexander Voigt
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21 Stock Market Statistics & Facts You Need to Know

The Duch East India Company opened the world’s first stock exchange in 1602, and the stock market has seen rallies and crashes ever since.

Stock Market Statistics

1. Stock Market Crashes of the Millennium

  • 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. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates 10 times in a row within about 1 year from 0.13% in 2021 to a target rate of 5%-5.25% as of May 2023.

2. Companies with the Highest Market Capitalization

Apple (AAPL) clearly leads the top list of the companies with the highest market capitalization with a stunning number of $2,732.86 billion as of May 2023.

Microsoft (MSFT) followed in second place with $2,305.82 billion. The third place got to Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), with a market capitalization of $1,494.43 billion. Remember, $2,732.86 is $2.732 trillion and similar to $2,732,860,000,000.

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?

Ticker Company Market Cap (2023-04-12)
AAPL Apple Inc. 2,732.86B
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 2,305.82B
GOOG Alphabet Inc. 1,494.43B
AMZN Amazon.com, Inc. 1,151.01B
NVDA NVIDIA Corporation 705.88B
BRK-B Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 705.70B
META Meta Platforms, Inc. 604.27B
TSLA Tesla, Inc. 545.41B
V Visa Inc. 473.37B
UNH UnitedHealth Group Inc. 455.05B

3. Most Frequently Traded Stock

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. Frequently, the daily trading volume of AAPL is above 100 million shares per day.

An interesting fact about the most traded stock, which also has the highest market cap (~2.7BN as of May 2023), as mentioned above, is that, as of September 2022, it was worth more than the GDP of countries like France, Canada, Brazil or Italy.

4. Most Expensive price per Share

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the most expensive share to buy. One share of the NYSE-listed company currently costs $491,182.50 at least if you buy the A-Class shares. The B-Class stock of BRK costs $322.49 and is more affordable for the average person on this planet.

5. The Best Performing Stock of The Past 25 Years

Since its IPO in 1997, Amazon has generated a total return of about 91,883% (from $0.12 back-adjusted to $110.26). For reference, a $1,000 invested in Amazon shares in 1997 would now be worth about $1 million.

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.

6. The Best Performing Sector in the Past Decade

Unsurprisingly, the global technology sector has been the best-performing industry of the past decade. The engines behind this market expansion are mainly the US giants Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft.

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.

7. 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 Robert 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.

8. Market Seasonality Statistics

The best performing months since the turn of the millenium in 2000 in the S&P500 were the months of April, May and November, while January, June and September show the worst stock market seasonality performance.

The perspective changes slightly by looking at the past 10 years. The months of April, July and November are the best-performing years then, while the months of January, February and September were the absolute low-performers.

9. 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 +676.52% between 1/2013 and 5/2023. In the same time span, the S&P 500 grew only 183,64%.

10. 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.

# Industry 2023*
1. Hospitals in the US $1.4269B
2. Health & Medical Insurance in the US $1.246.9B
3. Commercial Banking in the US $1.210.9B
4. Drug, Cosmetic & Toiletry Wholesaling in the US $1.202.2B
5. New Car Dealers in the US $1.124.3B
6. Life Insurance & Annuities in the US $1.121.4B
7. Pharmaceuticals Wholesaling $1.102.6B
8. Public Schools in the US $995.7B
9. E-Commerce & Online Auctions in the US $934.1B
10. Gasoline & Petroleum Wholesaling in the US $928.0B

*Revenue Projection

11. The largest IPO ever

In 2010, the Agricultural Bank of China set the milestone for the biggest IPO ever with 22.1B in raised capital, but in 2014 Alibaba broke the record with an IPO value of $25.0B. Five years later, Saudi Aramco took the crown from Alibaba and went public in 2019 with a total IPO value of $25.6B.

Investors are happy, and Saudi Aramco continuously announces record-breaking profits. For 2022, the company announced a profit of 0.161B, the highest profit since its IPO.

12. Remarkable Gains of the Leading Stock Market Indices

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.

13. 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.

14. Market Share of Equity Market Value Globally

As of January 2023, the United States has the largest stock market share, with 58.4% across all countries worldwide. Japan follows as #2 with 6.3%, and UK with 4.1%, ranks third.

15. 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.

16. 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.

Venue Trades Shares $ Vol.
Exchanges 78% 63% 65%
Off-Exchange 22% 37% 35%

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

17. 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:

18. 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.

19. How Much Money is in the Stock Market

Statista evaluated the value of global equity trading until Q4/2021. The impressive statistic reveals that Q4/2021 (over 41 trillion), was one of the top quarters of stock market volume of all-time.

Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 2021 were exceptionally above the respective 2020 quarters, for a total of $160.95 trillion in 2021.

20. 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.

21. 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.

Alexander Voigt, CEO
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Alexander Voigt is the founder of DayTradingZ, was a regular contributor to Benzinga and has been featured and quoted on leading financial websites such as Investors.com, Capital.com, Business Insider and Forbes.