There are many stock market statistics that can change how you see the stock market, and how you invest for yourself. The world of investing tends to be shrouded due to perceived complexity. This post will cover 33 stock market statistics you can use to better understand what you are investing in.
Overall Market Statistics:
1. What percent of Americans own stocks?
Stock ownership has sadly decreased over time.
Currently, 58% of Americans (Source) have money invested in the stock market.
2. The Best Performing Stock Over the Last Decade
The last decade has seen rapid growth in many companies, specifically big tech, as innovation and accessibility soar. The last decade has also seen the rise of crypto mining, AI, and video game streaming. This has all led to an increase in demand for high-end computer components.
This helped NVIDIA (ticker NVDA) skyrocket by 6,160% over the last decade (source).
3. What Percent of Investors Beat the Market?
We all want to pick stocks like Warren Buffet. How hard could it be? Well, as it turns out, very.
Only 80-90% of professional investors can beat the market. This isn’t just you or I picking stocks on the weekends; these are professional, highly paid investors, unable to beat the market.
This statistic seriously bolsters the idea that individual investors should invest in index funds to meet the market’s performance. At that point, you’re meeting or exceeding the performance of 80–90% of professional investors.
4. How Much of the Market is Owned by the 1%?
We all know that the top 1% of Americans comprise a disproportionate wealth. While one family might struggle to buy food, another may be shopping around for a private island.
This discrepancy extends to stocks as well. The top 1% own approximately 53.9% of individually owned shares (source). This means that the average one-percenter owns 115x as much of the market as everyone else.
5. Average Retirement Account Size
Retirement account, of course, varies by age. The older you are, the longer you have had to build your nest egg. The average retirement savings by age is:
The average retirement savings is $141,542 (source). However, this is immensely skewed by the enormous accounts of the ultra-rich. Thus, the median retirement savings is only $35,345. This is a much more accurate representation of how much the average person has saved up for retirement.
6. How Much of the Stock Market is in 401K’s?
It’s easy to forget that stock market exposure doesn’t have to come from after-tax individual brokerage accounts. One can invest through retirement accounts, including pre-tax employee-sponsored 401K plans.
The total value of 401K investments in the stock market was $6.25 trillion in late 2022 (source). This means that 401K investments make up ~15.5% of the stock market.
7. Largest IPO in NYSE History
When a company enters the stock market, it has an initial public offering (IPO) as it transitions from privately to publicly owned. This initial valuation is based on factors such as investors’ predicted interest.
The largest IPO in history was Alibaba Group Holdings in September 2014 at $21.77 billion (source). Not a bad investment considering even with the highest IPO ever, Alibaba’s market cap is now $316.5 billion. That’s a 14.5x return in a little over eight years.
8. How much of the market’s market cap is in the S&P 500?
Since the S&P 500 only holds the largest companies on the stock exchange, its market cap is disproportionately large compared to its number of companies.
The market cap of the overall market is ~$40.5 trillion (https://siblisresearch.com/data/us-stock-market-value/), and the market cap of the S&P 500 is ~$32.2 trillion (source).
This means that the S&P 500 contains ~80% of the market cap of the entire market. This is incredible when considering that it only has 20% of the market’s stocks.
9. Median Non-retirement Amount Invested by Age
Though tax-advantaged accounts are preferable, they have their limitations. You may have far less control and withdraws are restricted compared to taxed non-retirement accounts. The amount invested in taxed non-retirement accounts by age is (source):
This distribution is unsurprising considering that older people have had far longer to build up investment accounts than younger people. If a mean was used instead of a median, the amounts would be skewed much higher due to the billionaires of the world.
10. Investor With the Highest Average Annual Returns
If you’re familiar with the investing world, you are undoubtedly familiar with Warren Buffett. Since 1976 he has managed the fund Berkshire Hathaway (ticker BRK-B). He is widely regarded as the best investor in history.
Since Buffett’s start in 1976, Berkshire Hathaway has had an average annual return of 24% (source). That is more than double the average market return of 10%.
11. The Best Performing ETF Over the Last Decade
Exchange-traded funds are very popular choices for investors with a hands-off approach. Third parties manage these funds in return for usually small fees (i.e., expense ratios) below 1%.
The SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (ticker XSD) has the best performance, with annual returns of 24% over the last decade (source). Considering that the average overall market return is 10%, this 24% is mind-boggling.
Even so, it makes sense as the ETF tracks semiconductors directly related to technology demand. As demand for chips in electronics increases, so will the performance of semiconductor-focused companies and funds.
12. What Percent of the Market is Held by Retail Investors?
A combination of large funds and retail investors holds the stock market. Funds are wealth management companies with enormous pools of money looking to profit by manipulating the market. Conversely, retail investors are individual investors like you and me who look to ride those fluctuations.
Currently, retail investors hold approximately 52% of the assets under management. Investing and learning to invest are becoming more accessible (source). Thus, the market is shifting in favor of the retail investor.
13. The Oldest Stock on the New York Stock Exchange
The stock market has seen thousands of companies come and go. Most companies that are best known in pop culture and even by other businesses are recently founded companies. These companies found a recent need and molded their company to fulfill that need.
Other lesser-known companies have been around for centuries, chugging along and fulfilling a basic human need such as power or water without us even realizing it.
One of these such companies is GSK which has been distributing and producing pharmaceuticals since 1715 (source). That longevity is astounding, considering the company has gone through generations of management, all of which have kept the company above water.
14. What Percent of US Companies are Publicly Traded?
For a company to decide to trade publicly it needs to be confident that investors will be interested enough to continue investing and increase their valuation. In addition, they need to be large enough to withstand the volatility of the market. Finally, the company risks its share price falling the second they go public and never recovering, thus damaging its valuation, maybe permanently.
Of the millions of companies in the US, less than 1% are traded publicly (source). Shocking when you realize that most major brands you are familiar with are public.
15. How much of the market is in the S&P 500?
The S&P 500 is made up of approximately the 500 largest companies on the stock market. Admittance into the S&P 500 is determined by market cap.
The entire NYSE currently holds ~2,500 companies (source). All of these companies have varying market caps and lifespans on the market.
Currently, the S&P 500 makes up ~20% of the entire market.
16. Largest Stock Market Swings in a Day
The market itself is stable. Swings of <1% are standard, with expected changes of up to 3%. However, this isn’t always the case. There are times when significant events heavily impact the market. Here are the largest swings in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (source):
Largest daily gain: 3/15/1930 +15.34%
Largest daily loss: 10/19/1987 -22.61%
Compare these moves to the average daily movement of the market which is +- 1% (source).
It’s scary to realize that the crash due to COVID in March 2020 is near the top of the list of greatest losses. On 3/16/2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by 12.93%, the second largest market drop in history. Still, it was only slightly more than half the change in 1987.
17. Which Stock Market Sector has the Highest Dividend Yield?
Dividend yield varies due to a number of variables. One of these variables is the market that the stock is a part of. A market where investors rely more on steady dividend income than rapid growth will likely pay a higher dividend.
The sector with the highest dividend yield is basic materials with a dividend yield of 4.92% (source).
18. Average Lifespan of S&P 500 Company
Companies come and go, even the most successful ones that appear on the S&P 500.
The average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 is approximately 19 years (source). That is shockingly short when you consider that the average lifespan of a human is around 70 years. Large companies struggle to persist for long periods of time due to rapidly shifting consumer needs and ever-changing management.
The success of S&P 500 companies is more obvious when you compare it to the average lifespan of all companies which is only 10 years. A company that makes it to the S&P 500 has historically lasted nearly twice as long as others.
19. What is the Largest Stock Market Sector?
The stock market is made up of 11 sectors. These sectors each include several industries, which contain hundreds of stocks. These sectors increase and decrease in market cap depending on the performance of their underlying industries. Unsurprisingly, sectors focused on tech have boomed as of late.
The largest sector is Information technology, with a market cap of around $12.29 trillion (source). This sector alone makes up nearly 31% of the entire stock market. This is even as this sector has taken a beating lately due to chip shortages and fear of a recession.
20. Average Stock Market Return
Past performance is never a guarantee of future performance. However, with over 100 years of history, including incredible highs and terrible lows, the past can give us a solid idea of the market’s future behavior.
Historically, the stock market has returned 10% annually (source). This return includes dividends and does not factor in inflation. If you factor in inflation, you’re looking at closer to 7 or 8% real gains.
This rate of return is based on the S&P 500 index, which is the index that best tracks the market.
21. How Many Companies Are on the Stock Market?
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) currently holds ~2,500 companies (source). Of this, ~1900 are domestic, and ~600 are international.
22. Stock With the Highest Average Daily Trading Volume
Both individual investors and large funds are constantly trading stocks. Some stocks are traded more than others due to volatility and popularity. The frequency of these trades is represented in a stock’s average daily trading volume (ADTV). The ADTV is calculated over the last six months of trading.
Tesla is a popular stock with much volatility due to its CEO, Elon Musk. Currently, the stock with the highest ADTV is Tesla, with 175 million daily trades on average (source). This works out to $11.42 in Tesla trades daily.
23. Stock With the Highest P/E Ratio
The P/E ratio is a common metric used to determine whether the current price for a stock is fair. P/E stands for the price to earnings, meaning the stock’s share price divided by its earnings per share. A P/E of 20 or less is seen as an indicator of a fair price.
Conversely, a stock with higher than 20 P/E is seen as not worth the currently high price. Some stocks, usually due to short-term hype, shoot up to high P/E’s when they surge in popularity. This has happened with Tesla, shooting up to a max of 1,396 P/E when Elon Musk tweets the right thing.
The stock with the highest current P/E is Goosehead Insurance with a P/E of 3,597 (source). For every dollar of earnings, you pay $3,597 to acquire it. This extremely high P/E indicates that investors predict a future boom in earnings, which would lower the P/E.
24. Average Age to Start Investing
The earlier you start investing, the more time you give your investments to compound. This results in drastically different long-term outcomes.
Sadly, most people aren’t taught to invest at a young age if at all. This leads people to start to invest at an average age of 29 (source). Though it’s better late than never, it is unfortunate to miss out on even a few years of compounding.
25. What defines a recession?
There is no exact definition of a recession. A rule of thumb is that a recession is indicated by two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth and a significant rise in unemployment.
The White House itself disagrees with this simple definition, opting instead to look at several data such as industrial production, incomes, labor market, and consumer and business spending (source). Comparing these data to previous data and data of previous recessions leads to a conclusion of whether we are in a recession.
26. Best Month to Invest in the Stock Market
Stock market returns vary throughout the year. As companies see ups and downs in sales, consumer needs, and weather changes, their share prices fluctuate. Since these cycles repeat year after year, market performance can become more predictable.
Below is a chart of average stock market performance throughout a year.
This chart demonstrates that April, November, and December are the best months for market returns (source).
27. What is the Oldest Stock in the S&P 500?
The S&P 500 has been around since 1923. However, many of the stocks to join the S&P 500 existed long before the S&P 500’s inception.
Proctor and Gamble (ticker PG) is the oldest, founded in 1837 (source). Since then, Proctor & Gamble has focused on manufacturing household products such as soaps and candles.
28. Average Market Crash
Market crashes are inevitable. There is too much going on in the world and there are too many emotional investors for it not to. Market crashes are scary, but understanding that they are inevitable and that you should stick it out is important.
Investors are also very fearful that we have experienced a market crash due to COVID and supply chain issues.
The average market crash involves a 33.38% decline and takes 342 days to recover (source). Based on this, we experienced an average crash with a 34% decline, but a speedy recovery of only a few months.
29. What Percent of Stocks Pay a Dividend?
Dividends are a fantastic way to generate income from an investment and continue to build your stake without depositing additional funds. Many investors won’t even invest in a stock if it doesn’t offer a regular dividend.
Roughly 75% of companies on the S&P 500 pay a regular dividend (source).
30. Stock With the Highest Dividend
Dividends are a great method of earning income from your investment and reinvesting without depositing additional funds. Many investors prioritize dividend payments over anything else.
Higher dividend payments tend to be a sign of respect for shareholders, though it could also indicate an inability to produce their own returns on invested funds. If they could get higher returns by just reinvesting in themselves, they likely would.
The highest dividend yield paid by any stock is currently Altria Group (ticker MO) with a yield of 8.19% (source). Staggering when you realize even if Altria Group plateaued for an entire year, you would still get a return of 8.19% just from dividend payments.
31. What Stock Makes Up the Largest Percentage of the S&P 500?
Since the S&P 500 is weighted by market cap, the company with the largest market cap also makes up most of the S&P 500.
This company is Apple (ticker AAPL), making up 7.3% of the entire S&P 500 (source). This is outrageous, considering it is 1.28x the makeup of second place, Microsoft (ticker MSFT), at 5.7%.
32. How Many American Adults Own Stock?
Investing in the stock market is a fantastic method to build wealth rather passively. Especially if you are leveraging a tax-advantaged account.
Currently, about 150 million American adults own stock (source).
33. What is the Average S&P 500 Dividend Yield?
The S&P 500 is made up of many stocks that pay a dividend. When you own an S&P 500 index fund, you earn dividends based on each company’s weight in the S&P 500.
Currently, the S&P 500 is returning a dividend yield of 1.66%. This is far below the long-term average of 4.27% (source). This is likely due to a rise in demand for rapid-growth stocks over long-term dividend stocks.
I hope these statistics have helped you understand the market as much as they have helped me.
If you are looking to apply these statistics to your own investing, check out my post on investing for beginners.
Leave a Reply