Stock Market Statistics for 2023: Things to Know Before You Invest
Updated · May 20, 2023
Even if generally you’re not that interested or well-versed in economics and the stock market, the worldwide pandemic and, more recently, the war conflict in Ukraine probably made you rethink your position.
The global stock market is of crucial importance for each and every aspect of our everyday lives. That’s why getting to know how it functions and what are all the factors that affect it is key to your financial fluency and stability.
We’re here to help! Today, we’ve gathered some of the most important stock market statistics—from ones focusing on its history and background to those helping to see how the present situation is shaped and what we can expect from the future.
What do the past, present, and future hold? Let’s jump right into it.
Essential Stock Market Facts (Editor’s Choice):
- The first stock exchange was founded in Amsterdam in 1602.
- Wall Street started in 1792 with the Buttonwood Agreement.
- Philadelphia Stock Exchange is the oldest in the US, starting way back in 1790.
- The Great Depression was initiated by the world’s worst stock market crash ever, which happened in 1929.
- Flash Crash in 2010 saw a transient “flash” dip in the value of the stock market equal to $1 trillion.
- Berkshire Hathaway shares are the most expensive in the world—around $500,000.
- 55% of Americans invest in stock markets.
- The value of the global stock market is around $93 trillion.
Wall Street History Facts
Wall Street is basically synonymous with stock markets in general.
So we’ll start by learning a few key things about the history of the most important economic institution in the US.
1. Wall Street started as a slave trade marketplace in the 17th century.
The name itself, Wall Street, came from Dutch colonies who were among the first Europeans to settle in what was then known as New Amsterdam. They built a long wall in the street, hence the name.
In these early days, there was a lot of slave trade going on in New York. Moreover, Wall Street was a place where securities were dealt with—people could “ensure” themselves from the mishaps of the slave trade business—slaves running away or getting injured, for instance.
This is not simply some stock market trivia, this is a tragic piece of history that we must not forget. It is a testament to what people are ready to do for a little bit of profit.
2. The New York Stock Exchange started in 1792 with the Buttonwood Agreement.
This is widely known as the birthday of the NYSE. As the legend goes, the Buttonwood Agreement was signed by a few dozen of brokers under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. One of the more interesting facts about the NYSE is that the first governmental securities traded were War Bonds related to the Revolutionary War.
3. The oldest stock on NYSE is New York Gas Light company, first listed in 1824.
The New York Gas Light company later became Consolidated Edison Company. Initially, it was mainly tasked with providing street lighting and replacing old whale oil lamps used in the 18th century.
4. Berkshire Hathaway share (around $500,000) is the most expensive stock on NYSE.
Initially starting as a textile company, Berkshire Hathaway transformed into a multinational holding conglomerate after being purchased by none other than Warren Buffet. Buffet keeps the high price of shares on purpose—discouraging short-term trading, which is known to destabilize the market.
It is, however, possible to buy smaller chunks of Berkshire Hathaway shares, although this is a different share class.
Interesting Stock Market Facts
Usually, we do these as “trivia facts,” but we have to emphasize that stock market facts are never trivial, having far-reaching consequences for the whole world.
5. Founded in 1790, Philadelphia Stock Exchange is the oldest in the US.
(Source: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania)
Although Wall Street is certainly the most popular and well-known stock market in the world, in fact, Philadelphia has the oldest stock exchange in the US. Philadelphia was always an extremely important city in US history—in fact, early Wall Street brokers learned a lot, particularly from the PSE.
Who created the stock market in Philadelphia, though? Not exactly a logical question since stock markets don’t necessarily have founder(s), but in this case, we can say that the PSE’s foundations were laid by James Hamilton, the town’s mayor who left the service in 1746, bequeathing a sum of 150 pounds for “erecting an exchange or other public building.”
6. Amsterdam stock exchange, founded in 1602, is the oldest in the world.
(Source: World’s First Stock Exchange)
It’s now called Euronext Amsterdam and is still one of the most important stock exchanges in the whole world. It was basically founded by the Ditch East India Company—a monopolistic corporation dealing with arms, commodities, and other ventures in Asia.
Back in the day, going to Asia to do business (or colonize) was pretty risky—there were a lot of dangers along the treacherous sea journey—pirates, diseases, and rebellions all increased the expenses of such ambitious voyages. So what did the Dutch East India Company do? Disperse its risks and potential losses to hundreds of stockholders (who were investors at the same time).
So in the way the world’s first stock exchange worked, we can also grasp the very essence of colonial mentality and, to a certain extent, the way the world continues to function today—exploitation of colonies is done with the indirect support of people back home.
People who invested in the Dutch East India Company (or its direct competitor, the English East India Company) were mainly focused on potential profits (which were very high), while they probably didn’t think much about the way these profits were obtained. Dutch East India Company, nevertheless, made sure that the job was done and that the money continued to flow, no matter the real cost (lives, culture, and traditions of native populations).
7. September and October are regarded by some as the best months for selling your shares.
There really are no best months for the stock market, though. Some traders believe that September and October are “down months,” that is, periods of the year when stocks are most likely to drop in value.
The Great Depression and Black Monday happened in September and October, respectively, although their consequences were felt years after. This is the origin of such beliefs, though there is little truth to the matter.
8. The $1 trillion Flash Crash of 2010 is the most inexplicable stock market crash ever.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)
Hold onto your hats for some of the wildest facts about the stock media crash(es)!
It isn’t clear what caused the Flash Crash in 2010 and whether there is one principal cause in the first place. What’s certain, though, is that Navinder Singh Sarao, an independent financial trader from Britain, contributed significantly to it and, thus, felt the full blow of both UK and US authorities, spending four months in jail and having to forfeit millions of profits.
What Singh Sarao did was engage in high-speed trading, using automated systems to enhance it. He would hand in orders for certain stocks and then withdraw them at the last moment, thus manipulating the price and the whole system. He allegedly made $40 million this way.
On May 6, 2010, he was especially active, placing $200 million worth of orders (most of which were canceled). It is argued that his kind of trading shook the market so much that it caused a quick and transient crash in the market prices.
9. The market crash of 1929 is possibly the worst one ever.
(Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)
Another one of those stock market crash facts for the books! The consequences of this one were more drastic than those of any other recession and economic crisis, at least in modern times—as a result of the Great Depression, the global GDP fell by 15%, while the most recent economic crisis (2008-2009) saw a dip in global GDP of 1%!
It’s hard to grasp the extent of the consequences of the Great Depression. The world had been rebuilding for 10 years, since the end of WWI. The US more or less became the world's economic leader.
What happened then?
Up to this moment, the economy was growing—probably thousands of ordinary people were investing in the stock market, attempting to get some short-term gains. This kind of investing became more and more risky and speculative—people obtained loans for their investments, which they could only repay with their uncertain profits. The prices started to fall in 1929, and people rushed to liquidate their stocks, which exacerbated the fall in prices even more. The general population started to panic, curtailing their normal spending habits. This hurt the industry sector so much that it led to a halt in production and rising unemployment.
In conclusion, we can definitely say that most stock market crash facts show a certain correlation (read: causality) between the irrational behavior of ordinary people, widespread panic, and the financial consequences.
10. The value of all stock exchanges in the world is equal to $93 trillion.
(Source: World Bank)
In 2000, it was around $30 trillion. It then rose to $60 trillion, but thanks to the 08/09’s crash, it suffered a large dip to $30 trillion yet again. Since then, the global economy has been going through a period of sharp rise, somewhat hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
However, it seems that the war in Ukraine and recent world events will put an end to this period of growth.
Investing Fun Facts
Stock exchanges are places where people invest their money—let’s see how they do it and what they are investing in. (Plus: in our book, winning money, especially through successful investments, is pretty fun.)
11. Around 55% of US citizens invest in the stock market.
Americans are more active when it comes to investing in the stock market than most other nations. This was even truer prior to the 08/09 recession when 65% of them invested back then. It has to be stated that only around 14% of Americans have a direct influence on their stocks.
The percentage of the world population investing in the stock market, though, is virtually unknown. However, chances are, it is fairly low. For instance, India only has about 1.2 million investors, which makes up around 2% of its population.
12. The US holds 55% of the global stock market value.
The list includes the US (55%), Japan (7%), China (5.4%), the UK (4.1%), France (2.9%), Switzerland and Germany with 2.6% each, Canada (2.4%), Australia (2.1%), South Korea (1.8%), and Taiwan (1.7%).
It further shows how the US dominates the world market and why it still has the most powerful influence in terms of geopolitics. Most aforementioned countries can be regarded as US allies, which further adds to the power of the whole block. The total value of the US stock market in 2022 is also a testament to the country being a global leader now and most likely in the years to come.
13. In 2018, the average investor lost 9.42%.
(Source: The Balance)
There isn’t a way to know exactly how much money people lose on stock markets. However, we do know a lot about investors’ behavior and the fact that they do actually lose money on (or during) certain periods. One of the main reasons is that they attempt to get rich quickly. Pretty similar to what Navinder Singh Sarao did—high-frequency trading that exploits small differences in prices to obtain large profits.
One important stock fact is that during times of hardship, there are always quick-witted investors who find a way to get even richer while everyone else sees their profits dip.
14. Not everyone loses money in times of crises—J. Paul Getty made a fortune during the Great Depression.
Paul Getty abided by one of the most basic business rules—buy when everyone’s selling. He bought shares of seriously devalued oil companies and, as the economy recuperated, saw astronomical profits.
Charles Clinton Spaulding also made serious money by delving into insurance during the Great Depression. Michael Cullen (from King Kullen supermarkets) opened what we now consider the first supermarket in the world during the same time. Understanding that customers are more cost-conscious than ever, Michael Cullen realized that grocery shops with huge inventories, discounts, and the possibility to buy large quantities of practically anything, will be the next big hit.
While the stock market statistics were getting worse than ever, many Americans managed to earn some big bucks in the retail industry. George Jenkins, similar to Michael Cullen, started a chain of big grocery shops now called supermarkets, which resulted in a $5.2 billion business.
15. During the pandemic, Amazon’s, Microsoft’s, and Netflix’s revenues all saw increases ranging from 13% to 50%.
(Source: The Washington Post)
Of course, not at all surprising since people spent most of their time at home watching movies and online shopping. Netflix’s profits grew by 25%, while Amazon’s jumped by 35%. Microsoft's revenue didn’t increase that much during that time—only 13%. Understandable since the pandemic hasn’t directly influenced the need for the company’s products.
However, Nvidia’s increase is particularly impressive—46%! That’s partially due to the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency’s popularity—we all know graphic cards are in-demand now more than ever due to the mining of crypto.
16. At least 70% of Forex investors lose money.
(Source: The Balance)
Forex is a place where you can trade different currencies. Most people want to engage in the so-called day trade, which is basically following daily fluctuations of currencies and gaining money by investing in the right moment. Needless to say, this often backfires as the currencies’ fluctuations are unpredictable, especially on such a small scale as one or two days.
We hope you stocked up on some of the most essential and interesting facts about stocks and the way the global economy works!
The most amusing thing is, though, that stock markets totally function on their own—it’s the market that determines the price, no one else.
There are so many fascinating stock market facts: from the humble beginnings of stock exchanges in the 18th and 19th centuries, across the different ways these institutions are still being affected by global crises, to the way it all works together somehow without really being managed by anyone.
In 2020, the amount of money going through all the stock exchanges in the world amounted to $93 trillion—so basically, that’s the value of the global economy right now. As a comparison, back in 1975, it was a measly $1.1 trillion.
Well, it basically determines the price of the food we eat, the value of our homes, our salaries, and so many more important things in everyday life. Because the global economy is so interconnected, events on the one side of the world affect the economy in all parts of it. Something we learned the hard way with the COVID-19 pandemic and the current war in Ukraine.
We have to understand that the stock market is made up of many individual entities, which can all go up and down somewhat independently from one another. For instance, we’ve seen that Nvidia and Netflix profited a lot during the pandemic, while other companies like Boeing or Hilton Hotels went through an incredibly difficult period. So at any given point of time, there are many companies that are going up and many companies that are going down.
This is most certainly Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet’s ballast stock which he refuses to sell in smaller chunks. Right now, it’s worth a whopping $500,000! Berkshire Hathaway is a multi-industry conglomerate, which owns companies such as: Duracell, Dairy Queen, Helzberg Diamonds, NetJets, Fruit of the Loom, Coca Cola (9%), Kraft Heinz (26.7%), American Express (18.8%), and Apple (6%).
The world’s first stock market was founded in Amsterdam in 1602. This event marks the height of colonial age and the rise of Dutch East India Company, which was charged with colonization and exploitation of numerous countries around the world. It’s safe to say that historical stock market statistics are somewhat grim and a testament of the age that has brought misfortune to millions of people around the world, for the profit of the few.
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