The stock market is a vibrant, ever-changing ecosystem. That’s what makes it so exciting to be an investor. Staying on top of these stock market trends won’t just make you a better trivia contestant; it will also help you make wiser decisions about your investments. Here are some of the most important stock market statistics of 2023.

Key Statistics for Stocks

The following important stock statistics could have a direct impact on the way you manage your portfolio.

Companies with the Highest Market Capitalization

Some of the most useful stock market facts have to do with the value of companies featured on the major stock exchanges. As of April 2023, the top-performing companies were as follows:

  • Apple Inc (AAPL): 2,732 billion
  • Microsoft Corp (MSFT): 2,305 billion
  • Alphabet Inc (GOOG): 1,494 billion
  • com, Inc. (AMZN): 1,151 billion
  • NVIDIA Corp (NVDA): 705 billion

So if you’re looking for a large-cap stock to serve as part of your growth portfolio, these companies might be a good starting point.

More than 80% of the Stock Market Is Automated

One of the most interesting facts about stock market performance is that 80% of the current market is automated.

Automated trading means that trading decisions aren’t being made by flesh-and-blood humans but by computer systems that rely on sophisticated algorithms to make lightning-fast choices. In Algorithm We Trust.

The Average Rate of Return Is 10%

The average rate of return for the S&P 500 has been 10.7% since its inception in 1957. By most estimates, the market experiences 10% growth year-over-year, though this might drop to 7% to 8% when adjusted for inflation.

This statistic is important because it shows that the stock market is potentially a better investment strategy than most others. Sure, the stock market isn’t foolproof, but if you’re looking to build wealth, your best option is to invest in stocks.

The Recent Rate of Return Has Been 15%

If you measure from 2012 to 2021, the stock market has yielded an average return of 14.8% annually. Even if you adjust for inflation, this is still a 12.4% yield, quite a bit higher than the historic average of 10%.

These numbers highlight the benefits of investing in the market over other vehicles. The right investment decisions can yield strong returns, especially in recent years.

Nearly One-Fourth of Trades Happen off the Exchange

While most stock market trades happen on the major public exchanges, 22% happen off the exchange entirely.

For instance, one investor might execute a trade privately, outside of the exchange, or the asset might be transferred from one entity to another without being listed on a major exchange.

Corrections Are Least Likely to Occur in Third Year of President’s Term

Here is one of the more unusual facts about the stock market: Corrections are least likely to occur during the third year of a president’s term.

A correction occurs when the market declines by more than 10% but less than 20%. For roughly two centuries, the average returns from the S&P 500 have been highest after midterms and in the third year of the presidential term.

Stocks Perform the Worst in September

The best stock market statistics reveal that the market performs at its worst in September.

This particular stock fact is so well established that it even has a name: “The September Effect.” Since 1950, the major stock indexes have experienced slight declines every September. However, some analysts point out that such declines are usually related to world events rather than some inherent cyclical pattern.

Fund Managers Can’t Beat the S&P 500

Choosing the right stock is an important investment decision. But even the most well-trained fund managers can’t consistently outperform the benchmark of the S&P 500.

That’s important because it means that the market index is just as reliable (and sometimes more so) than trying to beat the market through careful planning, which could be a good reason to consider investing in index funds.

Stock Market Fun Facts

Okay — so some stock facts are just fun to have on hand to impress people at dinner parties. Here are some fun facts about the stock market.

The First Stock Exchange Opened in 1602

The stock market may be older than you think. The first stock exchange was established in the small town of Amsterdam in 1602.

History buffs may have already guessed the first multinational corporation. Yep — the Dutch East India Company, which was the very first company to issue stocks. Even though stocks were initially owned by directors (rather than private investors), they still brought prosperity to the developing Western world.

The Stock Market Once Opened with a Chinese Gong

Even non-investors are familiar with the daily bell that opens the New York Stock Exchange. Since 1903, the bell has rung every morning at 9:30 a.m. to signal the opening of the exchange. But before 1903, the NYSE opened with the ringing of a Chinese gong.

It wasn’t until 1985 that the bell became an icon in its own right. After President Reagan asked to ring the bell, it became something of an honor — not unlike throwing the first pitch at a baseball game.

The Most Expensive Stock of 2023

What is the most expensive stock to buy? That honor belongs to Berkshire Hathaway. Just one share of its stock costs a whopping $519,400.

If that sounds a little steep, don’t worry: You can still buy a share of its B-class stock for $342.

Fractions Were Eliminated in 2000

Before 2000, changes in stock price were expressed in the form of fractions. For example, stock prices could be reported in increments of 1/16.

But starting on April 9, 2001, all stock prices were converted into a decimal system to comply with a new requirement enacted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The change made the U.S. stock market more competitive with international exchanges that had already made the move to decimal notation.

The Country with the Top-Performing Stock Market

What country has the highest-performing stock market? To answer this question, you’ll have to go Down Under. Australia has the top-performing stock market, with the highest-performing share market in the world from 1909 to 2009.

Stock market stats reveal that Australia has outperformed the other 19 other major world markets — all the more impressive considering it has maintained that momentum for a full century.

The secret to success? Australia’s reliance on exports, for one thing. But Australia also has an incredible wealth of valuable metals, coal, oil, natural gas, and beef cattle.

Women Worked the Stock Exchange for the First Time in 1943

Move over, Rosie the Riveter. During World War II, the shortage of men meant that women had to step up in a number of roles, including at the U.S. stock exchange.

Women became clerks and runners for the NYSE. This lasted until 1947, when women were once again banned. It wasn’t until 1965 that Muriel “Mickie” Siebert purchased a seat on the exchange, which earned her the nickname the “First Lady of Wall Street.”

It was another decade before more women began working at the NYSE, showing that progress is possible, though it takes time.

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