Stocks Facts
Stocks Facts

73 Lucrative Facts about Stocks

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published January 27, 2017
  • A “shadowy” former Enron executive and mathematical genius, Lou Pai (1946– ), cashed in approximately $270 million in Enron stock before it collapsed in 2001. He then divorced his wife, married an exotic dancer who was pregnant with his child, bought a piece of Colorado and sold it at a profit, and then disappeared.[4]
  • In one of the largest corporate scams in the U.S., the Enron scandal cost investors about $1 billion and led to the loss of thousands of jobs. The energy, commodities, and services company would crunch numbers and show profits for years despite running on losses. It declared bankruptcy in 2001.[24]
  • When General Motors declared bankruptcy in 2009, the U.S. government gave it billions in bailout money and then issued stock for the “new GM.” GM did not compensate the old GM shareholders’ now worthless “old GM” stock.[16]
  • In 2005, a typing error caused Mizuho Securities Co. to lose at least $225 million on a stock trade in Japan. The company accidentally sold 610,000 shares at 1 yen (less than a penny) when it actually intended to sell 1 share at 610,000 yen (or $5,041).[18]
  • Interesting Stock Market Crash Fact
    The 2008 stock market crash ranks as one of the most horrific in U.S. history
  • The 2008 U.S. financial bailout cost more than the Marshall Plan, Louisiana Purchase, Race to the Moon, S&L bailout, Korean War, New Deal, Iraq War, Vietnam War, and NASA’s lifetime budget—combined. The bailout total was $4.62 trillion.[1]
  • Between September 1999 and February 2000, 15-year-old Jonathan Lebed used just two accounts, AOL and E*TRADE to post hundreds of messages on Yahoo Finance message boards recommending the stock of others. Each time he posted, he triggered chaos in the stock market. Although he made $285,000, the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) charged him with fraud in stock deals, and he was forced to return the money.[17]
  • Wall Street was originally called “de Waal Straat” by the Dutch. It was allegedly called “Wall Street” because of a wall to protect the Dutch area from the British.[24]
  • Trading on Wall Street begins at 9:30 a.m. when the opening bell is rung, sometimes by someone famous or important. The closing bell is rung at 4:00 p.m. to mark the end of trading.[2]
  • In 1987, the movie Wall Street was released. It explored the 1980s’ culture of greed and excess.[24]
  • A typical Wall Street employee makes $363,000. The average salary of a person with a doctorate in the U.S. is $81,400. The median income of a U.S household is $50,054 per year.[1]
  • The number of investors who check their stocks drops by about 8.7% after a market decline in comparison to a market increase. Researchers call this the “ostrich effect,” which is when people avoid uncertain financial situations by pretending they don’t exist.[1]
  • Simply stated, a stock is a share in the ownership of a company. In other words, it is a claim on the company’s assets and earnings. Stocks are also known as “shares” or “equity.”[2]
  • I'm involved in the stock market, which is fun and, sometimes, very painful.

    - Regis Philbin

  • Despite that fact that men are more likely to lose money in stocks, they are less concerned about it than women. Men are also 1.5 times more confident that they will beat the market in 2015.[14]
  • Men and women tend to gravitate toward different stocks. For example, men favor stocks such as Tesla, Coca-Cola, Ford, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and Gilead. Women tend to like less trendy stocks, such as Frontier Communication, JP Morgan, Pfizer, Kraft, Boeing, AbbVie, Merck, Amazon, and Google.[7]
  • Men tend to invest more aggressively in stocks than women, but only to a certain point. As both men and women near retirement, both genders decrease risk taking.[14]
  • Steve Jobs’ wife is Disney’s largest individual stockholder. Laurene Powell Jobs holds more than 130 million shares. In 2015, Disney stocks surged, which made her over $900 million.[15]
  • Ronald Wayne, one of the cofounders of Apple, sold his stocks for a total of just $800 in 1976. Today, it is estimated that the worth of the shares he sold would be $35 billion. In Apple lore, he is the “man who won the lottery but lost the ticket.”[9]
  • Interesting Stock Facts
    The New York Stock Exchange was organized in the the Tontine Coffee House
  • The first location of the New York Stock Exchange was a Wall Street coffee house called the Tontine Coffee House, on the corner of Wall Street and Water Street.[24]
  • The Dutch East India Company was the first company to issue stocks and is the “granddaddy” of all corporations. Many brokers and investors did their business in various coffee shops around London.[24]
  • During the economic boom of 1993–1998, a majority of U.S. senators were trading stocks—and beating the market by an average of 12 percentage points a year. In contrast, corporate insiders beat the market by 5%, while typical households underperformed by 1.4%. Such a large margin has raised questions about the ethics and conflicts for Capitol Hill power brokers.[6]
  • A stock is represented by a stock certificate. Most stock certificates are kept electronically, which makes it easier to share trades. In the past, when a person wanted to sell a share, he or she physically took a certificate to the brokerage. Now, trading is done online or over the phone.[2]
  • Humans have been investing for centuries. In approximately 1700 BC, the Code of Hammurabi designed several rules of investing. Written in Babylon, an ancient city in what is now Iraq, some codes described rules for involving investing, loans, and financial transactions.[24]
  • In the 1300s, the city-state of Venice was a major center for the clearing or exchanging of obligations held by one owner and exchanging them with another owner. Venetians began to do what today’s modern brokers do: bring sellers and buyers together.[24]
  • Belgium had one of the earliest stock exchanges, as far back as 1521 in Antwerp. Brokers and moneylenders would meet there and deal almost exclusively in promissory notes and bonds.[24]
  • Interesting Stock History Fact
    The stock ticker made trading more efficient and competitive
  • Edward Calahan invented the stock ticker in 1863. This invention was revolutionary because it would print out on long pieces of paper the changing stock market prices to wider audiences. Because stock tickers printed prices near real time, markets became more efficient and competitive. Previously, stock prices were handwritten or were expressed verbally. Stock tickers were the standard until computers came into more common use in the 1970s.[2]
  • A ticker symbol is a unique series of characters, as many as 5 characters that identify the name of an investment actively traded on an exchange. For example, Google is known as GOOG on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) exchange. The company Ford is known simply as F on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).[2]
  • The Wall Street Journal began publishing an average of the prices of stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1896.[24]
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average (“the Dow” or DJIA) is a price-weighted average of 30 blue chip stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It is often seen as a barometer of the health of the stock markets and is regarded as the most important index to follow in the world. The editors of The Wall Street Journal decide which companies should be included in the Dow.[24]
  • The oldest company in the Dow is General Electric, which has been a member since 1907. Out of all the companies that composed the original Dow, GE is the only one that remains today.[24]
  • In 2001, in the wake of the World Trade Center attack, the NYSE was closed for four sessions, the longest period of time the exchange was closed since 1933.[24]
  • The New York Stock Exchange is very important to global equities trading. With its membership of over 8,000 companies, approximately 40% of all global equities are traded on the NYSE.[24]
  • The oldest stock market in the United States is The New York Stock Exchange. It was founded in 1792 by 24 stockbrokers who met at 68 Wall Street. It was not officially founded until 1817 when a constitution was signed.[24]
  • Thirty companies make up the Dow. Some new companies include Cisco Systems and Travelers, which were added in 2009. NIKE, Visa, and Goldman Sachs were added in 2013. Companies that have been removed include General Motors, Citigroup, AIG, Altria Group, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Kraft Foods, Bank of America, and Alcoa.[24]
  • A recent study revealed that men are 25% more likely than women to lose money in the stock market. This may because men tend to be more active with their stock portfolios than women.[14]
  • Random Stocks Facts
    Men are more likely to lose money from their investments than women

  • While there are many different stock exchanges in the United States, the two most important ones are the NYSE and the NASDAQ. And they are the first and second largest stock exchanges in the world, respectively.[24]
  • When the stock prices go down for protracted period of times, it is known as a bear market. Specifically, a bear market occurs when there has been an average decline of 20% in a stock market for at least 2 months. Inflation is increasing, interest rates are increasing, and money is flowing out of the stock market.[2]
  • In October 2007, the Dow entered a bear market that lasted 517 days and saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average decline by 53.9%. In comparison, the initial 1929 Dow crash that ushered in the Great Depression saw a decline of 47.9% and lasted 71 days.[24]
  • A bull market is when there are more buyers than sellers of stocks, which cause overall stock prices to rise and investor confidence to increase.[2]
  • In 2011, the 10 most popular stocks in Congress were the following: 1) General Electric, 83 members; 2) Proctor & Gamble, 68 members; 3) Microsoft, 64 members; 3) Bank of America, 64 members; 5) Exxon Mobile, 56 members; 6) JP Morgan Chase, 53 members; 7) Cisco Systems, 52 members; 7) AT&T, 52 members; 9) Intel, 51 members; and 10) Pfizer (51 members).[10]
  • In the 113 years since the inception of the Dow, the average length of a bull market has been 2.7 years.[24]
  • Interesting Stock Fact
    Blue chip stocks are usually market leaders
  • The term “blue stock chip” originated from gambling. In poker, the blue-colored chip represents the most expensive chip at the table.[24]
  • During the crash of 2008, $11 trillion of Americans’ personal wealth—whether in the form of stocks, bonds, cash, or real estate—was wiped out.[24]
  • During 2008–2010, 35% of all Americans saw a decline in their personal investments.[24]
  • Since the Dow’s inception, the list of its companies have changed 99 times, including increasing the number of components from 12 to 20 in 1916 and increasing them again from 20 to 30 in 1928.[24]
  • Some of the largest percentage moves of the Dow include an increase of 15.34% on March 15, 1933, and a 22.61% drop on October 19, 1987.[2]
  • An estimated 70% of stocks traded in the U.S. and E.U. markets are bought and sold using algorithmic programs.[20]
  • Mark Twain once quipped that October is one of the most dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The other months are “July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.”[5]
  • Stocks display certain seasonal patterns. For example, the most noticeable is the “Halloween Effect,” which holds that stocks are typically weaker during the summer than the winter, with September being especially dangerous.[5]
  • Stocks tend to be stronger during the middle of the month, especially over the five trading days before St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.[5]
  • Stocks tend to rise in the two or three days prior to a market holiday, such as July 4 or Christmas.[5]
  • “Sin stocks” are stocks that traditionally are associated with vices, such as gambling, alcohol, and tobacco. Well known sin stocks are casinos (Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and MGM Resorts,), alcohol (Molson Coors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch), and tobacco (Philip Morris and Altria Group,).[11][23]
  • The origin of the terms “bear” and “bull” market is unclear. Some historians point to the origin of the word “bull,” which means to “swell or inflate.” Others believe that when a bear fights, it swings its paws down, hence, a “bear” or declining market. On the other hand, when a bull fights, it swings it horns up, hence, a “bull” market.[24]
  • Interesting Facts about Stocks
    Bear and bull markets describe downward and upward market trends

  • The six months from November through April, with the exception of February, have usually been the strongest period for stocks.[5]
  • Ed Yardeni, a veteran Wall Street guru, noted in 2015 that the stock market was “rigged, and I don’t say that critically. I just say that factually.” Other experts agree, though they aren’t sure how it’s being rigged—but some point to foreign banks and companies.[8]
  • At the end of 2012, the size of the world stock market was approximately $55 trillion. The United States had the largest market at about 34%.[21]
  • Social security and retirement plans are increasingly privatized and linked to stocks and bonds.[24]
  • High frequency trading (HFT) hedge funds are funds that use computer algorithms (a.k.a. algobots) to buy and sell stock in milliseconds. They are able to react to market news before actual humans can react. Algobots make up about half of all stock transactions.[20]
  • After the Volkswagen company admitted it intentionally evaded EPA emissions standards in 2015, VW stock crashed, wiping nearly $16.9 billion off its market value.[13]
  • Certain stocks can become more popular with women or with men. For example, Netflix has become more popular with women. The movie company has become nearly 40% more female owned in the last 3 years. In contrast, the Mondelēz International snack company is approximately 63% more masculine, with male investors outnumbering females by nearly 13 to 1.[7]
  • Stock market crashes take time. Before the last three crashes, there were initial drops, followed by sharp rebounds. While the rallies seem encouraging, once traders feel safe to enter the market again, the real crash begins.[3]
  • Interesting Stock Market Crash Facts
    The panic and subsequent crash of 1873 was a financial crisis that triggered a depression in Europe and North America
  • There have been several stock market crashes, including the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Crash of 1973–74, the Black Monday of 1987, the Dot-com bubble of 2000, and the Crash of 2008.[24]
  • A “blue chip stock” is a type of stock from a publicly traded company. The company is usually very large, is a leader in the sector in which it competes, has stability and growth, can adapt to changing markets successfully, and has distributed profits in the form of dividends for many years.[24]
  • The term “pump and dump” is a type of stock fraud that artificially inflates the price of stock in order to sell cheap stock at a higher price. These stocks are sometimes called “chop stocks.”[24]
  • In 2015, Apple Inc. surpassed Exxon Mobil as the most valuable stock in the United States.[19]
  • There are several types of stock fraud, such as embezzlement, stock manipulation, insider trading, front running, microcap fraud, boiler rooms, and Ponzi schemes.[24]
  • Owning stock is not like owning a bond. When a person owns a stock, they actually own a piece of the company, its assets, and profits. When a person owns a bond, they are giving the issuer a loan, similar to an IOU but with interest.[24]
  • An initial public offering (IPO) occurs when a company wishes to offer its stock shares to the public, hoping to raise capital for the first time. The top 10 IPOs in history are 1) Alibaba Holdings Group, 2) ABC (Agricultural Bank of China), 3) ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), 4) NTT DoCoMo, 5) VISA, 6) AIA, 7) Enel S.p.A, 8) Facebook, 9) General Motors, and 10) Nippon Tel.[24]
  • The New York Stock Exchange has “circuit breaker” rules that help prevent steep, unexpected declines in stock prices. The circuit breakers are composed of three levels that indicate increasing severity. For example, if level three is reached, or if there is a 20% decline at any time during the day, then trading activity is stopped for the rest of the day.[2]
  • Crazy Stock Fact
    Today's pirates have their own stock exchange
  • Pirates in Somalia have created a type of stock exchange where pirates and Somali civilians can invest cash or weapons into pirate companies and hope for a share of the ransom.[12]
  • Some stocks are known as cyclical stocks, or stocks that typically signal the recovery of a period of economic decline and play an important role in the general economy. Experts include companies such as automotive, steel, heavy machinery, and mining.[24]
  • Stock markets are found in 77 countries in the world.[24]
  • Because there are stock markets in many parts of the world, investors may trade 24 hours a day.[24]
  • Walt Disney gave his housekeeper, Thelma Howard, Disney stock every year for Christmas. By the time she died in 1994, she had amassed a $9.5 million fortune. She left half of her estate to disadvantaged children.[22]
References

110 Mind-Blowing Facts about Wall Street You Didn’t Know.” Penny Stocks. March 24, 2014. Accessed: September 25, 2015.

2Becket, Michael. How the Stock Market Works: A Beginner’s Guide to Investment. 5th Ed. Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page, 2014.

3Blodget, Henry. “Don’t Get Comfortable!Business Insider. September 12, 2015. Accessed: September 12, 2015.

4Brand, Madeleine. “Lou Pai, Enron’s Elusive Mystery Man.” NPR. May 17, 2006. Accessed: October 13, 2015.

5Burton, Jonathan. “Timing Is Everything.Market Watch. March 12, 2010. Accessed: September 17, 2015.

6Chaddock, Gail Russell. “In Stock Market, U.S. Senators Beat Averages.” Christian Science Monitor. March 9, 2004. Accessed: September 16, 2015.

7Chemi, Eric and Nicholas Wells. “Which Stocks Seduce Women vs. Men.” CNBC. June 10, 2015. Accessed: September 24, 2015.

8Crudele, John. “Stock Market Rigging Is No Longer a ‘Conspiracy Theory.’” New York Post. March 25, 2015. Accessed: September 11, 2015.

9Desborough, James. “The Unluckiest Man in the World.” Daily Mail. Updated August 10, 2013. Accessed: September 25, 2015.

10Gue, Elliott. “The 10 Most Popular Stocks by Congress.” Yahoo Finance. August 9, 2013. Accessed: September 11, 2015.

11Hoium, Travis. “10 ‘Sin’ Stocks with Huge Cash Flows.” USA Today. May 25, 2015. Accessed: September 16, 2015.

12Hsu, Jeremy. “Somali Pirate Exchange Lets Investors Bet on Hitting a Ransom Jackpot.” Popular Science. December 2, 2009. Accessed: September 25, 2015.

13Jordans, Frank and Pam Pylas. “Faulty Tests Cost VW Billions.” U.S. News. September 21, 2015. Accessed: September 22, 2015.

14Kane, Libby. “These 10 Charts Show How Differently Men and Women Approach Investing.” Business Insider. February 11, 2015. Accessed: September 24, 2015.

15Kilgore, Tomi. “Steve Jobs’s Widow Is over $900 Million Richer after Disney Stock Surge.” Market Watch. February 4, 2015. Accessed: September 25, 2015.

16Kranz, Matt. “Will the Old General Motors Stock Ever Be Declared Worthless?USA Today. February 15, 2011. Accessed: October 13, 2015.

17Lewis, Michael. “Jonathan Lebed: Stock Manipulator, S.E.C. Nemesis—and 15.” The New York Times. February 25, 2001. Accessed: September 25, 2015.

18McNamara, Melissa. “Stock Trade Typo Costs Firm $225M.” CBS News. December 9, 2005. Accessed: September 22, 2015.

19Most Valuable U.S. Stocks.” Boston Globe. 2015. Accessed: September 25, 2015.

20O’Brien, Matthew. “High-Speed Trading Isn’t about Efficiency—It’s about Cheating.” The Atlantic. February 8, 2014. Accessed: September 22, 2015.

21Perry, Mark J. “World Stock Market Capitalization Closes Year at $54.6 Trillion.” American Enterprise Institute. January 18, 2013. Accessed: September 11, 2015.

22Saving Grace.” People. November 21, 1994. Accessed: October 13, 2015.

23Schaefer, Steve. “Investing in the Sin Bin: Are ‘Vice’ Stocks Like Tobacco, Booze, and Casinos Smart Bets.” Forbes. May 18, 2015. Accessed: September 11, 2015.

24Tucci, Paul A. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, The Handy Investing Answer Book, 2015.

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