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Visualizing 30 Years of Investor Sentiment



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Visualizing 30 Years of Investor Sentiment

Visualizing Investor Sentiment Over 30 Years

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Sometimes investor sentiment garners attention because it provides a glimpse at how investors might behave. In this way, sentiment would influence their investment behavior, and in turn the wider stock market.

To be sure, the link between sentiment and the stock market is not linear. In fact, many consider extreme sentiment readings as a contrarian indicator. If sentiment swings sharply in one direction, some investors may consider this a signal to do the reverse.

This graphic shows 30 years of investor sentiment, based on data from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII).

How is Investor Sentiment Measured?

The AAII survey shows bullish sentiment, indicated by the percentage of investors who think the stock market will be higher in six months. We charted the eight-week moving average for bullish sentiment to smooth out fluctuations and show broader trends.

When Investor Optimism Ran High

When has sentiment peaked over historical market cycles?

The highest bullish readings took place during 2004 and 2000 surrounding the Dotcom bubble. In January 2004, the bullish eight-week moving average hit records amid a U.S. economic rebound, spurred by low interest rates after stocks had tumbled for over two years.

Prior to this, at the height of the bubble in early 2000, investor optimism accelerated. This came after the Nasdaq posted 86% returns in 1999, as tech stocks soared. In 1999, 13 stocks in the index saw at least 1,000% returns. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index later hit a high in March 2000 before bursting, not fully recovering until 2015.

Investor sentiment later hit highs in January 2011, following surging stock market performance as the S&P 500 fully recovered losses from the 2008 crash in late 2010. This rebound would become the longest bull market in history.

More recently, bullish sentiment jumped in April 2021 as the Federal Reserve signaled that interest rates would stay near rock bottom. In April, the S&P 500 hit new highs, climbing over 80% from March 2020 lows.

Where Does Sentiment Stand Today?

This year, investor sentiment has improved compared to 2022, as investors hope that the Fed may wind down interest rate hikes.

Despite real U.S. GDP picking up 4.9% year-over-year in the third quarter, October’s inflation reading remained unchanged compared to the previous month, sitting at 3.2%. The S&P 500 has increased roughly 18% in 2023 to-date, as investor optimism improves.

Yet a separate survey shows that almost 70% of U.S. consumers think a recession is coming next year.

With the looming uncertainty on the direction of interest rates—given strong economic data potentially lifting inflation—investors and consumers appear to have mixed views on where the market is heading even as stocks look to be resilient so far.

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The Top Retailers in the World, by Store Count

Here are the top retailers in the world by physical store presence, illustrating the dominance of convenience and drug store chains.



This circle graphic shows the retailers with the highest number of locations worldwide.

The Top Retailers in the World, by Store Count

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Which retail chains have the highest global store counts?

Owing to their rapid speed of service in providing the basics to customers, convenience chains stand as the clear leaders. Going further, their smaller footprint allows them to expand their store counts at a greater scale.

This graphic shows the top retailers in the world by store count, based on data from the National Retailers Federation.

Japanese Retailers Dominate the Pack

Below, we show the global retailers with the most physical storefronts in 2023:

RankingRetailerTotal Stores WorldwideIndustryHeadquarters
1Seven & I40,454Convenience Store🇯🇵 Japan
2FamilyMart24,251Convenience Store🇯🇵 Japan
3Lawson21,902Convenience Store🇯🇵 Japan
4CP All16,042Convenience Store🇹🇭 Thailand
5AS Watson16,014Drug Store🇭🇰 Hong Kong
6Schwarz Group14,112Discount Grocery🇩🇪 Germany
7Carrefour14,014Supermarkets🇫🇷 France
8Couche-Tard13,505Convenience Store🇨🇦 Canada
9Aldi13,475Discount Grocery🇩🇪 Germany
10Walgreens Boots Alliance12,961Drug Store🇺🇸 U.S.

Leading by a wide margin is Japan’s Seven & I Holdings, with 40,454 store locations worldwide.

The retail giant includes the 7-Eleven franchise along with Ito-Yokado, its supermarket chain. While the world’s largest convenience chain traces its origins to Dallas, Texas, the remainder of the U.S-based company (27%) was acquired in 2005 in a $1.2 billion deal that took the company fully private. Today, the company operates in 10 markets globally.

Next in line are Japan’s FamilyMart and Lawson, each boasting over 20,000 locations. For perspective, Walmart, America’s largest retail company by revenues, operates 10,569 locations globally.

In Europe, Germany’s discount grocery chain Schwarz takes the lead, due to its extensive network of stores. Operating across 30 countries and with over 500,000 employees, the no-frills chain stands as a powerhouse. France’s supermarket giant, Carrefour, follows closely behind.

Ranking in eighth is Canadian retailer, Couche-Tard, with stores largely concentrated in North America and Europe. Since 2004, the company has made over 60 acquisitions, including 2,200 gas stations from French oil company TotalEnergies in 2023. The company is known for its Circle K brand, which operates in 24 countries globally.

Closing off the list is Walgreens Boots Alliance, the only American retailer in the rankings. The company owns the ubiquitous UK-based Boots brand, which was founded in 1849 in Nottingham. Yet as profits margins face increasing strains, it is looking to sell the subsidiary and instead focus more heavily on its U.S. pharmacy and healthcare businesses. With a presence in 13 countries, the pharmacy chain operates 12,961 stores worldwide.

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