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Animation: Stock Market vs. GDP Share, by Country (1900-2022)

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Stock Market vs. GDP Share, by Country (1900-2022)

While the distribution of global GDP has diversified over time, the global stock market remains dominated by a few developed financial markets.

In 2022, the U.S. accounted for 59% of global stock market capitalization, with a 21% share of global GDP. To put that into context, China makes up just 4% of the global stock market despite accounting for 16% of global GDP.

To explore the roots of this disconnect, this animated bar chart from James Eagle compares countries’ share of the global stock market and global GDP over 122 years from 1900 to 2022.

Understanding the Divergence: Stock Markets vs GDP

Before diving into the gap between GDP and stock market capitalization, it’s important to understand the fundamental difference between the two measures:

  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product): Represents the total value of all the goods and services produced in an economy in a given year, including government spending.
  • Stock Market Capitalization: Reflects the dollar value of all outstanding shares in the stock market, which are priced based on several factors including current and projected financial performance as well as economic conditions.

Essentially, changes in GDP echo the health and growth of the economy. Meanwhile, stock market valuations are more forward-looking and track how specific companies and industries are expected to deliver value to shareholders.

Besides these fundamental differences, here are two other factors that could influence the divergence between stock markets and GDP:

  1. Financial Market Maturity: Not all economies have equally developed or accessible financial markets. Mature financial markets like the U.S. offer a more conducive environment for businesses to access public capital.
  2. Economic Composition: The structure of an economy may not always mirror its stock market. For example, a country’s agricultural sector might generate a large portion of GDP, but may not be lucrative enough to be well-represented in the stock market.

Additionally, factors like a country’s political stability and regulatory environment can also influence investors’ willingness to invest in its stock markets.

With that context in mind, let’s look at how the composition of the global stock market and GDP has changed over time.

1900s: A Diverse Global Economy

In the year 1900, both the global stock market and economy were fairly diverse. The UK had the largest stock market, while the U.S. held the largest share of GDP.

CountryShare of Global Stock MarketShare of Global GDP
🇬🇧 UK24.2%9.2%
🇺🇸 U.S.14.4%18.0%
🇩🇪 Germany12.6%7.6%
🇫🇷 France11.1%5.5%
🇦🇹 Austria5.0%0.8%
🇨🇳 China0.4%11.0%
🌏 Other32.3%47.9%

Meanwhile, China was the second-largest economy with 11% of the global GDP but made up just 0.4% of the worldwide stock market. At the time, China was under the rule of the Qing Dynasty, the country’s final imperial dynasty.

In 1901, the U.S. overtook the UK as the world’s largest stock market. By 1945, it was extending its dominance, accounting for nearly half of the worldwide stock market and 28% of the global GDP.

As other economies grew, America’s share of global GDP began declining, but its stock market share continued increasing and peaked at 71.6% in 1966. However, the peak was short-lived, with Japan’s economy experiencing a remarkable recovery.

1970–1990: Japan’s Economic Miracle

Following World War II, the Japanese economy shifted gears from devastation to rapid economic growth.

Driven by governmental guidance, export-focused policies, and technological innovations, Japan’s share of global GDP jumped from 3% in 1950 to over 8% in the 1980s. Simultaneously, Japan’s share of the global stock market grew from less than 1% in 1950 to 40% by 1988, briefly making it the country with the largest stock market.

However, this bubble burst in the early 1990s, leading to Japan’s “lost decade”. Since then, both the U.S. economy and stock market have been the largest in the world.

2000s: U.S. Dominance and China’s Growth

The beginning of the 21st century cemented America’s position in the global stock market, supported by the rise of tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Simultaneously, the global economic landscape shifted with the ascent of emerging markets like China averaging annual growth rates of around 10%. By 2010, China accounted for 14% of global GDP.

However, China’s stock markets did not grow as fast, and U.S. exchanges dominated the equity markets throughout the 2000s. As of 2022, the U.S. accounted for more than half of the world’s stock market capitalization, followed from afar by Japan:

CountryShare of Global Stock MarketShare of Global GDP
🇺🇸 U.S.59.6%20.7%
🇯🇵 Japan6.3%4.4%
🇬🇧 UK3.9%3.1%
🇨🇳 China3.6%15.8%
🇫🇷 France2.8%2.9%
🌏 Other23.8%53.1%

The U.S. stock market is prevalent partly because exchanges are subject to strict regulations and offer a relatively stable business and political environment for companies. Furthermore, the U.S. is home to 31 of the 50 most valuable companies in the world, from a range of different industries.

Meanwhile, China’s stock market accounts for 3.6% of the global total, up from 0% in 2000. Despite being a relatively smaller player in the global stock market, China’s economy is massive and accounts for nearly 16% of the global GDP.

Looking Ahead

Given the fundamental differences between stock market capitalization and GDP, it’s likely that the divergence in these two measures will persist in the future.

For example, many emerging economies in Africa and Asia are projected to grow rapidly over the next few decades, likely increasing their share of the global GDP. However, their stock markets may not follow the same trajectory.

Although the U.S. faces competition from emerging financial markets, it could continue to dominate the global stock market for the foreseeable future.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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AI

Ranked: The 20 Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap

In total, the 20 biggest tech companies are worth over $20 trillion—nearly 18% of the stock market value globally.

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A portion of the top 20 biggest tech companies visualized as bubbles sized by market cap with Apple as the biggest.

Ranked: The 20 Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap

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.

The world’s 20 biggest tech companies are worth over $20 trillion in total. To put this in perspective, this is nearly 18% of the stock market value globally.

This graphic shows which companies top the ranks, using data from Companiesmarketcap.com.

A Closer Look at The Top 20

Market capitalization (market cap) measures what a company is worth by taking the current share price and multiplying it by the number of shares outstanding. Here are the biggest tech companies according to their market cap on June 13, 2024.

RankCompanyCountry/RegionMarket Cap
1AppleU.S.$3.3T
2MicrosoftU.S.$3.3T
3NvidiaU.S.$3.2T
4AlphabetU.S.$2.2T
5AmazonU.S.$1.9T
6MetaU.S.$1.3T
7TSMCTaiwan$897B
8BroadcomU.S.$778B
9TeslaU.S.$582B
10TencentChina$453B
11ASMLNetherlands$415B
12OracleU.S.$384B
13SamsungSouth Korea$379B
14NetflixU.S.$281B
15AMDU.S.$258B
16QualcommU.S.$243B
17SAPGermany$225B
18SalesforceU.S.$222B
19PDD Holdings (owns Pinduoduo)China$212B
20AdobeU.S.$206B

Note: PDD Holdings says its headquarters remain in Shanghai, China, and Ireland is used for legal registration for its overseas business.

 

Apple is the largest tech company at the moment, having competed with Microsoft for the top of the leaderboard for many years. The company saw its market cap soar after announcing its generative AI, Apple Intelligence. Analysts believe people will upgrade their devices over the next few years, since the new features are only available on the iPhone 15 Pro or newer.

Microsoft is in second place in the rankings, partly thanks to enthusiasm for its AI software which is already generating revenue. Rising profits also contributed to the company’s value. For the quarter ended March 31, 2024, Microsoft increased its net income by 20% compared to the same quarter last year.

Nvidia follows closely behind with the third-highest market cap, rising more than eight times higher compared to its value at the start of 2023. The company has recently announced higher profits, introduced a higher dividend, and reported that its next-generation GPU chip will start generating revenue later this year.

AI a Driver of the Biggest Tech Companies

It’s clear from the biggest tech companies that involvement in AI can contribute to investor confidence.

Among S&P 500 companies, AI has certainly become a focus topic. In fact, 199 companies cited the term “AI” during their first quarter earnings calls, the highest on record. The companies who mentioned AI the most were Meta (95 times), Nvidia (86 times), and Microsoft (74 times).

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