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Markets in a Minute

Visualizing 50 Years of Global Stock Markets (1970-Today)



This shows global stock markets from 1970-2022.

This shows global stock markets from 1970-2022.

Visualizing 50 Years of Global Stock Markets

For decades, the U.S. has firmly remained the world’s financial power.

But how long will this continue, and what factors could underscore a new shift? To look at the role of the U.S. in the broader financial system, this graphic shows 50 years of global stock markets, with data from Credit Suisse.

Global Stock Markets Today

Today, the U.S. covers 58.4% of global equity markets as of year-end 2022.

Top Stock MarketsShare of Global Stock Market 2022
🇺🇸 U.S.58.4%
🇯🇵 Japan6.3%
🇬🇧 U.K.4.1%
🇨🇳 China3.7%
🇫🇷 France2.8%
🇨🇦 Canada2.7%
🇨🇭 Switzerland2.5%
🇦🇺 Australia2.2%
🇩🇪 Germany2.1%
🌎 Others15.2%

The next largest stock market is Japan, at 6.3% of the global market share.

For a brief period in 1989, it overtook the U.S. when the Nikkei hit an all-time high following supercharged economic growth. However, after its subsequent crash and “lost decades”, it would take 33 years for Japan’s stock market to recover to those same highs.

Lastly, despite China being the world’s second-largest economy, it only accounts for just 3.7% of the world’s equity market share, a similar level as the UK.

Rise and Fall

Stock markets have been around for centuries.

While the New York Stock Exchange originated in 1792, Amsterdam’s stock market, arguably the world’s oldest, dates back to 1602.

During the mid-1700s, London began to overtake Amsterdam as a leading financial market amid growing financial activity and trade. An increasing number of firms set up offices in the city, bringing with them key business relationships.

After roughly 200 years, London’s role as a global financial center was surpassed by New York after WWII, driven by the economic crisis caused by the war.

America’s rise in prominence was supported by the growing credibility of the Federal Reserve, while the global status of the Bank of England diminished as the value of the pound weakened.

Given the destabilizing effects of the war, the U.S. filled the vacuum, emerging as a leading stock market supported by a robust economy and central bank—a position it continues to hold.

What Comes Next?

Why is America’s influence over global stock markets unrivaled?

The dollar’s status as a reserve currency plays a central role, along with the depth of its financial markets. Its economic, political, and military strength are other important factors.

America’s stock market returns have also outperformed nearly all other countries since 1900, attracting investors both domestically and abroad.

While American “declinism” has become a cliche, countries have risen and fallen over history. In the early 19th century, Britain’s publicly held debt soared from 109% of GDP in 1918 to roughly 200% by 1934. By around this time, its economic output had been exceeded by America, Germany, and the Soviet Union.

While there are key differences between the U.S. and Britain at that time, history suggests that balances in military power, debt, and economic dominance were key variables in the rise and decline of financial powers.

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Markets in a Minute

Visualizing the Growth of $100, by Asset Class

In this graphic, we show asset class returns across U.S. equities, bonds, real estate, gold and cash since 1970.



This line chart shows the growth of a $100 investment between 1970 and 2023 by asset class.

Visualizing the Growth of $100, by Asset Class

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 major asset class has generated the strongest returns over the long run? How do the returns of investments like bonds and real estate actually stack up?

To put investment returns in perspective, this graphic shows the growth of $100 by asset class over the long term, based on data from Aswath Damodaran at NYU Stern.

Comparing Asset Class Returns

Below, we show the returns of a $100 investment across major asset classes—from U.S. stocks to gold—between 1970 and 2023:

YearS&P 500Corporate
GoldU.S. 10-Year
Treasury Bonds
Real EstateCash

Numbers have been rounded. S&P 500 includes dividends. Cash represented by 3-Month U.S. T-Bills. Corporate Bonds represented by Baa corporate bonds. Real Estate represented by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

As we can see, a $100 investment in the S&P 500 (including reinvested dividends) in 1970 would be worth an impressive $22,419 in 2023.

Not only were U.S. stocks the top performing major asset class, they outpaced other investments by a wide margin. Consider how a $100 investment in corporate bonds would have grown to $7,775 over the period, or 65% lower than an investment in the S&P 500.

When it comes to gold, a $100 investment would have been worth $5,545 by 2023. During the 1970s and 2000s, gold boomed amid bouts of inflation and a falling U.S. dollar. By comparison, the S&P 500 saw much lower returns over these decades.

Real estate, another safe haven asset, grew on average 5.5% annually since 1970, with the highest gains seen in the decade through 2020. It’s worth noting that these numbers are from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which is based on purely price changes over time.

Given that real estate is a unique asset class, this doesn’t necessarily illustrate the returns that homeowners actually receive, factoring in leverage, property taxes, insurance, and other expenses. From this price perspective, a $100 investment would have grown to just $1,542 by 2023 due to slower price growth through the 1980s and 2000s weighing on overall gains.

During both periods, the housing market crashed, taking years for the sector to fully recover. In fact, following the Global Financial Crisis, it took a decade for home prices to climb to their previous 2006 peak.

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Markets in a Minute

How Small Investments Make a Big Impact Over Time

Compound interest is a powerful force in building wealth. Here’s how it impacts even the most modest portfolio over the long-term.



This bar chart shows the power of compound interest and regular contributions over time.

How Small Investments Make a Big Impact Over Time

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.

Time is an investor’s biggest ally, even if they start with just a modest portfolio.

The reason behind this is compounding interest, of course, thanks to its ability to magnify returns as interest earns interest on itself. With a fortune of $159 billion, Warren Buffett largely credits compound interest as a vital ingredient to his success—describing it like a snowball collecting snow as it rolls down a very long hill.

This graphic shows how compound interest can dramatically impact the value of an investor’s portfolio over longer periods of time, based on data from

Why Compound Interest is a Powerful Force

Below, we show how investing $100 each month, with a 10% annual return starting at the age of 25 can generate outsized returns by simply staying the course:

AgeTotal ContributionsInterestPortfolio Value

Portfolio value is at end of each time period. All time periods are five years except for the first year (Age 25) which includes a $100 initial contribution. Interest is computed annually.

As we can see, the portfolio grows at a relatively slow pace over the first five years.

But as the portfolio continues to grow, the interest earned begins to exceed the contributions in under 15 years. That’s because interest is earned not only on the total contributions but on the accumulated interest itself. So by the age of 40, the total contributions are valued at $19,300 while the interest earned soars to $24,299.

Not only that, the interest earned soars to double the value of the investor’s contributions over the next five years—reaching $52,243 compared to the $25,300 in principal.

By the time the investor is 75, the power of compound interest becomes even more eye-opening. While the investor’s lifetime contributions totaled $61,300, the interest earned ballooned to 25 times that value, reaching $1,489,172.

In this way, it shows that investing consistently over time can benefit investors who stick it through stock market ups and downs.

The Two Key Ingredients to Growing Money

Generally speaking, building wealth involves two key pillars: time and rate of return.

Below, we show how these key factors can impact portfolios based on varying time horizons using a hypothetical example. Importantly, just a small difference in returns can make a huge impact on a portfolio’s end value:

Annual ReturnPortfolio Value
25 Year Investment Horizon
Portfolio Value
75 Year Investment Horizon

With this in mind, it’s important to take into account investment fees which can erode the value of your investments.

Even the difference of 1% in investment fees adds up over time, especially over the long run. Say an investor paid 1% in fees, and had an after-fee return of 9%. If they had a $100 starting investment, contributed monthly over a 25-year time span, their portfolio would be worth over $102,000 at the end of the period.

By comparison, a 10% return would have made over $119,000. In other words, they lost roughly $17,000 on their investment because of fees.

Another important factor to keep in mind is inflation. In order to preserve the value of your portfolio, its important to choose investments that beat inflation, which has historically averaged around 3.3%.

For perspective, since 1974 the S&P 500 has returned 12.5% on average annually (including reinvested dividends), 10-Year U.S. Treasury bonds have returned 6.6%, while real estate has averaged 5.6%. As we can see, each of these have outperformed inflation over longer horizons, with varying degrees of risk and return.

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