Stock-listings chart of the day, global edition

February 25, 2011
falling dramatically, what's happening in the rest of the world?

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My colleague Peter Rudegeair asked me a good question last week: even if the number of stocks listed in the US is falling dramatically, what’s happening in the rest of the world? He even helped answer the question, finding data from the World Federation of Exchanges. Which I then played around with a bit in Excel to generate this:


The US is clearly the outlier here: everywhere else in the world is still seeing the number of listings rise. (And now maybe it’s a bit more obvious why Deutsche Börse is buying the NYSE, rather than the other way around.) At the end of 2009, there were more companies listed in the Americas outside the US than there were inside the US.

US listings now account for only about 10% of all listed companies globally — that’s significantly less than America’s share of global GDP, which is closer to 20%. Even as the US is moving from public to private, or at the very least from many public companies to fewer public companies, the rest of the world is still moving fast in the opposite direction.

Looking at this chart, it seems to me that anybody with the bulk of their equity holdings in US companies is clearly missing out on something important. Yes, US companies are active globally, and those US listings do include a smattering of foreign companies, in the form of ADRs. But it’s a big world out there, and if you’re looking for an everything bagel, it’s going to be hard to find it if you confine your search to US counters.


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