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How has the stock market evolved in the past century?

Summary:Explore the evolution of the stock market over the past century, from its early domination by wealthy individuals to online trading and the 2008 financial crisis. See the stock market 100 year chart.


The stock market has been a crucial component of theglobal economyfor over a century. Throughout this time, the stock market has undergone significant changes, playing a pivotal role in shaping the financial landscape of the world. In this article, we will explore the evolution of the stock market over the past century.

The Early 1900s:

At the beginning of the 1900s, the stock market was primarily dominated by a few wealthy individuals and institutions. Trading was done through telegraph lines and was relatively slow. However, with the advent of the telephone and ticker tape machines, trading became faster and more efficient.

The 1920s:

The 1920s saw a significant increase in stock market activity, with more people investing in the market than ever before. The introduction of margin trading allowed investors to buy stocks on credit, which further fueled the market's growth. However, this period was also marked by speculation, with investors buying stocks solely for the purpose of selling them at a higher price.

The Great Depression:

The stock market crash of 1929 led to the Great Depression, which had a profound impact on the global economy. The stock market lost 90% of its value, and many investors lost their life savings. This period led to the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate the stock market and protect investors.

Post-World War II:

Following World War II, the stock market experienced significant growth, with the introduction of new technologies and increased globalization. The market became more accessible to the average person, with the creation of mutual funds and retirement accounts.

The 1980s and 1990s:

The 1980s and 1990s saw a period of rapid growth in the stock market, with the introduction of new financial products such as options, futures, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The rise of the internet allowed foronline trading, making the market more accessible than ever before.

The Dot-Com Bubble:

The late 1990s saw a significant increase in investment in technology companies, leading to the dot-com bubble. Many investors poured money into internet-based companies, even though many of these companies had no clear path to profitability. This bubble burst in 2000, leading to a significant decline in the stock market.

The 2008 Financial Crisis:

The 2008financial crisiswas one of the most significant events in the history of the stock market. The crisis was caused by a combination of factors, including the subprime mortgage crisis, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the global recession. The stock market lost over 50% of its value, and many investors lost their life savings.


Despite the ups and downs over the past century, the stock market remains a vital component of the global economy. While there have been periods of significant growth and decline, the stock market has always rebounded and continued to grow over the long term. As investors, it is essential to understand the history of the stock market and the risks and opportunities that come with investing in it. By doing so, we can make informed decisions and build a stronginvestment portfolio.

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