Dinner Party Conversation Starters

“The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Suess

I’m constantly reading and I tend to come across interesting information about the financial markets, businesses and the economy.  So I thought I would start collecting some of the most interesting little tidbits that I come across, all in one place.

Here’s what has piqued my interest lately:

  • Apple’s cash and investments are now equal to the GDP of Hungary, and more than that of Vietnam and Iraq (source: Firmex)
  • Also, Apples holds 10% of all corporate cash (source: Quartz)
  • JP Morgan’s uncle wrote “Jingle Bells” in 1857 (source: Firmex)
  • China’s labor force grew by 145 million from 1990 to 2008. The entire U.S. labor force today is 156 million. (source: Motley Fool)
  • From 1926 through 2012, small cap stocks averaged an annual return of 11.9% versus a 9.8% return for large cap stocks. This turned $10,000 into $158 million for small companies against just $31 million for large companies. (source: Business Week)
  • The original S&P 500 from 1957 had a combined market cap of $172 billion. Google and Apple could pay cash for the whole thing right now. (source: Josh Brown)
  • In 2012, Google made $32.2 billion from online ads, making more money than the annual GDP of Panama (source: bestaccountingschools.net)
  • From 1950 to 2012 for the S&P 500:

– If you checked daily, it would be positive 52.8 % of the time.
– If you checked monthly, it would be positive 63.1 % of the time.
– If you checked quarterly, it would be positive 68.7 % of the time.
– If you checked annually, it would be positive 77.8 % of the time.
(Source: Carl Richards, NY Times)

  • Fun fact – pick any day of any month of any year over the last 50 years – if you bought the stock market on that date, you had a 75% of being up one year later (source: Josh Brown)
  • Take the highest level the S&P 500 traded at in every decade going back to 1880. At some point during the subsequent 10 years, stocks fell at least 10% every single time, with an average decline of 39%. (source: Motley Fool)
  • The iPhone alone has had a higher sales figure in the last 12 months than 474 of the companies that make up the S&P 500 (source: Business Week)
  • Breaking down the monthly returns of the S&P 500 going back to 1956: In that time frame, the S&P 500 has lost more than 5% in a single month in 59 times (8.6% of the time). And there were 7 times where the market lost more than 10% in a month (source: FRED)
  • Since 1951 stocks have had their best returns during years with the unemployment rate above 8% The worst returns have actually occurred during 4% unemployment. (Source: BCA Research via The Reformed Broker)
  • Breaking down S&P 500 calendar year returns from 1928-2012:

– There were only 14 times that the annual return was within the 0% to 10% range      (less than 17% of the time).
– There were 11 times (13% of the time) that the market lost over 10% with 6 of          those years losing over 20%.
– Stocks have a positive annual return in 61 years against 24 years with a                  negative return, a 72% winning percentage. (Source: FRED)

  • Since 1994, stock market returns are flat if the three days before the Federal Reserve announces interest-rate policy are removed (source: Motley Fool)
  • From 1871 to 2011, the U.S. stock market returned 8.83% with reinvested dividends. Excluding reinvested dividends the return drops to 4.13%. $100 invested in 1871 compounds to $28,887 by 2011 at 4.13% but is grows to $13,955,952 at 8.83%, a 480 fold improvement. (source: Shareholder Yield by Mebane Faber)
  • Over the last 100 years the stock market has experienced on average a 5% correction three times per year, a 10% correction once per year and a 20% correction once every three and a half years (source: Motley Fool)
  • Since 1928, the Dow Jones has increased more than 10% in a day 8 times, declined more than 10% in a day 4 times and gone either up or down more than 5% in a day 136 times (source: Firmex)
  • From March 1980 to June 1982, silver dropped some 91%. From June of 1982 to March of 1983, Silver soared 201% (source: Lawrence McDonald)
  • In the 6 months ending October 2011, investors pulled $100 billion out of stocks. Warren Buffett bought $24 billion of stocks in that same period (source: Josh Brown)
  • 10% of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year – think smart phones (Time Magazine)
  • The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet. By 2011, it was 2,480 square feet. But in 1950 3.37 people lived in each home while in 2011 it was only 2.6 (source NY Times)
  • In the first half of 2013, the top performing stocks in the S&P 500 were Best Buy (+130%) and Hewlett Packard (+74%). At the beginning of the year, Wall Street had 35 holds and 14 sells on the stocks. (source: Larry McDonald)
  • A study of Fortune Magazine’s most admired companies found that over a 20 year period, the firms with the worst ratings went on to earn much higher stock returns that the most admired firms (source: Thinking Fast & Slow)
  • Apple increased more than 9,000% from 2002 to 2012, but declined on 48% of all trading days (source: Motley Fool)
  • Sex Panther by Odion cologne: “60% of the time, it works EVERY time.” (source: Brian Fantana, Anchorman)


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