Global stock markets seem to have been on steroids since April 2020. After touching a multi-year low in March 2020, thanks to COVID-19 woes, equity markets across geographies bounced back – and in a very sharp manner.
The surge in stocks has happened due to excess global liquidity pumped in by the governments and central banks across the globe, through stimulus packages. Since economy was on a standstill, a lot of this liquidity found its way to global stock markets.
This led to a massive surge in the wealth of investors, despite the economies across the world being in tatters and the continued onslaught of COVID-19. The best way to gauge the investor wealth is the market capitalisation of all firms listed on a particular exchange. Since that conveys the combined worth of all the shares of all the companies traded on that exchange, it does convey how investor wealth has swung.
However, it has a pitfall as well: while headline numbers may show that the market cap of listed companies on the exchange has surged, it does not tell us whether, that surge is polarised. In many cases the large caps on that exchange lead the surge in overall market cap, while the larger pool of mid- and small- cap firms would have seen wealth erosion.
That aside, here is a list of top 10 exchanges across the globe, in terms of market capitalisation:
- New York Stock Exchange (NYSE): It is a no-brainer that Wall Street will feature prominently when it comes to the size of the exchanges across the globe. The NYSE is perched at the top – with total market capitalisation of a whopping US$24.94 trillion. Investor wealth at the NYSE is 19.1% more than the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the US – the world’s largest economy. The exchange is also home to some of the most prominent benchmark indices across the globe -- Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NYSE Composite.
- National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ): The fellow exchange of the NYSE from New York city is at the second slot. The total market cap of the exchange, which denotes investor wealth, is worth US$20.87 trillion – roughly the same size as that of the American economy. The exchange is home to some of the most prominent tech companies across the globe, some of which are worth over US$1 trillion as well.
- Shanghai Stock Exchange: China was the only major economy not to witness a recession in 2020, despite being the origin of the global pandemic. The country’s stock exchange – Shanghai Stock Exchange – is the world’s third largest stock exchange – with listed companies on it worth US$7.63 trillion – thanks to some of the largest banks in the world calling China home. However, unlike the NYSE, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is almost half the size of the Chinese economy.
- Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX): It is located in the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong. The overall market capitalisation of all the companies listed on the HKEX stands at US$6.83 trillion. Being an autonomous region with little natural resources, investor wealth at the SAR is 20 times the size of its GDP.
- Tokyo Stock Exchange: Japan’s premier stock exchange is home to one of the most looked after benchmark indices in the Asia-Pacific region – Nikkei 225. The market cap of all the companies listed on the exchange stands at US$6.54 trillion. The stock exchange in the country seems to be overheated, as the equity investor wealth in the far eastern nation is 30% more than its economy’s size.
- Euronext Exchange: It is a pan-European exchange group, operating stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Milan, Oslo and Paris. In May 2021, it had nearly 1,900 listed issuers worth US$5.85 trillion in market capitalisation.
- Shenzhen Stock Exchange: This is yet another exchange from the world’s second largest economy – China – which has made it to the top ten. The stock exchange is worth US$5.72 trillion – almost one-third of the size of the Chinese Economy.
- London Stock Exchange: Based in the city of London, England, the stock exchange was founded during the industrial revolution in 1801 – making it one of the oldest stock exchanges in the world. The value of all the listed companies on the LSE stands at US$3.82 trillion.
- Toronto Stock Exchange: This Canadian stock exchange is based in Toronto. The listed companies on the exchange are worth US$3.18 trillion – even though, one-seventh that of the neighbouring USA, but still making its way into the top 10 list.
- National Stock Exchange (NSE): Based in Mumbai – a major financial hub of India, which is one of the fastest growing economies in the world – the NSE is a sure shot entrant in the top 10 list globally. It was formed in 1992 as the country’s first dematerialised electronic exchange. There are over 1,700 companies that are listed on exchange and are worth US$3 trillion – more than the economy of the country. That is not it: the NSE has been the world’s largest derivative exchange in the world for the second consecutive year in a row.