Tags: Ownership | stocks | 18-year | low

Americans' Ownership of Stocks Hits 18-Year Low

By    |   Monday, 08 September 2014 08:52 PM

Only 48.8 percent of Americans owned stocks, directly or indirectly, last year, the lowest level since 1995, when the total was 40.5 percent, according to the latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance, as reported by CNBC.com.

Indirect ownerships includes stock investment vehicles, such as mutual funds. Only 14 percent of Americans own stocks directly, down from 21 percent in 2001.

As you might expect, stock ownership is skewed toward the wealthy. A total of 93 percent of the richest 10 percent of Americans own stock.

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That's almost double the portion of stockholders among the middle 50 percent in terms of wealth. And it compares to a 26-percent stock-ownership level for the poorest 40 percent of Americans. 

"The stock ownership rate for Americans peaked in 2001. It's been going steadily downhill since then," Edward Wolff, an economics professor at New York University, told CNBC. The stock ownership rate hit 53 percent that year.

The slide has exacerbated the income inequality problem, he said.

Meanwhile, Harvard economist Larry Summers stresses that the effort to solve income inequality should focus on helping the poor, not hurting the rich.

"Unless one regards envy as a virtue, the primary reason for concern about inequality is that lower- and middle-income workers have too little, not that the rich have too much," he wrote in the Financial Times.

"So in judging policies relating to inequality, the criterion should be what their impact will be on the middle class and the poor."

Editor’s Note: Get These 4 Stocks Before 399% Stock Market Rally!

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Only 48.8 percent of Americans owned stocks, directly or indirectly, last year, the lowest level since 1995, when the total was 40.5 percent, according to the latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance.
Ownership, stocks, 18-year, low
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2014-52-08
Monday, 08 September 2014 08:52 PM
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