You may have seen headlines to describe the market carnage like a trillion dollar’s worth of wealth wiped away in a single day. But it’s worth noting just how much is held by Americans in the stock market in the first place.
As of March 31, households and nonprofits held $24.1 trillion in stocks. That’s both directly, and through mutual funds, pension funds and the like. That also includes the holdings of U.S.-based hedge funds, though you’d have to think that most hedge funds are held by households.
Using the Dow Jones Total Stock Market index DWCF, -3.94% through midmorning trade, that number had dropped to $22.32 trillion.
In other words, a cool $1.8 trillion has been lost between now and the first quarter — and overwhelmingly, those losses occurred in the last few days. This will probably be the worst quarter for stock-market destruction since the third quarter of 2011, when $2.8 trillion was wiped away.
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