The number of shareholders continues to drop. At the end of last year 15.5 percent of the population directly owned shares. In 2010 that figure was 16.5 percent.
The percentage has fallen for each year since 2002 when 22.6 percent of the population owned shares. At the end of last year the proportion of women that owned shares was 13.2 percent while 17.9 percent of the men owned shares. This is a decrease of roughly 16 000 persons compared to the previous six months and about 78 000 compared to 2010. Of all shareholders, 50 703 had a share wealth of SEK one million or more; 16 786 of them were women and 33 917 were men.
Households' share wealth drops
At the end of December 2011 households' share wealth was valued at SEK 404 billion. This is a decrease of nearly SEK 72 billion compared to the previous six months. The downturn is largely due to a weak stock market, but also because of the fact that fewer people own shares.
For those individuals who own shares, the average portfolio at the end of December 2011 was worth SEK 247 000. This is a decrease of 39 000 compared to the end of July 2011. However, when looking at the median portfolio, that is, the middle value, that portfolio decreased by SEK 3 000 during the last six months of 2011 and amounted to SEK 18 000 at the end of December. For women, the median portfolio was worth SEK 15 000, while the median portfolio for men was worth SEK 20 000.
The large difference between the average and the median portfolio is because the distribution of share wealth is very unevenly distributed. A relatively small proportion owns a large part of the wealth. Last year the five percent with the largest holdings owned 77 percent of the wealth in shares. The five percent with the largest holdings is divided into 24 834 women and 48 868 men.
The share wealth of households does not include investments in funds and unit-linked savings.
Foreign ownership accounts for 38.7 percent of the share wealth
The total wealth in shares in companies listed on the Swedish market was valued at SEK 3 611 billion at the end of December 2011. This is a decrease of SEK 731 billion compared to 2010.
Foreign owners comprise the single largest sector and their holdings amounted to SEK 1 397 billion at the end of December. This is a decrease of 195 billion since the end of July 2011. However, in terms of percentage, wealth of foreign owners has decreased less than in other sectors. This means that foreign owners are again increasing their proportion of total share wealth from 38.1 percent on 31 July 2011 to 38.7 percent at the end of December 2011.
As previously, the US and the UK are the largest single holders of Swedish shares within the foreign owners sector. Their shares of ownership were 27.1 and 23.6 percent of total holdings of the foreign owners sector. Among the Nordic countries, Finland is the largest single holder of Swedish shares, owning 9.0 percent of the foreign ownership.