Credit Card Debt

Iowa ranks the lowest in the U.S. in median credit card debt, with the average Iowan carrying just $4,225 of debt on credit cards in the third quarter of 2009, according to TransUnion Corp. That compares to the average American who had $5,612 in credit card debt.

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Did You Know These Wall Street Facts?

Ticker tape parades began as a Wall Street tradition of honoring heroes.

The market does not advance in a straight line, but has trended upward since it began.

The Securities and Exchange Commission was established in 1934 to regulate the markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 2,000 for the first time in early 1987.

In the short term, the price of a stock is influenced by market direction, news or events, and factors affecting the industry.

About 80% of American businesses are owned by one person, who usually doesn’t sell stock.

A company can issue as many shares as it wants. The government can give permission.

Two types of investors exist—institutional and individual. An institution might buy or sell 500,000 shares of stock in one company.

Insider trading—where stock is bought and sold before company news is published—is illegal.

Americans changed the way they thought about money in the 1920s, when investing became easier to do.

In 1927-1929, about 3 million Americans owned stock (1 in 40); about 500,000 used margin accounts; speculators comprised less than half of 1% of the population.

On Black Thursday, October 24, 1929, 13 million shares of stock were sold at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). On Tuesday, October 29, 1929, about 16 million shares traded. The NYSE’s usual busy day was 2 or 3 million shares.

The first bull market was 1792.

Symbols for NYSE stocks are typically three letters or less; NASDAQ stocks use four.