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Investors in the capital markets generally have a longer-term, buy-and-hold philosophy compared to the shorter-term outlook and strategy basis of traders. Most powerful are the institutional investors like pension funds but individual investors are generally more numerous and gaining clout.

Big dogs[edit]

Institutional investors held increasingly more stocks in more corporations recently than in previous years, according to the latest figures from 2005.[1] They increased their equity ownership on U.S. markets by 39 percent over a 3-year period, from $17.3 trillion in 2002 to $24.1 trillion in 2005. Institutional investors in 2005 also held 61.2 percent of all U.S. equities in 2005, up from 51.4 percent in 2000.

Lone wolves[edit]

Individual investors, many home-based and often older, have been gaining increasing recognition in recent years as their numbers continue to grow with the impending baby-boomer retirement bubble. NYSE Euronext, like other established markets, now has a comprehensive page of information and updates on its website aimed at its individual-investor customers.[2] One representative group, the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), maintains a popular site that includes a 'shadow' stock portfolio based on AAII guidance that has returned an average 13.6 percent over 10 years.[3]