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In the book The Intelligent Investor, Jason Zweig mentions the annual turnover rate for stocks on the NYSE, that is the average amount of time investors and mutual funds held stocks that they purchased.

I think the turnover rate for the market as a whole or individual stocks may be indicative of the degree of price change an investor should expect over time. Personally, I would avoid investing in stocks with a high turnover rate. Knowing the average turnover rate of the market may give investors a baseline with which to compare that of specific companies

Where can I find this information for the market today? I would like to compare the current turnover rate to the that of different past time periods.

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    I am curious how this data would help anyone make a decision regarding their personal finances. If say, the number steadily went from a year to a month over the period, what would you do now? – JoeTaxpayer Mar 10 '14 at 22:13
  • @Jackmc1047 When comments are added to your question or answer asking for more information, it's better to edit your post to incorporate the new information, rather than reply in a comment. A comment may be buried/overlooked. Since you are the original poster (OP) of this question, you can simply edit to clarify. – Chris W. Rea Mar 13 '14 at 0:12
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You can make a rough calculation of the annual turnover rate of stocks by calculating the institutional investors holding of that stock. Institutional investors are the only firms that are required to provide such data. The good this is they usually make the lion share of trading activity. On the other hand, this task might proof arduous

A different ratio that could be used as a substitute Share Turnover which is calculated as:

Share Turnover gives the number of shares traded as a fraction of the number of shares outstanding. For example, if you compare the results of stock turnover for three companies and the results came as follows: Company A-share turnover: 1.5 Times Company B share turnover: 3 times Company C share turnover: 0.3 times

From the results, we can conclude that for a particular period, company C had the least activity and the number of shares traded for that period was only a small fraction of the shares outstanding while other traders of company C hold most shares and never trade them.

If you make a cross sectional analysis of a list of businesses you intend to invest in, you could figure which one has the least number of rapidity in the shares traded.

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