“The most correct answer for how many countries there are in the world is 193– 192 members of the United Nations, plus non-member Vatican City. There are, of course, some controversies: Guantemala claims Belize doesn’t exist, Taiwan and China have their arguments, as do the Greek and Turkish sections of Cyprus.
Of these countries, 118 have some form of stock market. Few are threats to supplant the NYSE anytime soon. Many are quite small: The Royal Security of Bhutan lists 15 companies, and the International Brunei Exchange lists none at the moment.
But all combined, all these international stock exchanges are larger than the three major exchanges in the United States, having 5 times the number of companies, and a total market cap at $23 billion, which exceeds that of the American-listed companies. That excludes ADRs, of course. That would be double counting.
In case you’re wondering, Peru has the best-performing stock market since 2001, gaining an average of 42% per year.”
* Excerpt taken from Motley Fool Global Gains– Volume 1, Issue 1, December 2006