The number of unique shareholders in Sweden totaled 2,158,968 at the start of 2011, roughly 49,000 fewer than one year ago, according to fresh figures from Euroclear.
The majority of Swedish stock owners, 57 percent, are men, while 40 percent are women, with corporate entities accounting for the rest.
The list of companies with the highest percentage of female shareholders was headed by industrial doormaker Cardo, packaging company Billerud, the SEB and Handelsbanken banks, and fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz.
In addition, web-based media retailer CDON.COM, clothier Kappahl and industrial toolmaker Atlas Copco saw the biggest rise in the number of female stock owners during 2010.
Among the companies with the largest percentage of male investors are Shelton Petroleum, airline SAS, network switch maker Switchcore, electronic price and information systems provider Pricer, and Precise Biometrics.
CDON.COM and Kappahl also saw the largest increase in male shareholders in 2010, followed by media company MTG.
Mika Burman Götz, an economist with the Nordnet savings and investment company, believes part of the reason fewer Swedes have opted to own shares is an increased interest in other savings and investment options like endowment assurance policies and Exchange Traded Funds.
“There's a much broader and larger range of investment products today. There are so many more alternatives than there were before,” she told the TT news agency.
She also believes some shareholders have been scared off by the IT-crash and the financial crisis, as well as by bank collapses such as that of HQ Bank.
At the start of 2011, Ericsson had the highest number of individual shareholders, with 630,594, which represents a 2.3 percent drop compared with the year before.
TeliaSonera had 601,736 shareholders, 1.6 percent fewer than last year, and Swedbank had 333,145 individual shareholders, a drop of 0.7 percent.
However truckmaker Volvo AB and H&M saw an increase in their number of individual shareholders, with Volvo growing by 2.9 percent to 240,043 and H&M increasing by 4.6 percent to 193,697.