Stocks are soaring, and most Black people are missing out

Banking executive Bob Marshall, an active stock investor, poses for a photo at his home in Ashburn, Va., Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. Nearly half of all U.S. households don't own any stocks, and a disproportionate number of them are from Black and other racial-minority households. Differences in financial-literacy education may be one factor, Marshall said. Or, because fewer Black families have wealth that has carried through generations, they may be more wary of risky investments. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

NEW YORK (AP) - Americans who own stocks are pulling further away from those who don't, as Wall Street roars back to record heights while much of the economy struggles. And Black households are much more likely to be in that not-as-fortunate group that isn't in the stock market.

Only 33.5% of Black households owned stocks in 2019, according to data released recently by the Federal Reserve. Among white households, the ownership rate is nearly 61%. Hispanic and other minority households also are less likely than white families to own stock.

Many reasons are behind the split. Experts say chief among them is a longstanding preference by many Black investors for safer places to put their money - the legacy, some say, of decades of discrimination and fear.