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11 August 2020

How much of the U.S. stock market is owned by foreigners in 2020?

According to the U.S. Treasury department, foreigners owned $8.63 trillion worth of U.S. equities through the end of the second quarter of 2019, which is the equivalent of 35.3% of the total market capitalization of the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) at that time. Our rough preliminary estimate of foreign holdings of U.S. equities at the end of the second quarter of 2020 is $9.19 trillion, which is the equivalent of 34.2% of the S&P 500's reported $26.79 trillion market cap.

The following interactive chart shows the history of foreign holdings of U.S. equities and the market cap of the S&P for each year from 2002 through 2020. If you're accessing this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, you may want to click through to our site to see the interactive chart in its full size glory!

In 2002, foreigners owned just $1.4 trillion, or the equivalent of 15% of the S&P 500's market cap at that time. In between, the share of U.S. equities held by foreigners rose steadily to peak at 36.5% in 2015, but has declined in recent years. Preliminary data through April 2020 suggests the share of U.S. stocks held by foreigners has dipped during the coronavirus recession, where our estimate is based on the Treasury Department's estimate of foreign holdings and the market cap of the S&P 500 through the end of April 2020.

References

Standard and Poor. S&P 500 Earnings and Estimate Report. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 30 June 2020.

U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities, as of June 30, 2008. [PDF Document]. 18 November 2009.

U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities, as of June 30, 2012. [PDF Document]. April 2013.

U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities, as of June 28, 2019. [PDF Document]. 30 April 2020.

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