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12 May 2021

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

According to the U.S. Treasury department, foreigners owned $9.17 trillion worth of U.S. equities through the end of the second quarter of 2020, which is the equivalent of 35.7% of the total market capitalization of the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) at that time. That represents a slight increase over last year's figures. The following chart presents the raw numbers:

Market Capitalization of S&P 500 and Foreign Holdings of U.S. Equities, June 2002 - June 2020

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. In the next chart, we've shown how the foreign-held share of U.S. equities, which we're representing as the market cap of the S&P 500 has changed from 2002 through 2020.

Foreign and Domestic Share of Market Capitalization of S&P 500, June 2002 - June 2020


Standard and Poor. S&P 500 Earnings and Estimate Report. [Excel Spreadsheet].

U.S. Department of the Treasury. Report on Foreign Portfolio Holdings of U.S. Securities at End-June 2020. [PDF Document]. 30 April 2021.

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