Foreign Ownership Of U.S. Stocks

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Posted: Jul 24, 2019 11:16 AM

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

Through the end of the second quarter of 2018, the most recent period for which the data is available from the U.S. Treasury Department, the answer is $8.1 trillion, which is the equivalent of about 35% of the $23.0 trillion market capitalization of the S&P 500 at that time.

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 dipped slightly and stabilized in recent years.

If you think about it, the growth of foreign holdings of U.S. stocks has had considerable influence over the growth of the U.S. stock market during the early 21st century.