Top 10 Most Held Stocks In ETFs

August 09, 2018

It's no secret that there's a lot of portfolio overlap in ETFs, or that some stocks are more widely held than others. In fact, some stocks are so popular that they crop up in the holdings list of literally hundreds of ETFs.

Below are the top 10 stocks in ETFs, ranked by market value owned:

 

Top 10 Most Widely Held Stocks By ETFs
Stock Ticker Total Market Value Owned ($B) # of Shares In ETFs (M) # of ETFs Holding The Stock Average Market Value Owned ($M) Biggest Holder Largest Allocation
Apple, Inc. AAPL 58.90 294.10 249 236.53 SPY IYW
Microsoft Corporation MSFT 49.30 470.20 232 212.46 SPY IYW
Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 43.00 24.20 200 216.61 SPY XLY
Facebook, Inc. Class A FB 25.00 140.20 206 121.55 SPY XLC
Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM 23.50 292.90 227 104.01 XLE XLE
JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM 22.70 200.40 197 115.67 SPY IYG
Alphabet Inc., Class C GOOG 21.30 17.70 149 142.77 SPY XLC
Alphabet Inc., Class A GOOGL 20.40 17.30 180 115.85 SPY XLC
Johnson & Johnson JNJ 20.80 162.10 208 100.20 SPY IHE
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Class B BRK.B 19.70 99.00 156 126.57 SPY RWW

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this list of stocks matches very closely the top 10 companies in the S&P 500 Index, if a bit juggled in terms of weights. Exxon Mobil, for example, has the 10th-highest weighting in the S&P 500, whereas among ETFs, it's the fifth-most-widely held stock. Berkshire Hathaway, meanwhile, is the 10th-most-widely held stock by ETFs, yet it has the sixth-highest weighting in the S&P 500.

It's probably not all that surprising, then, that the largest S&P 500 ETF, the $269 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), also holds the greatest amount by market value for almost all of these 10 stocks. The only exception is Exxon Mobil, the greatest amount of which is held by the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE).

Sector ETFs Have Largest Allocations

To that point, the ETFs with the largest allocations to these top 10 most widely held stocks tend to be relevant vanilla sector funds, like Exxon and XLE.

The iShares U.S. Technology ETF (IYW), for example, holds the highest percentage of Apple and Microsoft stock of any ETF, at 18% and 14%, respectively. Meanwhile, the new Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLC) holds the highest percentage of Facebook and Alphabet, at 19% and 25%, respectively, (A and C Alphabet shares, combined).

The only exception to this rule is the Oppenheimer S&P Financials Revenue ETF (RWW), which has the highest allocation of any ETF to Berkshire Hathaway. RWW is still a sector fund, but it's a smart-beta take, tracking a revenue-weighted index of large-cap financial firms.

How ETFs Are Used

As RWW shows, the top 10 most-widely held stocks don't just show up in vanilla, large-cap ETFs indexed to the S&P 500. In fact, these stocks appear in smart-beta funds, style picks, sector funds—even ESG strategies:

 

Top 5 Most Common ETF Strategies The Stock Is Used For
Stock Ticker #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Apple, Inc. AAPL Multifactor Vanilla Fundamental Active Equal Weight
Microsoft Corporation MSFT Vanilla Multifactor Fundamental Active Equal Weight
Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN Vanilla Multifactor Active Fundamental Equal Weight
Facebook, Inc. Class A FB Vanilla Multifactor Active Fundamental Growth
Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM Multifactor Vanilla Fundamental Dividends Value
JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM Vanilla Multifactor Active Value Fundamental
Alphabet Inc., Class C GOOG Vanilla Multifactor Active ESG Growth
Alphabet Inc., Class A GOOGL Vanilla Fundamental Multifactor Equal Weight Growth
Johnson & Johnson JNJ Vanilla Multifactor Fundamental Active Dividends
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Class B BRK.B Vanilla Multifactor Value Fundamental Equal Weight

Tables Sources: ETF.com, FactSet; data as of Aug. 8, 2018

 

For example, the most popular ETF strategy for Apple isn't a vanilla indexed product—it's a multifactor strategy. Apple appears in 44 multifactor funds, compared to 43 vanilla products.

Exxon, meanwhile, appears in an equal number of vanilla and multifactor strategies (42). It also appears in a significant number of dividend ETFs (23) and value strategies (22).

But even in the case of stocks for which vanilla indexed products are their primary use case, multifactor ETFs are almost always the second-most-widely used ETF strategy, beating out active management, fundamental weighting and single-factor strategies, like growth or value.

There are a few other surprises, too. The top 10 most-widely held stocks are apparently popular in equal-weighted ETFs, a weighting scheme which, by its very nature, reduces the influence of these stocks' mega-sized market caps.

Also, ESG strategies are fairly popular uses of Alphabet Class C stock (the kind originally issued to employees of the company); Alphabet appears in 13 socially responsible ETFs, or the same frequency with which it appears in growth ETFs.

You can investigate the ETF ownership of any stock in our ETF Stock Finder tool, or simply type www.etf.com/stock/[STOCKTICKER] directly into your web browser and see what pops up.

Contact Lara Crigger at [email protected]

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