Top 10 Most Held Stocks In ETFs

Top 10 Most Held Stocks In ETFs

The most widely held stocks by ETFs are exactly what you'd think they are.

Reviewed by: Lara Crigger
Edited by: Lara Crigger

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
StockTickerTotal Market Value Owned ($B)# of Shares In ETFs (M)# of ETFs Holding The StockAverage Market Value Owned ($M)Biggest HolderLargest Allocation
Apple, Inc.AAPL58.90294.10249236.53SPYIYW
Microsoft CorporationMSFT49.30470.20232212.46SPYIYW, Inc.AMZN43.0024.20200216.61SPYXLY
Facebook, Inc. Class AFB25.00140.20206121.55SPYXLC
Exxon Mobil CorporationXOM23.50292.90227104.01XLEXLE
JPMorgan Chase & Co.JPM22.70200.40197115.67SPYIYG
Alphabet Inc., Class CGOOG21.3017.70149142.77SPYXLC
Alphabet Inc., Class AGOOGL20.4017.30180115.85SPYXLC
Johnson & JohnsonJNJ20.80162.10208100.20SPYIHE
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Class BBRK.B19.7099.00156126.57SPYRWW


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
Apple, Inc.AAPLMultifactorVanillaFundamentalActiveEqual Weight
Microsoft CorporationMSFTVanillaMultifactorFundamentalActiveEqual Weight, Inc.AMZNVanillaMultifactorActiveFundamentalEqual Weight
Facebook, Inc. Class AFBVanillaMultifactorActiveFundamentalGrowth
Exxon Mobil CorporationXOMMultifactorVanillaFundamentalDividendsValue
JPMorgan Chase & Co.JPMVanillaMultifactorActiveValueFundamental
Alphabet Inc., Class CGOOGVanillaMultifactorActiveESGGrowth
Alphabet Inc., Class AGOOGLVanillaFundamentalMultifactorEqual WeightGrowth
Johnson & JohnsonJNJVanillaMultifactorFundamentalActiveDividends
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Class BBRK.BVanillaMultifactorValueFundamentalEqual Weight

Tables Sources:, 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[STOCKTICKER] directly into your web browser and see what pops up.

Contact Lara Crigger at [email protected]

Lara Crigger is a former staff writer for and ETF Report.