SNB’s U.S. Stock Portfolio Climbed to $41 Billion Last Year

  • Swiss central bank held shares in some 2,600 U.S. companies
  • SNB investments designed for monetary policy, not profit

The Swiss National Bank’s U.S. equity portfolio climbed to $41.3 billion at the end of December as share prices rallied.

The central bank’s U.S. holdings gained 6.1 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, according to calculations by Bloomberg News based on its regulatory filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and published on Wednesday. That’s broadly in line with a 6.5 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the period.

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Unlike many other major central banks, the SNB invests in equities, with 18 percent of its 559.7 billion-franc ($553 billion) foreign-exchange portfolio held in shares. SNB spokeswoman Walter Meier declined to comment on the SEC filing, which is the only detailed disclosure of the central bank’s stock holdings. It showed the institution had stakes in some 2,600 companies listed in the U.S.

As of the end of December, the SNB’s top U.S. holdings were Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., with the number of shares in each entity little changed from the previous quarter.

SNB officials have said repeatedly that they replicate broad-based indexes in order to serve the interest of monetary policy rather than generate a profit. Some companies are excluded on ethical grounds.

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