SNB's U.S. Stock Portfolio Hit Record $84.3 Billion in JuneBy
SNB makes regular filing on its U.S. company holdings to SEC
Central bank reserve management subordinate to monetary policy
The Swiss National Bank’s U.S. equity holdings gained almost 5 percent in value to hit a fresh record in the second quarter, thanks to a buoyant stock market.
The portfolio increased to $84.3 billion from $80.4 billion at the end of March, according to calculations by Bloomberg based on the central bank’s regulatory filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission published on Wednesday. The value of the SNB’s U.S. share holdings has risen over the years as its pile of foreign-exchange reserves expands and thanks to rallying markets.
The central bank led by Thomas Jordan has accumulated foreign exchange worth 714.3 billion francs ($742 billion) due to its interventions to tame the franc’s strength, and has invested those assets in both stocks and fixed income products. It held 20 percent in equities at the end of the second quarter.
Despite the SNB ruling out investments in certain companies -- such as those that make internationally condemned weapons or “massively violate” human rights -- anti-military and environmental activists are urging it to become even more restrictive.
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Wednesday’s data show the SNB increased the number of shares it held in Tomahawk cruise missile-producer Raytheon Co, in military aviation company Northrop Grumman Corp and in Boeing Co., maker of the B-52 bomber, in the quarter. Overall, it owned stakes in 2,558 companies listed in the U.S. and its top three holdings were Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc.
The S&P 500 index added 2.6 percent in the second quarter. The aerospace and defense sub-index increase 7.2 percent.
SNB Governing Board Member Andrea Maechler, who oversees the foreign currency holdings, said in a speech in March that monetary policy always takes precedence over investment decisions. Investments mirror indexes and are managed based on the criteria of security liquidity and return.
SNB spokesman Walter Meier declined to comment on the filing, the only detailed disclosure the institution makes of its individual holdings.
— With assistance by Roxana Zega