SNB U.S. Equity Holdings Hit $63 Billion Record on Market Rally

 Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- The Swiss National Bank’s portfolio of U.S. equities crept up 1.6 percent to yet another record in the final three months of last year as the stock marked rallied.

The holdings increased to $63.4 billion from $62.4 billion at the end of September, according to calculations by Bloomberg based on the central bank’s regulatory filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and published on Wednesday. The portfolio, which tracks indexes, has gained in value over the years, on the back of SNB interventions and a rise in share markets.

SNB spokeswoman Silvia Oppliger declined to comment on the filing, which is the only detailed disclosure by the central bank of its share holdings.

Among central banks, the SNB, headed by President Thomas Jordan, is unusual in that it holds equities as well as fixed income assets. Its buying of foreign assets stems from the need to invest its vast foreign exchange reserves. The S&P 500 Index added 3.25 percent in the fourth quarter, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 8 percent.

The central bank had stakes in nearly 2,600 companies listed in the U.S., according to the SEC filing. Its biggest holdings were Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

SNB policy makers, among them Governing Board Member Andrea Maechler, have said many times that they invest for the benefit of monetary policy, replicating broad-based indexes, and not to generate a profit. The SNB excludes some companies on ethical grounds.

--With assistance from Roxana Zega and Alice Baghdjian To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Bosley in Zurich at cbosley1@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Zoe Schneeweiss, Brian Swint

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