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Saudi sovereign wealth fund boosts US equities exposure to nearly $12.8 billion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in a virtual session in the capital Riyadh, on January 28, 2021. (AFP photo)

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has increased its holding of US stocks to nearly $12.8 billion in the fourth quarter from $7 billion in the third quarter, according to a US regulatory filing on Tuesday.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) took new bets in the last quarter, buying a $1.07 billion stake in Electronic Arts Inc and a $1.4 billion stake in Activision Blizzard, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

In the third quarter, the PIF had cut its exposure to North American equities by $3 billion, offloading some exchange traded funds (ETF) and stocks including Berkshire Hathaway.

At the start of 2020 the sovereign wealth fund bulked up minority stakes in companies worldwide, including oil companies, taking advantage of market weakness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia transferred a total of $40 billion from central bank foreign reserves to fund investments by sovereign wealth fund PIF in March and April last year.

The latest filing showed the value of its biggest US stock holding, Uber Technologies, rose to $3.7 billion in the fourth quarter, from $2.66 billion in the third quarter after the ride-hailing firm’s shares soared nearly 40% quarter-on-quarter.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund was an early investor in Uber, taking a $3.5 billion stake in 2016, three years before the company’s listing in 2019.

PIF, which manages $400 billion in assets, plans to double its assets to 4 trillion riyals ($1.07 trillion) by 2025, in a move that would make it one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has long pushed the PIF as a central plank in his plan to find ways of driving growth while weaning the economy off its dependence on oil.

 

(Source: Reuters)


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