Norway’s $1tn oil fund loads up on equities

Fears sovereign wealth investor could have upped exposure to shares at top of the cycle

The oil fund said on Wednesday that it now had 69.3 per cent of its assets in equities, up from 66.3 per cent at the end of 2018.

The oil fund said on Wednesday that it now had 69.3 per cent of its assets in equities, up from 66.3 per cent at the end of 2018.

 

Norway’s $1 trillion (€900 billion) oil fund held a record amount of equities at the end of June, raising fears that the world’s largest sovereign wealth investor could have loaded up on shares again at the top of the cycle.

The oil fund said on Wednesday that it now had 69.3 per cent of its assets in equities, up from 66.3 per cent at the end of 2018.

The fund – which on average owns 1.4 per cent of every listed company worldwide – previously increased its exposure to equities in 1998 and 2007, just before market crashes.

It revealed its new record holding in equities as it disclosed that it made a 3 per cent return in the second quarter, helped both by share and bond markets.

Equities returned 3 per cent, fixed income 3.1 per cent and unlisted real estate 0.8 per cent in the three months to June. The fund’s leading equity investments in the quarter in terms of return were Microsoft, Nestlé and Facebook with Alphabet, Deutsche Wohnen and Intel being the worst performers.

Trond Grande, the fund’s deputy chief executive, said: “Uncertainty about global trade and economic growth dampened returns early on, but markets rallied towards the end of the period, driven partly by the prospect of more expansionary monetary policy in developed markets.” – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019