50 largest companies in the world by market capitalization as of 2017 end

largest companies in the world - usually thought of by their skyscrapers

Investors looking to replace index ETFs or more expensive stock mutual funds or closed-end funds with direct positions in blue chip stocks may want to start by owning some of the largest companies in the world by market cap.  Market cap is simply the total value of shares outstanding, and most index funds and ETFs weight towards market cap, meaning they will invest 10x as much in one company as in another company 1/10th the size.  The S&P 500 is one of the best known market cap weighted indices, and has largely replaced the Dow Jones Industrial Average as a benchmark for how US stocks are doing.

Beyond the US, Dow Jones (now S&P Dow Jones) has an index called the Dow Jones Global Titans, meant to represent 50 of the largest, best known and most influential int he world, though it is worth noting this index may already be an outdated indicator of global giants, as 34 of the 50 companies are American and none are mainland Chinese.

Below is a list of some the 50 largest companies in the world by market cap as of late November 2017, based on a rough read through the Wall Street Journal.  Note there are many Chinese companies, but perhaps more importantly, the large number of banks.

Replacing funds with direct stock positions gives more control over which factors to include in a portfolio: for example, how much exposure to banks, companies not making profits, companies trading at high earnings multiples, etc.  In an earlier post, I discussed the historic returns of different factors within the S&P 500.

TickerNameCountryWebsiteWSJ Link
US:AAPLApple Inc.United States
US:GOOGAlphabet Inc. Cl CUnited States
US:MSFTMicrosoft Corp.United States Inc.United States
HK:0700Tencent Holdings Ltd.Chinahttp://www.tencent.com
US:BABAAlibaba Group Holding Ltd. ADRChinahttp://www.alibabagroup.com
US:BRK.BBerkshire Hathaway Inc. Cl BUnited Stateshttp://www.berkshirehathaway.com
US:JNJJohnson & JohnsonUnited States
US:JPMJPMorgan Chase & Co.United Stateshttp://www.jpmorganchase.com
US:XOMExxon Mobil Corp.United Stateshttp://www.exxonmobil.com
HK:1398Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.China
US:WMTWal-Mart Stores Inc.United States
US:BACBank of America Corp.United Stateshttp://www.bankofamerica.com
US:WFCWells Fargo & Co.United Stateshttp://www.wellsfargo.com
UK:RDSARoyal Dutch Shell PLC ANetherlands
US:VVISA Inc. Cl AUnited States
US:PGProcter & Gamble Co.United States
HK:0939China Construction Bank Corp.Chinahttp://www.ccb.com
CH:NOVNNovartis AGSwitzerlandhttp://www.novartis.com
US:CVXChevron Corp.United Stateshttp://www.chevron.com
HK:0857PetroChina Co. Ltd.China
US:TAT&T Inc.United Stateshttp://www.att.com
US:PFEPfizer Inc.United States
US:INTCIntel Corp.United States
US:TSMTaiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. ADRTaiwanhttp://www.tsmc.com
HK:0941China Mobile Ltd.Hong Konghttp://www.chinamobileltd.com
JP:7203Toyota Motor Corp.Japan
US:ORCLOracle Corp.United States
US:UNHUnitedHealth Group Inc.United Stateshttp://www.unitedhealthgroup.com
HK:2318Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd.Chinahttp://www.pingan.com
CH:ROGRoche Holding AGSwitzerlandhttp://www.roche.com
US:HDHome Depot Inc.United States
US:KOCoca-Cola Co.United Stateshttp://www.coca-colacompany.com
US:BUDAnheuser-Busch InBev S.A. ADRBelgiumhttp://www.ab-inbev.com
UK:HSBAHSBC Holdings PLC (UK Reg)United Kingdom
US:CCitigroup Inc.United Stateshttp://www.citigroup.com
US:VZVerizon Communications Inc.United Stateshttp://www.verizon.com
US:CSCOCisco Systems Inc.United States
HK:1288Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.Chinahttp://www.abchina.com
HK:3988Bank of China Ltd.Chinahttp://www.boc.cn
US:PEPPepsiCo Inc.United Stateshttp://www.pepsico.com
US:DISWalt Disney Co.United Stateshttp://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com
US:PMPhilip Morris International Inc.United Stateshttp://www.pmi.com
US:GEGeneral Electric Co.United States
US:MAMastercard Inc.United Stateshttp://www.mastercard.com
US:BABoeing Co.United Stateshttp://www.boeing.com
US:MRKMerck & Co. Inc.United Stateshttp://www.merck.com
US:BTIBritish American Tobacco PLC ADRUnited Kingdomhttp://www.bat.com
US:ABBVAbbVie Inc.United States
FR:MCLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SEFrancehttp://www.lvmh.com

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