The U.S. stock market is by far the largest stock market in the world, so many international companies elect to have their stock trade on a U.S. stock exchange. There are several different ways that a foreign company can have their stock trade on a U.S. stock exchange. Here is a summary, using the securities in our database:
|Method||# of Securities||Market cap|
|American Depository Receipts or ADRs||416||$6,516,035,328,639|
An American Depository Receipt or ADR is a mechanism whereby a major U.S. investment bank issues a security (an ADR) that represents ownership shares in the stock of a foreign company that have been deposited with the U.S. bank. ADRs were invented in 1927 as an easy way for a foreign company to have their stock traded in the U.S. For more information, read what is an ADR? You can also see our list of ADRs.
Instead of using the ADR process, some foreign companies elect to directly list their common stock on a U.S. stock exchange, just like a U.S. company. Why? It is not always clear. Sometimes, they just want access to the U.S. stock market, as it is by far the largest in the world. Sometimes, these companies are complex multi-national corporations that have complex histories, being incorporated in one country but with their headquarters located in another company. Sometimes it is difficult to determine where their primary business operations exist. See our list of non-US companies traded on U.S. exchanges. For these companies, their only publicly traded stock is the stock that trades on a U.S. stock exchange (i.e. the U.S. traded stock is their primary listing).
Some foreign companies choose to cross-list their shares on the U.S. stock market. Cross-listing means that a company's stock simultaneously trades on the U.S. stock market and on the stock market of the company's home stock exchange. See our list of global companies that cross-list in the U.S.. Cross-listing is particularly popular with Canadian companies: 363 Canadian companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange also cross-list their shares on the U.S. stock market, including many of the largest Canadian companies. See our list of Canadian companies that trade in the U.S..
Here is a summary of the above securities based on the country:
|Index country||Security count||Total market cap|
|United Arab Emirates||1||$1,031,223,080|
Note the large number of Chinese companies that have their stock trading on a U.S. stock exchange. China's complex political and economic model has caused many Chinese companies to have their stocks traded on stock exchanges in Hong Kong and the U.S. You can read more in about China's stock market.
As explained above, the high number of Canadian companies is because so many of the companies that trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange cross-list their shares on a U.S. stock exchange.
Here is a summary of these stocks based on the country classification:
|Country||Count||Total market cap|
Let's look at some analysis of how the global stocks compare to U.S. common stocks. First, let's look at a breakout by sector. On our website, we use the GICS sector classification system to classify stocks into sectors. Let's look at the breakout of the global stocks by GISC sector:
|U.S. Common Stocks||Global Stocks and ADRs|
|GISC Sector||# of Stocks||Market cap||%||# of Stocks||Market cap||%|
When we say "U.S. common stocks" in this article, we are talking about all common stocks, REITs and mortgage REITs of U.S. companies that trade on the U.S. stock market. So that excludes MLPs, preferred stocks, ADRs, and investment funds, and the common stocks of non-US companies that trade on the U.S. stock market.
Let's also look at the global securities based on the size categories we use on our website:
|Global stocks and ADRs||U.S. common stocks|
|Size Category||# of Stocks||Market cap||%||# of Stocks||Market cap||%|
As explained in our article size categories, there is no standard definition of what makes up a "large cap" stock. On our website, we use a cutoff of $10 billion to determine a large cap stock. This is a just a widely used rule of thumb that we have also chosen to use. Similarly, a "mid cap" stock under our definition is a stock with a market capitalization between $2 billion and $10 billion.
All data is a live query from our database. The wording was last updated: 01/21/2019.
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