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Saudi Aramco Stock Fast-Tracked By FTSE, Will Soon Appear In Some Big-Name ETFs

Saudi Arabian oil giant Saudi Aramco made its debut as a public company Wednesday on that country's Tadawul exchange in what was the world's largest initial public offering, one that also created the world's largest company by market value.

With a market capitalization of around $1.88 billion, the state-controlled oil company is worth more than either Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) or Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), the two largest American companies.

That means index providers may move swiftly to add Aramco to their benchmarks, meaning the stock could soon appear in some well-known exchange traded funds.

Why It's Important

FTSE Russell is doing just that. on Wednesday, that index provider said newly public Aramaco will join the FTSE All-World Index, FTSE Global Large Cap Index and the FTSE Emerging Markets Index on Dec. 23.

Membership in the FTSE All-World Index could get Aramco into the $12.1 billion Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (NYSE: VT), which tracks a similar FTSE index.

Inclusion in the FTSE Emerging Markets Index is even more meaningful Saudi Aramco because that's the underlying benchmark for the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (NYSE: VWO), the largest ETF dedicated to developing economies, and the Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF (NYSE: SCHE).

Combined, SCHE and VWO have nearly $70 billion in assets under management.

What's Next

“The investability weight of 0.47325% reflects the application of a tranching factor of 0.75 in accordance with Question 13 of the Reclassification of Saudi Arabia to Secondary Emerging Market Status,” FTSE Russell said in a statement. “FTSE Russell notes that Saudi Aramco was subject to the 10% daily pricing limit on its first day of trading. If the pricing of Saudi Aramco is subject to the 10% daily price limit at 12pm local time on Wednesday 18 December 2019, FTSE Russell will postpone the fast entry inclusion of Saudi Aramco until after Monday 06 January 2020.”

FTSE rival MSCI hasn't yet commented on its plans for Aramco plans, but that company is the index provider for the iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF (NYSE: KSA) and moved swiftly and effectively to add Saudi stocks to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index earlier this year.

Disclosure: The author owns shares of VWO.

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Photo credit: Suresh Babunair, Wikimedia


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