Picture: REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE
Picture: REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE

Oslo — Norway’s $1.1-trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, made record returns on investment in the first quarter amid a surge in tech stocks.

Separately, the fund is assessing whether to make an investment in ride-hailing company Uber Technologies, which is planning an initial public offering (IPO), its CEO says.

The fund earned 738-billion Norwegian krone ($84.15bn) from January to March, the highest amount it has ever recorded. When measured in terms of the fund’s international currency basket, the return for the quarter stood at 9.1%, beating its benchmark.

“The first quarter was an exceptionally good quarter,” fund CEO Yngve Slyngstad told reporters.

Apple made the most positive contribution to the return in the first quarter, the fund said in its quarterly report, followed by Microsoft and Amazon.

The investments that made the most negative contributions were pharmaceutical firm AbbVie, bank Swedbank and US consumer services firm CVS Health.

Tech unicorns

Overall, out of the 10 largest equity holdings in the fund, five are US tech companies. The top three equity holdings are Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet.

The fund participated in the IPOs of tech firms Lyft and Weimob in the first quarter, and in the present quarter it is examining the listings of two large companies, including that of Uber, Slyngstad said.

The fund has previously said it wishes more companies, and particularly tech companies, sought public listings, enabling the fund to invest in these fast-growing companies. Slyngstad welcomed the recent wave of public listings by tech firms, but reiterated that they could be seeking listings at an earlier stage so the fund can capture the fruits of their growth.

“The development of these large unicorns coming to the exchanges is something we view positively,” Slyngstad said in an interview on the sidelines of a news conference.

“We are, of course, pleased that more companies have decided to go to the stock exchanges. We appreciate the transparency and the liquidity of the public markets. From our point of view, an earlier listing is better than a later listing.”

Reuters