Saudi Wealth Fund Moves Billions From Blue Chips to ETFs

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund has sold shares valued at over $5.5 billion in several major multinational corporations just months after buying into them as the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic weighed on global stock-market prices.

At the same time, the roughly $300 billion Public Investment Fund chaired by the kingdom’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, invested nearly $4.7 billion in exchange-traded funds focused on the real-estate, utilities and materials sectors, a U.S. filing showed.

PIF unloaded stakes worth more than half a billion dollars each in companies like Boeing Co., Facebook Inc. and Marriott International Inc., according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It had picked up the minority stakes in big corporates in the first quarter, highlighting a strategy of piling into global stocks even as the novel coronavirus and a crash in oil prices mean that Saudi Arabia’s financial position is now the most precarious in a decade.

The filings showed that in the second quarter PIF also sold positions in U.S. banks Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., as well as European energy firms BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Total SA, while buying more shares of cruise operator Carnival Corp. and concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc.

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