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Norway wealth fund boosted by U.S. investment in third quarter

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Norway wealth fund boosted by U.S. investment in third quarter
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Norwegian central bank in Oslo, Norway March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Gwladys Fouche/File Photo   -   Copyright  Gwladys Fouche(Reuters)
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OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s $1.1 trillion (£854.5 billion) sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, made a 1.6% return on investment in the third quarter, earning 236 billion Norwegian crowns (£19.85 billion), it said on Wednesday.

“Equity and fixed income investments had another quarter with positive returns,” CEO Yngve Slyngstad said in a statement.

“We saw a particularly positive contribution from U.S. treasuries and North American stocks, which returned 4.6% and 2.9% respectively,” he said.

The return for the quarter was in line with the fund’s benchmark index, it said.

With a population of less than 5.4 million, the Norwegian fund’s quarterly return works out to almost $4,800 per citizen.

It invests Norway’s oil and gas revenue in foreign stocks, bonds and real estate and last week its value hit an all-time high value of 10 trillion Norwegian crowns.

It does not plan to invest in Saudi Aramco when the Saudi oil company carries out its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO), Slyngstad said on Wednesday.

“Saudi Arabia is not part of our reference index,” he told a news conference.

The fund’s largest fixed-income holdings are in U.S. government bonds.

It owns stakes in more than 9,000 companies globally, with its biggest holdings in tech giants Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> and Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, followed by Switzerland’s Nestle SA <NESN.S>, Google parent firm Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O> and Amazon Inc <AMZN.O>.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik and Jason Neely)

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