Widely Held Stocks in 401(k)s

Judy Gee and Sharon Epperson

Widely Held Stocks in 401(k)s

Photo: Tom Grill | Photographer's Choice RF | Getty Images

Do you know what's in your 401(k)?

Probably not.

The more than 33,000 active participants in Abbott Laboratories Stock Retirement Plan, for example, may be surprised to learn that American Funds Growth Fund of America is one of the top funds in the company's 401(k) plan — and that fund's top holding is the world's most valuable company ever. You may be just as fortunate to own this unbelievably profitable stock. (We'll reveal its identity later.)

It's pretty easy to find out the top mutual funds in your 401(k), but it takes a little more digging to find out the most widely held stocks in those funds. Who has the time to do that much homework? Well, we did it for you.

We asked BrightScope,a website that rates plans of more than 45,000 employers using hundreds of data points obtained from publicly available data, to tell us which mutual funds dominate the 401(k) landscape.

According to the company, these are among the top five equity mutual funds in most 401(k) plans: American Funds Growth Fund of America, EuroPacific Growth Fund, Davis NY Venture Fund, Fidelity Contrafund and Vanguard 500 Index Fund.

Next, we asked researchers at Morningstarto compile a list of the most widely held stocks in these funds, based on the total weight of available investments. You may be surprised to learn what we found.

Here is the list of the companies you may own.

By Sharon Epperson and Judy Gee

Published Sept. 10, 2012

10. ExxonMobil

Photo: Karen Bleier | AFP | Getty Images

Ticker: XOM

ExxonMobil may have been dethroned by Appleas the U.S. company with the largest market cap, but it's still an attractive stock for investors. The stock ranks 10th in our list.


Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: CMCSA

Comcast (parent company of CNBC) is at the top of the S&P 500 Media Industry Group Index this year and is a top holding in many retirement portfolios.

Despite dire predictions for cable, fund managers are turning to Comcast because its U.S.-driven business protects it from international economc ripples, experts say.

8. Berkshire Hathaway

Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: BRK.A

Berkshire Hathaway has become synonymous with the man at its helm:Warren Buffett. With his tried-and-true investment methods and a track record of success, a bet on Berkshire's stock can be synonymous with a bet on Buffett himself.

Of the top funds in retirement plans, Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares constitute about one half of 1 percent.

7. Oracle

Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: ORCL

Oracle has been one of the top-performing, large-cap technology names in recent years. Shares of the software maker have risen nearly 60 percent over the last five years. In the past few months alone, the stock has soared nearly 20 percent.

Ranking as the seventh most widely held stock, the company's performance of late is good news for the portfolios that hold this name.


Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: MSFT

Microsoft has been very popular among those looking for value, experts say. With shares up over 20 percent year-to-date, it's certainly paid off for value investors. The company is also favored for its regular stream of dividend payments, a strong draw among investors and fund managers alike.


Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: KO

Coca-Cola is consistently rated as one of the most valuable and recognized brands in history. Owners of the stock not only get to enjoy Coca-Cola's numerous products, but also its consistent profits.

The stock, experts say, has not only given investors attractive returns, but it has also preserved purchasing power ahead of inflation.


Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: AMZN

Amazon says it has already captured 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S., thanks in part to the popularity of its Kindle Fire.

With major speculation on potential new offerings, investors are looking forward to Amazon's potential product line, and potential for profits.


Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: WFC

Wells Fargo is benefiting from a revival in the mortgage market. But it's also benefiting from basic banking services.

The home lender has rallied 26 percent in this year alone. Not to mention it's also one of the largest stakes in Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio.


Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: GOOG

Search engine Google ranks high in terms of usage, with a 65 percent market share. It's clear that lots of users love Google, but so do investors. Google ranks as the second most-owned holding in 401(k) plans.


Photo: Getty Images

Ticker: AAPL

Chances are, you not only own an Apple iPhone, iPad or iMac, but you also own Apple shares. With its stock hitting a high of $680.87 per share, Apple's market value is over $630 billion. It's no surprise that the top equity funds in 401(k) plans allocate 2 percent of their holdings into a single name — a name that happens to have recently become the most valuable public company in history.