Your mutual fund may have Greek stocks, but just a few

By Stan Choe
AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Yes, your mutual fund may own some Greek stocks. No, most likely not a lot.

Athens burst back into the spotlight Monday after its main stock index plunged 16 percent. The spasm of selling came after investors got their first chance to unload shares since the Greek stock market shut down five weeks ago.

But U.S. investors have relatively little to fear from the crash, even though there's a good chance they're in a mutual fund that has some Greek stocks. That's because funds typically keep only an iota of their portfolios there.

Consider funds that specialize in emerging markets, the type where it's most likely to see a Greek company. The average such fund with Greek stocks in its portfolio has just 0.5 percent of its holdings in them, according to the latest data from Morningstar.

Across all categories, the average amount is 0.3 percent, not including funds that are entirely clear of Greek stocks. That's why investors are more worried about the effects that Greece's debt problems will have on the rest of Europe than about Greece itself.

- Which types of funds typically have Greek stocks?

International stock funds, unsurprisingly. Roughly 19 percent of them have at least one stock from the debt-wracked country. Nearly 40 percent of emerging-market stock funds have Greek investments.

- How about outside foreign stock funds?

Even funds that don't sound like they dabble in foreign markets can have Greek holdings. Consider those specializing in master limited partnerships, which are popular with income investors and usually invest in U.S. pipeline operators. Five of the category's 29 funds have some Greek stocks, mostly shipping companies.

Nearly 200 funds that Morningstar classifies as U.S. stock funds have some Greek holdings. But, again, the percentages are small: an average of just 0.4 percent.

- What are the biggest Greek stocks?

The largest companies in Athens' main index include bottling company Coca-Cola HBC, Hellenic Telecom and the Greek Organization of Football Prognostics, a sports betting and lottery company.

Published: Wed, Aug 05, 2015