Top 10 Most Popular Foreign Stocks

Check out these ADRs to diversify your portfolio

International banker holds a mix of different countries' currencies

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

International investors have access to virtually limitless opportunities around the world, from Australia to Zambia. Buying and selling these foreign securities is easy to do through the use of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and American Depository Receipts (ADRs). These investment products cover the vast majority of popular companies and countries around the world.

Take a look at the top 10 most popular foreign ADRs, as well as some important considerations for investors before purchasing them.

Key Takeaways

  • American Depository Receipts are bundles of foreign stocks that are traded on the U.S. market.
  • Many of the American Depository Receipts available include stocks from well-known and successful foreign companies.
  • The additional risks of ADRs include political risk, exchange rate risk, and inflationary risk.

What Are ADRs?

American Depository Receipts are essentially American versions of foreign stocks. It's a popular way for American investors to invest in foreign companies. ADRs are created when U.S. banks purchase a bulk lot of shares from a company, bundle them into groups, and reissue them on a U.S. stock exchange. The bank then manages the ratio of U.S. ADRs to foreign shares to ensure that the ADRs are accurately priced on U.S. exchanges.

While these ADRs are easy to use, there are several risks that investors should consider. First, investors should consider any political risk in the foreign stock's home country. Second, there could be an exchange rate risk if the foreign currency fluctuates significantly, relative to the U.S. dollar. Third, consider any inflationary (or deflationary) risks that face the foreign stock's home country.

If you want to diversify your portfolio with foreign stocks, but you're nervous about assessing risks in foreign countries, you could consider using a global ETF that diversifies holdings across many countries.

The 10 Most Popular Foreign ADRs

Below, you'll find the 10 most popular foreign companies trading on U.S. exchanges, as measured by trading value. This data comes from J.P. Morgan's ADR site, and the data was retrieved on Sept. 15, 2020.

These companies represent some of the largest operations in foreign countries with substantial trading volume. Including some in your investment portfolio may be a great way to diversify with securities spanning geographies and industries.

Remember to do your own research before buying any of these stocks. Consider how they could fit into your overall investment goals.

Alibaba Group (BABA)

Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. is a China-based company that's engaged in online and mobile commerce through products, services, and technology offerings in the People's Republic of China and around the world. J.P. Morgan lists its trading value as $2.16 billion. The ADR is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Nio (NIO)

Nio is a Chinese car manufacturer that specializes in developing new electric vehicles. It's a relatively new company that was founded in 2014 and first went public in 2018. Its trading value is $1.26 billion, and it trades in America on the NYSE.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM)

As the name suggests, this company is a semiconductor manufacturer based in Taiwan. It traces its history back to 1987, and it currently manufactures thousands of products for hundreds of customers. Its trading value is $570.95 million and, like the other two stocks so far, it also trades on the NYSE.

JD.Com (JD)

Like Alibaba, JD.Com is a China-based e-commerce company. It's also known as Jingdong, and it used to be called 360buy. It specializes in online direct sales of electronics, home appliance products, and general merchandise. It competes directly with companies like Alibaba. However, unlike Alibaba, Jingdong trades on Nasdaq, not the NYSE. Its trading value is $563.90 million.

Pinduoduo (PDD)

Yet another Chinese e-commerce company rounds out the top five most popular ADRs. Its trading value is $473.41 million.

Vale SA (VALE)

The first appearance from the western hemisphere in this list, Vale SA is a Brazil-based global producer of iron ore, iron ore pellets, and nickel. Its products are integral for steel making. While it specializes in iron ore, it also produces coal, fertilizers, and various other products that can be used in the production of goods. Its trading value is $379.17 million.

AstraZeneca (AZN)

This NYSE-traded ADR allows Americans to invest in the British-Swedish biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Its operations include the development of vaccines. Its trading value is $267.79 million. The company has headquarters in Britain, Sweden, Maryland, and Toronto.

Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI)

Gold Fields Limited is a South African company that specializes in mining gold and holding gold reserves. It's also engaged in the exploration, development, extraction, processing, and smelting of gold. It trades on the NYSE and its trading value is $242.02 million.

BioNTech SE (BNTX)

BioNTech SE is a German biotechnology company. It specializes in developing and manufacturing immunotherapy treatments for serious diseases. Its trading value is $228.90 million. It trades on the Nasdaq.


This Dutch semiconductor manufacturer rounds out the list of the top 10 most popular ADRs. The company claims to have a physical presence in 60 companies, giving it a wide range of potential customers. It trades on the Nasdaq and has a trading value of $212.13 million.