The contents of an investment portfolio held by an individual or entity such as a mutual fund or pension fund. Portfolio holdings may encompass a wide range of investment products, from stocks, bonds and mutual funds to options, futures and exchange-traded funds, and relatively esoteric instruments such as private equity and hedge funds.
The number of holdings contribute to the degree of its diversification within the portfolio. A mix of stocks across different sectors, bonds of different maturities, and other investments would suggest a well-diversified portfolio, while concentrated holdings in a handful of stocks within a single sector indicates a portfolio with very limited diversification.
The proportion of holdings within a portfolio has a significant impact on its overall return, with the performance of the largest holdings having a bigger influence on portfolio return than small or marginal holdings.
Investors routinely scour the list of holdings of top money managers in order to "piggy back" on their trades. These investors usually seek to replicate the trading activity of the best money managers, by buying stocks where the manager has initiated a long position or added significantly to an existing position, and selling positions where the manager has exited a stake. This strategy may not always be successful for the average investor, given the considerable lag between the period when the money manager or fund effected the trades and the time when the fund's holdings are disseminated to the general public.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.
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