When looking for viable investment opportunities, many of us might consider some of the biggest and most well-known companies in the hopes of a safe investment with reliable returns. What we might not consider is how active these companies are in investing in other businesses and industries, potentially boosting their profits and increasing the value of your stake in them.
Of course, no investment is 100% safe, and many of these companies will at one point or another exit from an unfavourable investment. Just like regular retail investing, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
However, by looking at the industries that these companies are investing most heavily in, we can learn which sectors are the most important to their future growth, as well as where their financial analysts see the most potential profit.
With this in mind, we’ve looked at 50 of the largest US companies to assess how active they are in finding new investment opportunities, and what industries they’re targeting the most.
The US companies that make the most investments
Here you can see how many investments have been made by 50 of the largest companies in the United States. You can also see which industry each company invested in the most, as well as the total number of investments in that industry.
1. Cisco - Number of Investments: 214
The company that has made the most investments is multinational technology conglomerate Cisco, with 214. Based in San Jose, California, Cisco develops and manufactures hardware, software and a multitude of other technology products, and is one of the leading tech companies in Silicon Valley. The industry that Cisco has invested in most heavily is software, having made 74 separate investments in the sector.
2. Morgan Stanley - Number of Investments: 206
Morgan Stanley is the second most prolific investor with a total of 206 investments. This investment and financial services company is one the biggest in the industry, and has also focused on investments in software, pumping its money into 38 different companies in the sector.
3. Microsoft - Number of Investments: 163
In third place is tech giant Microsoft with 163 investments. Again, the sector in which this company has invested most heavily in is software, with a total of 50 investments in the sector.
As the owner of the Xbox video gaming brand, Microsoft has also been putting a lot of effort into acquiring new third party studios, bringing them in-house to cement their dominance of the market. The most notable of these was the 2021 acquisition of Activision Blizzard in a deal worth an eye-watering $68.7 billion, dwarfing their previous biggest spend when acquiring Zenimax Media for $7.5 billion in 2020.
The industries that are invested in the most by top US companies
Looking at it from another angle, we’ve calculated the total number of investments that each industry received from the 50 companies we looked at, singling out the top 20 that received the most investments. We’ve also highlighted which company made the most investments in each industry, revealing the most active investors in every sector.
1. Software - Number of Investments: 389
Having been the most heavily invested-in industry for all of our top three biggest investing companies, it should come as no surprise that software is the sector seeing the largest number of investments. With 389 individual investments, the software sector has more than double the number of any other industry.
2. Information Technology - Number of Investments: 174
The information technology sector saw the second-largest number of investments at 174, reinforcing the view that digital technologies are the most lucrative area of investment at the moment.
3. Internet - Number of Investments: 172
The internet industry takes third place with 172 individual investments, just trailing behind information technology. As we become ever-more reliant on technology for business, communication and socialising, having reliable and fast internet connections is more important than ever.
The most commonly-asked questions about investing
If you’ve taken inspiration from the prolific investing seen by the biggest companies in the US, and want to start investing yourself, you’ll probably have a few questions. While doing plenty of research is an inescapable part of getting started, from checking broker reviews to assessing the amount of risk you’re willing to take, we thought it would be helpful to look at some of the most common questions asked by people about the world of investing.
We’ve found the most-searched investing-related queries and questions in the country and we’ll be addressing the top few one at a time. So read on for answers to some of the hottest investment questions out there.
The most searched investment questions in the United States
Here we can see which areas of investing people are most interested in learning more about. We ranked them according to the number of searches over a twelve month period, and will provide an insight into the top five.
1. Search term: “investing in stocks” - Searches: 552,600
Stocks and shares are the most common form of investing whereby you give a company money in order to acquire a stake in it. With any luck, this investment will rise in value, giving the investor a more valuable asset than what they originally invested. As a shareholder in a company, you may also receive dividends based on that company’s performance as well as the size of your stake, providing a passive income stream while retaining the shares as an asset.
There are two main ways of buying stocks, either direct from a company or via an online broker. Using an online broker is the most common method for retail investors and offers the easiest way for newcomers to start investing.
To learn more about investing in stocks, consult authoritative sources such as BrokerChooser and speak to others who are already investing to air any questions or doubts you may have,
2. Search term: “best investment apps” - Searches: 409,900
As smartphones have effectively taken over the world, and the vast majority of us carry them on our person at all times, mobile investment apps have become an incredibly popular way of investing, allowing you to keep an eye on your portfolio at all times.
There are many different apps out there, with just about every reputable broker offering their own mobile trading app, but they can vary in quality and usability depending on your investing needs.
In order to find the best trading app for you, you’ll need to consider a range of different factors. For example, some apps are much more accessible than others, providing easy-to-use tools and allowing for seamless trades. Others might offer greater insights into the investment options available, allowing you to research your choices much more thoroughly.
Of course, each broker may also have a different range of investment options for you to choose from, so it’s worth building an idea of the types of investments you wish to make before settling on a specific broker or app. You might also consider the difference between paid-for apps and the free trading apps that are available, as if you are new to investing then a free app might be a preferable route.
3. Search term: “investing in cryptocurrency” - Searches: 389,900
If you haven’t heard of cryptocurrency by now then you must be living off the grid. These digital tokens have been advertised everywhere from billboards and social media to taking a prominent place in the Super Bowl’s halftime interval.
Known for their extreme volatility, celebrity endorsements and utilization of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies have divided the financial community. For the less risk-averse, crypto offers an exciting new avenue of investment at the helm of a technological revolution. However, many traditional investors have as yet steered clear of crypto as the market is unregulated and the value of these tokens is yet to be fully realised.
As such, not all brokers offer cryptocurrency investment opportunities, so you may be limited in your choice of marketplace should you wish to start investing in crypto. As with any other investment, it’s important to thoroughly investigate the coins you’re investing in and to understand the associated risks.
4. Search term: “esg investing” - Searches: 381,000
ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance, and represents a way of investing that focuses on creating positive outcomes by investing in responsible companies that do their bit or are not purely driven by monetary gains. This ethical form of investing is increasingly popular, particularly among younger generations who want to protect the environment and create a better world for the future.
In addition to being an ethical choice, ESG investing can also be a reliable and strategic pathway, as issues that ESG companies are trying to tackle will need solving eventually, so acquiring a stake in their success could be a lucrative investment.
Many brokers offer ESG funds and ETFs or tools that help to filter for stocks with high score ESG. This allows retail investors to get involved with the ESG movement without needing to fully research every company’s credentials. The best ESG brokers offer a range of funds and options to choose from, depending on the level of risk and reward that suits you.
5. Search term: “investing reddit” - Searches: 342,200
Online forums and websites such as Reddit are excellent places for like-minded people to come together and discuss any given topic. Many people use these sites to share their thoughts or ask questions from the wider community, while others use them purely for entertainment, sharing memes and socialising.
When it comes to investing, these sites provide the opportunity for new investors to learn about different issues that other investors have faced, keep up-to-date with investing news, and become part of a community of like-minded people.
However, while these sites can be a great source of discourse, the information on them is not necessarily factually accurate, and you may have to validate anything you learn using an authoritative source.
The most searched investment questions in every state
We’ve also looked at the most frequently searched investing queries in every US state, so you can see what people are asking where you live. From the best investment apps to ESG investing, if you’ve searched for these terms then you’re certainly not alone.
We wanted to find out which of the biggest companies in the USA are the most prolific investors, as well as which industries receive the majority of these investments. To do this, we took the largest companies in the USA in March 2022 from Companies Market Cap, and used data from Crunchbase to find out how many investments each company has made, broken down by industry.
Several companies either has no data or had very few investments, so we skipped any company with fewer than 2 listed investments. We took data from the top 50 companies for which sufficient data was available and ranked them by the number of investments made.
We also calculated how many investments were made into each industry, revealing the top 20 and ranking them accordingly. This also meant we could highlight the company that made the most investments in each industry.
In addition to this, we also conducted research into the most commonly searched queries about investing in the USA using March 2022 data from Google’s Keyword Planner. We provided answers and information for the top 5 queries nationally, while also highlighting the top question in every state. The bulk of the search terms analysed were found using information from Answer The Public.