Belgium is a medium-sized economy within the European Union. For those interested in investing there, we analyze the 3 most important stock market indices in Belgium.
Located between France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Belgium is a country of almost 12 million people. We are talking about a relatively small but prosperous economy. It is also where the capital of the European Union is located.
Because Brussels is the capital of the EU, Belgium benefits from the economic activity associated with this institution. And this sector of the economy can be considered recession-proof. Therefore, Belgium is less exposed to the normal business cycle.
When it comes to its corporate sector, very few Belgian companies are known abroad. In fact, the only internationally recognized company is Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch has become one of the most powerful corporations in the brewery business, owning many of the world’s most famous beer brands.
Due to the low notoriety of their companies, an ETF might be the best vehicle to invest in Belgium for those who are optimistic about the long-term potential of its economy.
The most important stock exchange in Belgium is located in Brussels and part of the Euronext group, along with other important stock exchanges in Europe such as Paris or Amsterdam.
In the following sections, we analyze the 3 most relevant stock market indices in Belgium:
The BEL 20 is Belgium’s main stock market index. Introduced in 1990, it is owned by Euronext, the company operating the Brussels Stock Exchange.
The BEL 20 is made up of 20 of the largest listed companies in the country. It should be noted that, according to the official methodology of the index, sometimes there could be fewer than 20 stocks.
Within the index, companies are weighted according to their market capitalization adjusted for free float, although none of them can represent more than 12% of the index at the time of rebalancing. Such rebalancings take place once a year.
The stocks with the largest weights within the BEL 20 are Anheuser-Busch, KBC Bank, the pharmaceutical UCB and the natural resources company Umicore.
For those interested in learning more about the BEL 20, here is the link to the official Euronext website.
The BEL Mid is the second-tier index of the Brussels Stock Exchange, also calculated by Euronext.
The number of stocks within this index fluctuates over time, as it depends on how many companies meet the eligibility criteria.
To be part of the BEL Mid, a listed company must have a market capitalization in euros that is at least 55,000 times the point value of the BEL 20.
This means that, if the BEL 20 is trading at 4,000 points, a company must have a market capitalization of at least €220 million. At the same time, if a company is big enough to be part of the BEL 20, it will not be included in the BEL Mid.
Consequently, the BEL Mid is composed of mid-cap companies traded on the Brussels stock exchange. But remember that what is considered mid-cap in Belgium could be considered small-cap somewhere else.
You will find more information on the Euronext website.
Finally, the MSCI Belgium, a stock market index calculated by the US company MSCI, represents another alternative for those interested in investing in Belgium passively.
The MSCI Belgium is composed of all Belgian stocks that can be found in the global index of developed markets known as MSCI World Index. This means that the number of companies within the MSCI Belgium fluctuates over time.
Depending on when we invest, we will find about 10-15 companies in it. Therefore, it is a more concentrated index than the BEL 20.
The stocks with the largest weights in the MSCI Belgium are Anheuser-Busch and KBC Bank.
If you are interested in additional details, here is the link to the MSCI website.
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And for those who want to learn about the stock market indices in another interesting country, check out this link:
Top 4 Stock Market Indices for the Netherlands