The size of the U.S. stock market provides the additional advantage to investors that foreign companies also want to list shares on the U.S. exchanges. Foreign company stocks list as American Depository Receipts, or ADRs. An ADR share functions just like the shares of a domestic company. Despite India's large size and economy, only a handful of Indian companies list as ADRs in the U.S.
India's Stock Market
The Bombay Stock Exchange is the major trading venue for Indian companies and their stocks. At the end of 2012, more than 5,000 companies were listed on the BSE, with a total market capitalization of $1.26 trillion. For comparison, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq combined list a similar number of companies -- a bit more than 5,000 -- with a total market valuation of $18.6 trillion.
Finding ADR Stocks
You can find Indian companies with shares trading as ADRs in the U.S. using one of the online ADR databases maintained by Bank of New York Mellon or J.P. Morgan. The databases allow you to generate a list based on country and where the ADR shares are listed. In early 2013, a listing of Indian ADRs included 17 companies trading on the NYSE, Nasdaq or over the counter. All of the companies have been listed in the U.S. for years, with initial ADR listing dates ranging from 1999 to 2007.
Major Indian ADRs
Of the Indian ADR stocks, about half a dozen are major companies with market values in excess of $5 billion. These companies cover four industries. Tata Motors and Sterlite Industries are industrial companies. Infosys and Sify Technologies occupy the technology sector. HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank are India's two largest financial firms. From the pharmaceuticals sector is Dr. Reddy's Laboratories. For a U.S. investor, these companies provide investment exposure to the Indian economy.
An alternative to buying ADR shares of Indian companies is to invest in a closed-end fund or exchange-traded fund focused on the world's second most populous country. Funds are not limited to those companies with shares trading in the U.S. These funds purchase shares on the home country stock exchanges and own a broad spectrum of companies doing business in India.
Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, Marketwatch.com and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.