Large Caps

Companies with a market cap of over $10 billion.

Large-cap stocks are companies with a market cap of over $10 billion. Large-cap is a shortened version of large-cap market capitalization. There is a formula for calculating market capitalization, and stocks are placed into three main market capitalization classes.

Big-cap stocks are stocks with a market capitalization of over $10 billion. These stocks represent an extremely large portion of the overall stock market. Generally speaking, big-cap stocks represent about 98.5% of the total U.S. equities market. 

Indexes that are aimed to represent the general direction of the market are filled with big-cap stocks. For example, the Standard and Poor's 500 indexes (S&P 500) are used to judge the overall condition of the stock market, and it is filled with some of the U.S.'s largest companies.

The S&P 500 is publicly known as one of the single best gauges of big-cap equities. This index tracks the performance of the largest 500 companies on U.S. exchanges. In 2020, approximately $5.4 trillion was invested in companies in the S&P 500 index. 

These stocks are companies that people use every single day, whether they may realize it or not. These companies include Progressive Corporation, Target, Citigroup Inc, Netflix, and Amazon. These companies are all around us; we just have to look. 

Large-caps can be thought of as safer investments for the long term. The company's market capitalization results tell us what it is currently worth and may give us an idea of what it may be like in the future. 

Big-cap stocks may be worth investing in if they have dividends as well. In addition, these stocks are more likely less volatile than other stocks with lower market capitalization. 

Finally, these stocks also have more analysts watching them, which helps the general public investors value stocks.

What is the formula for Market capitalization?

Market cap tells the value of a publicly traded company. The market capitalization can be calculated by multiplying the stock's current trading price by the number of outstanding shares

For example, if Apple Inc. (AAPL) is trading at $163.00 and they have two billion shares outstanding at a $163 billion market cap.

When calculating the formula, you include all stock, including the preferred stock, common stock, and restricted stock. Investors will use this information to value the company, then compare its size to other relative companies.

Calculating the market cap can tell us what the stock's valuation is. This helps investors know which companies they may want to invest in. Generally speaking, investors may want to invest in big-cap companies because of the safety they present themselves with. 

Market Capitalization = Price per share * Number of outstanding shares

Using this formula allows public investors to determine a company's value based on its equity. Although, it does not tell investors how much the company could be sold for. 

Most large-cap companies are those that are seen in an everyday family or house. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Church & Dwight, and Amazon.

What three classes are in market capitalization, and what do they mean for investors?

There are three main classes in market capitalization. These classes are 

  • large-cap, 
  • mid-cap, and 
  • small-cap stocks. 

These classes help make it easier for investors to decide what investments they want to make, and it also helps them diversify their portfolios. 


  • Companies with a market cap of $10 billion or more.
  • Companies have likely been around for a long time or are playing a large role in well-established industries. 
  • These companies may not produce a large profit in a short period, but in the long run, they have been proven to give good returns to their investors. 


  • Mid-cap stocks have a market cap of between $2 and $10 billion.
  • These companies may also be considered growth stocks, as they are normally known companies in an industry prone to rapid growth.
  • Because they may have high growth potential,l they might seem attractive to investors. However, they are riskier than large-cap companies because they are not as established. 


  • Small-cap stocks have a market cap between $300 million and $2 billion.
  • These stocks are more likely to be younger companies that are not established yet.
  • They may be in a specific industry or an industry that is just lifting off of the ground. 
  • These companies produce more risk because they may not have been around for very long. These stocks are also likely to be less liquid than other large or mid-cap companies.
  • Because these companies are younger, they may be more likely to be affected by large economic activity, making them more volatile.

Why would an investor want to invest in large-caps?

Investors may want to invest in large-cap stocks because of their long-term benefits. Big market cap companies have been in business for years in well-established industries. This makes them safer due to their age and the reputation they have.

These companies have a proven track record that shows they are profitable and provide products and services that the industries need.

You also may hear these stocks referred to as blue-chip stocks; this is another name for large companies with good reputations. Some of these stocks include AAPL, CAT, and UPS. These companies are great for long-term investing.

Companies with such market caps are likely to have dividend payouts to their investors; this allows one to invest more in the company or take those dividends elsewhere. 

Even moreso, investors may see the total valuations of big companies and want to invest in them when they are down multiple ten percent on the year. This can happen at such a time when the economy is in a recession

Big-cap stocks are also more liquid than others which means that their options contracts will move more in price, and the options buyers and sellers are more likely to have their positions filled at a desirable price. The same goes for shares as well.

We can say that a few of the reasons why an investor would invest in big-caps are:

  • Long-term benefits
  • Stability
  • Safer as compared to other new companies
  • Proven track of profit
  • Provide the products and services needed by the industry
  • Its stocks are more liquid than others.

Why does market capitalization matter?

Market capitalization judges businesses 'financials and the outlook of their business. This helps value the company and how it may perform from a long-term point of view. 

Large companies with a good reputation in a well-established industry are more likely to be diversified compared to mid-size and smaller companies. This allows the company to perform more stably. In addition, this means that big-cap companies are less likely to be volatile.

Blue chip stocks are also less likely to have big moves on economic moves that can obliterate mid and small-size stocks.

This matters for investors and traders. If traders are looking for a good trade with a stable movement that is unlikely to reverse in a single day, they will likely trade blue chip stocks that normally stay true to their trends. 

Investors also like to invest in blue chips because they have well-established business plans. As an investor, you want to look for companies that are well-diversified and able to withstand market conditions. 

For example, in December of 2021, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced that they would raise interest rates in 2022. As a result, mid-size and small-cap stocks took a hard hit immediately. Although most stocks fell due to the news, they were the first to fall.

Lastly, large-caps matter because they help investors judge the overall condition of the market. For example, an investor would not look at a mid-size or small-cap stock to find the overall condition of the market. 

Although, they would look at large companies that provide essential products and services to people. This shows how people are spending their money and overall economic conditions.


If we wrap all this information up, we can say that all stocks valued at over $10 billion are considered large-cap stocks. This information comes from calculating the market capitalization formula: 

Market Capitalization = Current stock price * Number of outstanding shares.

Remember that there are three classes in market capitalization; large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap. Blue chips or large-cap stocks are the biggest and have good reputations. These stocks have been around for a long time in well-established industries.

Understanding a company's market cap can be very important and useful when investing or trading its stock. For example, understanding that blue chip stocks are less volatile, more liquid, and give good returns in the long term. 

Mid-size and small-cap stocks are more likely to be volatile and less liquid. In addition, these stocks inherit more risk because they are younger companies and may not be in a well-established niche or industry. However, these companies might have higher growth potential. 

Large-cap, blue-chip, or big-cap companies are safer investments because of their stable and diversified business structures that allow them to compete in any economic conditions they may withstand.

Investors want to get the best return on their money with the lowest risk possible, so they will be more willing to invest in blue chip stocks as they are safer and less risky because of their reputation. 

These companies also show a good representation of where the markets and economy are when combined. This is important for investors because they need to see the overall market to get the best return on their money. 

An investor can invest in each company individually or in an index that holds these blue-chip companies. Many indexes include the Standards and Poor's 500, Russell 2000, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average

Ultimately, Investment decisions will depend on Investment policy statements and the available investor universe. 

Excel Modeling Course

Everything You Need To Master Excel Modeling

To Help You Thrive in the Most Prestigious Jobs on Wall Street.

Learn More

Researched and authored by Adam Bridges 

Reviewed & Edited by Ankit Sinha | LinkedIn

Free Resources

To continue learning and advancing your career, check out these additional helpful WSO resources: