TOKYO -- Companies with business in the "internet of things" and resources logged some of the strongest growth in market capitalization among global equities in 2016, even as just five Japanese stocks made the top 100.
Nvidia took second place in a QUICK FactSet ranking that compared market caps at the end of 2015 and Dec. 27, with the U.S. graphics processor maker soaring 260% to $63.2 billion. This poster child for the internet of things develops technology that takes advantage of deep learning to help cars drive themselves. Such automakers as Ford Motor and Germany's Audi are using Nvidia technology.
In the age of the internet of things, semiconductor companies are expected to enjoy greater demand. U.S.-based Broadcom and Micron Technology ranked 18th and 19th, respectively.
The internet of things covers a broad range of industries and "is a theme that will continue attracting buying in 2017," said Eiji Kinouchi of Daiwa Securities.
American mobile carrier Sprint, a unit of Japan's SoftBank Group, ranked seventh, owing to speculation of regulatory easing under the Trump administration.
Also dotting the top gainers were resource companies seen benefiting from the OPEC agreement to cut petroleum output. Swiss mining concern Glencore ranked fourth, with Brazilian counterpart Vale right behind in fifth place. Glencore, the world's biggest commodity trader, saw its share price tumble in the autumn of 2015 amid concerns over debt exposure. Its market cap roared back by more than 150% in 2016, recovering to pre-crash levels.
Three of the top 10 spots went to banks in resource-rich Brazil and Russia. Both the real and the ruble appreciated nearly 20% against the greenback, lifting dollar-denominated market caps of the lenders.
The top gainer was Charter Communications, whose market cap jumped a factor of 3.8. The American cable television company completed its acquisition of domestic rival Time Warner Cable.
Among Japanese companies, Nintendo led the pack at No. 48 on the strength of its association with the hit smartphone game "Pokemon Go." Shin-Etsu Chemical ranked 58th, thanks to strong plastics operations in North America. And construction machinery builder Komatsu came in 71st as earnings picked up.