Apple tops hedge funds' sell list in second quarter

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Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, was by far the most sold stock by hedge fund managers in the second quarter of 2016, research from S&P Global Market Intelligence showed.

In all, hedge funds sold off a net $ 6.3 billion worth of information technology stocks – including holdings in Microsoft and Alphabet – over the period. A total of $ 5.3 billion of Apple stock alone was sold.

The other stocks that featured in the sell list’s top five were pharmaceutical company Allergan and entertainment group Netflix.

S&P Global Market Intelligence analysed regulatory filings of the 10 largest hedge fund managers worldwide based on their reported equity assets but focused on those that actively pick stocks and hold fewer than 100 positions.

The group comprises Viking Global Investors, Lone Pine Capital, Icahn Capital, Glenview Capital Management, ValueAct Capital Management, Third Point, Paulson & Co, Trian Fund Management, Elliott Management Corporation and Tiger Global Management.

Between them, these hedge funds manage $ 150 billion of assets, up from $ 141 billion in the previous quarter, but still down from the $ 159 billion they reported at the end of 2015.

Apple was also one of the most sold stocks in the first quarter, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, but in 2015 it had been among the most sought after.

Apple was the seventh most popular stock among hedge funds at the end of 2015, according to separate research from Goldman Sachs that analysed a wider hedge fund universe.

In a note accompanying the latest data, Pavle Sabic, head of market development at S&P Global Market Intelligence, wrote of the turnaround: “This could be due to hedge funds trying to lock in gains for their investors as Apple had a rally in the last few months.”

The only other sector that saw a notable sell-off among the 10 analysed was healthcare, while consumer discretionary, energy and financials were bought.

In addition to cable telecommunications company Charter Communications, these large hedge funds also bought US bank Morgan Stanley, sportswear manufacturer Adidas as well as pharmaceutical companies Allergan and Shire.

On August 12, it emerged that ValueAct had taken a $ 1.1 billion stake in Morgan Stanley.

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