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US hedge funds sour on Apple, favouring dollar stores instead

Reuters – Hedge fund heavyweights from Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors to Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners threw in the towel on Apple in the fourth quarter, while other managers found discount retailers Dollar General and Dollar Tree attractive, regulatory filings have showed.

Apple has been the topic du jour since last week, when prominent hedge fund manager David Einhorn sued the company to get it to deploy its $137bn cash pile more effectively and halt a 35% drop in its share price from a record high in September.

Cooperman, whose hedge fund had $7bn in assets as of last November, sold his entire stake of 266,404 Apple shares; Rosenstein sold all of the 143,000 shares he held.

However, Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital, holder of roughly 1.3mn Apple shares, found some company: David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management increased its Apple stake to 912,661 shares and billionaire George Soros added about 100,000 Apple shares during the fourth quarter.

Herbalife, which has been under scrutiny after hedge fund manager Bill Ackman called the nutritional supplements company an unsustainable pyramid scheme, drew the attention of the market late Thursday.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he now owns 14mn shares in the company, taking his ownership to nearly 13% of Herbalife. The news sent shares up 17% in after-hours trading.

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