Forbes – The 50 largest hedge funds in the world decided to sell Apple in the first quarter, replacing it with Boeing and, interestingly, Norwegian Cruise Holdings which went public in January, according to a report by FactSet. The group of hedge fund heavyweights, which includes the likes of Carl Icahn, David Einhorn, and Dan Loeb, bet on consumer discretionary, which appeared as the most overweight sector, while LyndoellBasell was the most overweight equity, compared to its weights in the S&P 500. They shunned the IT sector, and particularly Apple, which still remains the sixth largest holding by dollar-value. The hedge fund hotel: Google, held by 62% of the 50 largest hedge funds.
It was a first big quarter this year. After a rally that started in mid-November around President Obama’s reelection, stocks took off and haven’t stopped since, with the S&P 500 and the Dow continuing to break records and the Nasdaq returning to its post-dotcom-bubble levels.
And hedge funds played the market, buying Boeing en masse. Despite battery fires that forced the Chicago, Illinois company to ground the entire 787 Dreamliner fleet, the stock handily beat the S&P 500, as hedge funders poured in $1.6 billion in inflows, or about 250% of its fourth quarter value in the funds’ aggregate portfolio.
Apple appears as the airplane maker’s mirror image. The company now run by Tim Cook has seen its stock fall dramatically after peaking in mid-September, wiping out billions in value for hedge funds: only two quarters ago, Apple was the largest equity holding of nearly one-fourth of these funds, FactSet’s data shows. Now, only four funds hold it as its largest position (including Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital and D.E. Shaw), yet it remains the sixth largest position by dollar value, with hedge funds sitting on $5.2 billion worth of Apple stock.