They dont call them smart money for nothing.
Some of the most ardent supporters of Apples surging stock over the past few years dumped a huge slice of their holdings or bailed out altogether in the end of the first quarter. It could prove to be one of the best market timing decisions in years.
Shares of Apple closed at an all-time high of $636.23 on April 9. On Thursday, they closed at $530.12, their lowest price since February 28.
This rapid reversal has vindicated the sell decision made by a number of top hedge fund managers for now at least.
They include a number of prominent Tiger Cubs, who did some serious selling in the first quarter. They include Andreas Halvorsens Viking Capital, which sold 1.12 million shares, or more than 86 percent of its holdings; Stephen Mandel Jr.s Lone Pine Capital, which sold more than 891,000 shares, or more than 41 percent of its stake; Lee Ainslies Maverick Capital, which sold more than 865,000 shares, or nearly two thirds of its holdings; and Chase Colemans Tiger Global, which sold 395,000 shares, or about one-quarter of its stake.
Other big sellers in the first quarter included Steve Cohens SAC Capital Advisors, which unloaded over one million shares representing more than 94 percent of its holdings; Jim Simons Renaissance Technologies, which sold more than 543,000 shares; Ken Griffins Citadel, which sold more than 518,000 shares, and David Shaws D.E. Shaw, which sold more than 407,000 shares.
Also, several high-profile funds that held smaller stakes sold out their entire position in the first quarter, including Paul Tudor Jones IIs Tudor Investment and Stanley Druckenmillers Duquesne Family Office.
Interestingly, several well-known hedge funds actually took initial stakes in the first quarter.
They include Dan Loebs Third Point, which bought 362,000 shares; Joe DiMennas Zweig-DiMenna Associates (more than 313,000 shares), and Tom Steyers Farallon Capital Management (more than 192,000 shares).
Did they arrive at one of Wall Streets greatest parties just when those with the biggest hangover were stumbling out the door? Well soon find out.