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Big Name Hedge Fund Managers Dumped Apple Last Quarter

The last quarter saw a number of high-profile hedge fund managers dump their Apple holdings. A few others took initial stakes. Time will tell who was right.

They don’t call them smart money for nothing.

Some of the most ardent supporters of Apple’s 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 Halvorsen’s 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 Ainslie’s Maverick Capital, which sold more than 865,000 shares, or nearly two thirds of its holdings; and Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global, which sold 395,000 shares, or about one-quarter of its stake.

Other big sellers in the first quarter included Steve Cohen’s 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 Griffin’s Citadel, which sold more than 518,000 shares, and David Shaw’s 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 II’s Tudor Investment and Stanley Druckenmiller’s Duquesne Family Office.

Interestingly, several well-known hedge funds actually took initial stakes in the first quarter.

They include Dan Loeb’s Third Point, which bought 362,000 shares; Joe DiMenna’s Zweig-DiMenna Associates (more than 313,000 shares), and Tom Steyer’s Farallon Capital Management (more than 192,000 shares).

Did they arrive at one of Wall Street’s greatest parties just when those with the biggest hangover were stumbling out the door? We’ll soon find out.

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