Top hedge funds made timely 4th quarter Apple buys

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Author: Aaron Pressman, Reuters

Leading hedge fund managers including David Tepper, Andreas Halvorsen and David Einhorn smartly added to their holdings of Apple (AAPL.O) in the fourth quarter after the death of Steve Jobs.

The stakes have likely provided a quick pay-off. Shares of Apple are up 26 percent this year, equalling their 26 percent rise for all of 2011. The Cupertino, California-based maker of the iPhone, iPad and Macintosh computers posted spectacular quarterly results on January 24, and in the weeks that followed its shares surged to over $500.

Tepper's Appaloosa Management more than quadrupled its stake to 181,850 Apple shares in the fourth quarter, according to a disclosure statement filed on Tuesday. Halvorsen's Viking Global Investors bought 161,700 shares to end the quarter with 1.3 million shares, according to its disclosure. And Einhorn's Greenlight Capital bought 150,000 shares to end the quarter with 1.5 million.

Brookside Capital Management, the hedge fund unit of Bain Capital in Boston, also upped its stake to 532,448 shares, an increase of almost 132,000 shares.

Not all of the top hedge fund managers made as timely a call on Apple. Philippe Laffont and Chase Coleman, who both used to work for famed manager Julian Robertson, trimmed their Apple stakes in the fourth quarter.

Laffont's Coatue Management sold 54,333 shares though the fund still owned 1.3 million. And Coleman's Tiger Global Management sold 74,700 shares and still owned 1.6 million shares.

Some mutual fund managers also sold Apple shares in the fourth quarter. Fidelity Investments in Boston sold 838,519 shares. It still owned a massive 51 million Apple shares worth $26 billion at Tuesday's close of $509.46, an all-time high.

Mutual fund manager Ken Heebner's Capital Growth Management appeared to sell all of the 406,000 shares of Apple it listed in its disclosure at the end of the third quarter. Managers are sometimes permitted to file holdings confidentially.

All of the holdings were reported as of December 31, 2011 in quarterly 13F filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Short positions are not disclosed and managers may have since changed their positions.