As the latest round of 13F filings has witnessed an increase in bullish sentiments among hedge funds. This especially affected the most popular companies, with the top three stocks seeing more hedge funds adding them to their equity portfolios. As it was in the previous quarters, the largest share of over 700 hedge funds that we track at Insider Monkey have been betting heavily on the Tech and Financial sectors. In this article, we will look deeper into hedge funds’ positions in top 10 most popular stocks, according to our calculations. Some of the highlights of our list are Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA).
On the first place is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which has held the leading spot in the previous round of filings. In this way, Apple managed to recover after it lost some ground during the first quarter, which saw the stock fall to the eighth spot from the third position held at the end of 2013. This was probably caused by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) splitting its stock earlier this year, which made it more accessible for investors. Therefore, at the end of the third quarter, Apple could be found in the equity portfolios of 153 funds that we follow, up from 152 funds at the end of June. However, due to the stock gaining ground over the last several months, investors have been picking their profits and the aggregate value of positions declined by aproximately $2.71 billion to $22.51 billion.
One of the largest shareholders of Apple at the end of the third quarter was Carl Icahn, which held 52.76 million shares, valued at $5.32 billion. Mr. Icahn’s Icahn Capital is the largest shareholder among the funds that we track. However, while Mr. Icahn has left his position unchanged during the third quarter, one of the most bullish investors has been Laurion Capital Management, led by Benjamin A. Smith, which initiated a stake worth $183.47 million, holding 1.82 million shares as of the end of June.
One of the reasons why investors are bullish on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the fact that it is considered a growth company. As David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital has put it during an interview, Apple has a customer base that will most likely switch to new devices as they are released, while also gaining new customers. Greenlight Capital owns around 9.17 million shares of the company as of the end of September, down by 2% over the quarter, but the $924.08 million position is the second-largest in its equity portfolio.
Next in line comes Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which can be found in the equity portfolios of 136 funds tracked by us, as of the end of September, up by 5 funds over the quarter. Moreover, the total value of the positions held by this funds has picked up to $7.45 billion, from $6.67 billion in the previous quarter. However, it is important to mention, that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) appears twice in our list of 10 most popular stocks. Its class C stock that was issued earlier this year, currently occupies the eighth position. The difference is probably explained by the fact that Class C stock does not grant any voting rights, even though both classes come almost hand-in-hand in terms of price and returns.
Among the hedge funds that we track, the largest shareholder of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is Harris Associates, a hedge fund managed by Natixis Global Asset Management, which owns 1.69 million shares as of the end of September, up by some 397,600 shares over the quarter. The position is valued at $996.67 million and amasses 1.64% of the equity portfolio.
On the third spot is a financial company. Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) was in equity portfolios of 131 hedge funds at the end of the third quarter, up by 1 fund over the quarter. The aggregate value of the positions is valued at $11.17 billion, up from $9.25 billion at the end of the previous quarter. Eagle Capital Management, led by Boykin Curry, is one of the top shareholders of Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), holding 26.79 million shares, up by 267,900 shares. The $1.39 billion position amasses 5.36% of the fund’s equity portfolio.
Next on the list is also a financial stock, American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG). However, this stock has witnessed a decrease in popularity with the total number of funds holding it declining by 5 funds. The aggregate value is at $13.44 billion, down by $1.68 billion in the previous quarter. One of the largest shareholders of American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) is Bruce Berkowitz‘s Fairholme Capital Management. The fund sold around 9.50 million shares during the July-September period and currently owns 60.31 million shares, worth $3.26 billion. The position amasses over 44% of Fairholme’s equity portfolio. Moreover, it is important to mention that American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) is one of Mr. Berkowitz most favorite companies, as he said during an interview, adding that he would prefer to invest in AIG, rather than six different stocks.