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Avoid Apple Inc. (AAPL)?

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Tim CookApple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors should be aware of a decrease in support from the world’s most elite money managers in recent months.

To the average investor, there are many gauges shareholders can use to track Mr. Market. Two of the most useful are hedge fund and insider trading sentiment. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the elite investment managers can outpace their index-focused peers by a significant margin (see just how much).

Just as integral, optimistic insider trading sentiment is another way to break down the investments you’re interested in. Just as you’d expect, there are a number of incentives for an executive to sell shares of his or her company, but just one, very obvious reason why they would buy. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the useful potential of this tactic if shareholders know what to do (learn more here).

Keeping this in mind, it’s important to take a peek at the key action encompassing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

What have hedge funds been doing with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)?

In preparation for this quarter, a total of 148 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of 0% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of key hedge fund managers who were boosting their stakes significantly.

When looking at the hedgies we track, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group had the biggest call position in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), worth close to $2.7662 billion, accounting for 4.2% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, with a $1.0614 billion position; the fund has 16.2% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Some other hedge funds that are bullish include D. E. Shaw’s D E Shaw, Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management and Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management.

Due to the fact that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has witnessed bearish sentiment from hedge fund managers, it’s safe to say that there is a sect of hedgies who sold off their entire stakes at the end of the first quarter. Intriguingly, Rob Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management dumped the largest position of the “upper crust” of funds we watch, valued at close to $381.1 million in stock.. Rob Citrone’s fund, Discovery Capital Management, also dumped its call options., about $335.3 million worth. These moves are interesting, as aggregate hedge fund interest stayed the same (this is a bearish signal in our experience).

How have insiders been trading Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)?

Insider buying is most useful when the company in question has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the last 180-day time frame, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has seen zero unique insiders purchasing, and 3 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also review hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). These stocks are Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL). This group of stocks belong to the personal computers industry and their market caps match AAPL’s market cap.

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