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Hilltop Park Sells Off Apple & Tesla, Loads Up On Energy Stocks

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Hilltop Park Associates LLC is a New York-based hedge fund firm co-founded by Stanley Shopkorn and Douglas Day, former portfolio managers at Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital. Prior to establishing his own firm in 2008 with roughly $100 million, Mr. Shopkorn managed his own money for five years.

According to a September 2015 article written by the Wall Street Journal, Hilltop Park Associates was among the hedge fund vehicles that sought to capitalize on structural inefficiencies in exchange-traded funds last year. For instance, the New York-based asset manager placed short bets against a cybersecurity-focused ETF, arguing that the valuations of the companies included in the ETF were overvalued relative to the peers not included in the fund, as the construction of the ETF boosted the share prices of its individual components. Hilltop Park Associates oversees a long portfolio worth $24.00 million as of the end of the second quarter, less than half of the $45.40 million its portfolio was worth at the end of the first quarter. Without further ado, let’s have a brief look at some noteworthy moves completed by the New York-based hedge fund vehicle during the June quarter.

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Hilltop Park Associates Discards Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) Stake

Hilltop Park Associates LLC sold off its entire 5,000-share stake in Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) during the April-to-June period. The hedge fund’s Tesla position was worth $1.15 million at the end of March. Just recently, the electric-car maker agreed to acquire solar panel installer SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) in an all-stock transaction valued at $2.6 billion, as Elon Musk aspires to create a vertically integrated renewable energy company that would offer consumers electric vehicles, energy storage, energy efficiency, and solar energy capabilities. Some investors initially thought that the multi-billion-dollar merger looked more like a bailout than a strategic takeover, but worries have alleviated somewhat in recent weeks. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, SolarCity shareholders are set to receive 0.11 shares of Tesla Motors for each share of SolarCity. Tesla shares are 5% in the red year-to-date. Daniel S. Och’s OZ Management owned 180,153 shares of Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) at the end of March.

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Hilltop Park Associates Sells Off Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Stake

The New York-based hedge fund vehicle also jettisoned its 50,000-share position in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) during the three-month period ended June 30. This was the largest position in Hilltop Park’s portfolio at the end of the first quarter, accounting for 12.0% of the value of that portfolio, so the complete selloff of the position comes as somewhat of a surprise. Some analysts believe that Apple will have a hard time drawing customers into the company’s stores in the upcoming quarters, as the iPhone maker appears to be moving away from the typical two-year iPhone redesign cycle. The Cupertino-based tech giant is currently preparing to unveil successors to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S plus models, so many potential iPhone buyers are putting off buying Apple devices until the new iPhone 7 model comes out this September. Numerous media reports suggest that the design of this year’s models will look similar to that of last year’s models, so the company clearly needs to come up with more radical design changes to successfully combat fast-growing competition from cheaper Chinese competitors producing ever more technologically-advanced devices. Apple shares are up by around 3% in 2016. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management reported owning 11.31 million shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) through the current round of 13F filings for the June quarter.

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The next page of this article will discuss three notable moves made by Hilltop Park Associates during the second quarter.

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