Insider Monkey calculates a fund’s long stock picking skill by looking at the weighted average returns of its long positions in companies with a market cap that exceeds $1 billion, based on the size of those positions at the beginning of each quarter. Our analysis has shown that Eric Sprott‘s qualifying picks returned a negative 8.2% for the fourth quarter of 2015, triggering an overhaul of the equity portfolio. His efforts have seemingly paid off, as our data show a 10.8% gain for the first quarter of 2016. His fund, Sprott Asset Management, reportedly had an equity portfolio worth $2.65 billion that comprised 121 positions, of which 76 were represented by companies worth over $1.0 billion. Let’s take a look at some of Sprott’s most notable investments from the first quarter.
At Insider Monkey, we track around 785 hedge funds and institutional investors. Through extensive backtests, we have determined that imitating some of the stocks that these investors are collectively bullish on can help retail investors generate double digits of alpha per year. The key is to focus on the small-cap picks of these funds, which are usually less followed by the broader market and allow for larger price inefficiencies (see more details about our small-cap strategy).
Nr. of Shares (as of December 31): 459,245
Value of Holding (as of December 31): $48.34 million
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) started 2015 on the wrong foot, having fallen as much as 10% by mid-February. However, March was the comeback month and the stock rallied to finish the first quarter up by 4.1%. One of the main events of the quarter was the release of a new iPhone and a new iPad. The iPhone SE sports a smaller, 4-inch display, and is priced at $399, while the new iPad is equipped with a 9.7-inch screen and will start at $599. The tech giant has also locked horns with the FBI and U.S. Justice Department, as it declined to help authorities break into the iPhone of a terrorist suspect. In the end, FBI received help from a third party to unlock the iPhone and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) walked away with clean hands. Eric Sprott boosted his fund’s stake in Apple by 42% over the fourth quarter to 459,245 shares. At the end of the fourth quarter, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was in the top 10 most popular companies among the funds followed by Insider Monkey. Hedge fund sentiment towards the tech giant was unchanged, with the number of long hedge fund positions remaining the same at 133. Billionaire Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management has continued its buying spree, having increased its stake by 2% to approximately 11.3 million shares. Carl Icahn‘s fund continues to hold the largest stake in Apple among top funds, despite a 14% reduction in the position. In its latest 13F filing, Icahn Capital has indicated ownership of 45.7 million shares worth close to $5 billion.