We have processed hundreds of 13F filings from hedge funds and other notable investors for the fourth quarter of 2012; these filings disclose many long equity positions which the investor in question had in their portfolio at the end of December. One way to use this information is by pooling the filings and seeing which stocks in different sectors were the most popular among the filers that we consider. Here are the ten stocks in the technology sector which the largest number of hedge funds owned at the end of December:
The top tech pick was Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) with 134 filers reporting a position. This was down from the third quarter of 2012, and partly because of that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) lost its place as the most popular stock among hedge funds (AIG is the new #1). Billionaire David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital increased its stake in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) last quarter to a total of 1.3 million shares (see more stocks Einhorn was buying).
Hedge funds were also selling Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and 128 of them owned the search engine (and now, tablet and smartphone company) at the beginning of this year. This was compared to 143 at the end of September; Google would have been the new top tech pick if it hadn’t declined in popularity as well. Lone Pine Capital, managed by billionaire and Tiger Cub Stephen Mandel, reported owning almost 1.6 million shares (check out Mandel's stock picks).
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) also lost some of its luster among hedge funds during Q4, possibly as doubt over the success of Windows 8 and the Surface line of tablets rolled in. Our database had 95 hedge funds owning Microsoft, down from 108 three months earlier. Billionaire Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management had almost 18 million shares in its portfolio (find Fisher's favorite stocks).
89 filers which we track in our database reported a position in Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) at the end of December, about even with three months earlier. Viking Global, which is managed by Tiger Cub Andreas Halvorsen, added shares during the quarter and closed December with over 14 million shares (research more stocks Halvorsen was buying).
Hedge funds were buying- of all things- Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), as the number of funds owning shares in the social networking company increased from 48 to 67. Billionaire Steve Cohen and his investment team at SAC Capital Advisors had a small position at the beginning of October and built it up to a total of 8.5 million shares (see more stocks Cohen liked).
See the 6th through 10th most popular tech stocks among hedge funds:
Our database showed that 65 funds and other notable investors owned shares of Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL). While the Baupost Group, managed by value investor Seth Klarman, did sell shares of Oracle between October and December the software company remained one of its top picks (learn about more stocks that Baupost owns).
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) was another decently popular tech stock; we tracked 60 hedge funds reporting ownership of Yahoo shares. Billionaire Dan Loeb’s Third Point owned over 73 million shares of Yahoo; Loeb was a key player in ousting the company’s former CEO and replacing him with Marissa Mayer (see more of Loeb's stock picks).
Hedge funds were also selling Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) during Q4 and we found 58 of them owning shares going into 2013. Citadel Investment Group, which is managed by billionaire Ken Griffin, owned about 10 million shares of Cisco- up significantly from three months earlier (find more changes Griffin was making to Citadel's portfolio).
The same number of 13F filers in our database- 58- were long EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), the $51 billion market cap data storage company. Bain Capital’s Brookside Capital owned 8.1 million shares of EMC, making it one of the fund’s top picks (research Brookside's top stock picks).
A few hedge funds moved into Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) during the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing the total breadth of ownership to 50 filers. One fund which held a position in Dell was Donald Yacktman’s Yacktman Asset Management.
Disclosure: I own no shares of any stocks mentioned in this article.