Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the hedge fund king once again. For the first quarter of 2013, 148 top-tier hedge funds held shares of the Cupertino-based tech giant in their equity portfolios, the same number that were long at the end of 2012. While the hedge fund industry is over 8,000 funds large in its entirety, we at Insider Monkey track the best of the best: 500 funds in total (discover the secrets of piggyback investing here).
A premature decline
This aggregate vote of confidence comes one day after many members of the media–and investors alike–reacted prematurely to individual hedge fund managers’ 13F filings, which indicate large investors’ stock picks on a quarterly basis.
Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell by 3.4% yesterday, as reports trickled in that the likes of David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management, Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management, and George Soros’ Soros Fund Management, among others, had either sold off their entire positions, or made significant cuts.
Never mind that this group of money managers is just a drop in the bucket in comparison to the industry’s entire interest in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Never mind that many prominent funds, like David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital and Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management, to name a couple, were bullish on the stock last quarter.
Einhorn upped his stake by a whopping 83% in the first quarter, and may very well be the only billion-dollar hedge fund investor in Apple at the moment. Fisher, who reported his 13F form a bit earlier than most of his “hedgier” peers, disclosed a 58% boost in his position.
After Mr. Tepper’s captivating CNBC interview earlier this week, in which he cited a lack of “revolutionary” behavior a reason for his decision to cut 372,661 shares of Apple, it appears that the markets have improperly placed their focus on the most highly-televised move. That’s a mistake.
Our research shows that when looking at the whole picture, the best picks of the best hedge funds can beat the market, and the results of our premium strategy, as well as of the MarketWatch/Insider Monkey Billionaire Hedge Fund Index, speak for themselves.
Yes, the media was wrong to jump the gun, and unlike last quarter, when it lost its No. 1 spot to American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the king once again.
The best of the rest
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) takes the number two spot in the hedge fund universe, as 146 of the hedge funds we track were long heading into April, compared to 137 in the previous quarter. With a recent move above the $900 mark, and yesterday’s announcement of Google Play Music All Access at its I/O conference, optimism is riding high on the Big G.
AIG, meanwhile, didn’t fall too far from the pole position, as 145 of the hedge funds we track were long at the end of the first quarter. This represents a declination of eight funds in total, but still indicates that the smart money still believes there’s value in the leaner, meaner post-bailout insurer.
Insider Monkey’s small-cap strategy returned 38.3% between September 2012 and April 2013 versus 15.0% for the S&P 500 index. Try it now by clicking the link above.