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Billionaire Israel Englander’s Top Q4 Moves

Millennium Management boosted its position in KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) by a whopping 16.20 million shares during the final quarter of 2015, lifting its stake to 19.68 million shares worth $259.62 million on December 31. KeyCorp operates as the bank holding company for KeyBank National Association, which primarily serves individuals and small- to mid-sized businesses. The financial services firm has seen its shares decline by nearly 19% since the beginning of 2016, presumably because of its acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (NASDAQ:FNFG) and the broader market selloff in bank stocks. In October 2015, KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) sealed a merger agreement with FNFG, under which KeyCorp will acquire all outstanding shares of FNFG for $2.30 in cash and 0.680 shares of KeyCorp for each share of FNFG. The merger is anticipated to close during the third quarter of this year. Numerous analysts, including analysts at Barron’s, believe that KeyCorp’s shares are undervalued, and rightly so; the stock trades at a forward P/E multiple of 7.77, well beneath the average of 11.06 for the Financials sector. Robert Pohly’s Samlyn Capital added an 8.39 million-share position in KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) to its portfolio during the December quarter.

Mr. Englander’s hedge fund firm increased its exposure to Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW), lifting its stake in the company by 2.59 million shares during the final three months of 2015, to 3.88 million shares . The newly-upped stake was valued at $250.32 million at the end of 2015. Pinnacle West Capital Corporation is a holding company that generates most of its revenue from its wholly-owned subsidiary APS, which is a vertically-integrated electric utility. The company’s consolidated net income for 2015 totaled $437 million, up from $398 million reported for 2014. The increase was attributable to rate changes, lower operations and maintenance expenses, higher retail sales as a result of consumer growth, and changes in customer usage patterns and related pricing. Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW)’s stock has gained almost 6% since the beginning of 2016, which is unsurprising given that some analysts see the utilities sector as a safe haven amid increased volatility like that experienced so far in 2016. Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management increased its position in Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW) by 5% during the December quarter, to 2.43 million shares.

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While numerous investors have been losing faith in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s growth prospects over the past several months, billionaire Englander has been more bullish on the iPhone marker lately. His hedge fund lifted its position in Apple by 1.88 million shares during the fourth quarter, to nearly 2.19 million shares, which were valued at $230.24 million at the end of December. The shares of the Cupertino-based company are down by 27% over the past 12 months due to concerns over slowing iPhone sales and potential oversaturation in the smartphone market. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) did reveal some signs of faltering after disclosing iPhone sales that missed expectations for the latest quarter. Although smartphone sales have been softening in recent years, partly due to economic hardship in emerging economies, this business will most likely keep generating huge revenue in the upcoming years or even decades, depending on what innovation brings to the market and whether or not Apple remains near or at the forefront of it. Activist investor Carl Icahn of Icahn Capital LP owns 45.76 million shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as of December 31.

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Disclosure: None

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