Columbus Circle Investors Trims Stake in Apple (AAPL), Other Top Stocks

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Columbus Circle Investors has disclosed holding long positions in 272 stocks in its latest 13F filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for the reporting period of September 30. The value of the fund’s equity portfolio stood at over $12 billion on that date, those this was down from over $14 billion on June 30. Connecticut-based Columbus Circle Investors had $15.6 billion in assets under management as of June 30. During the ten-year period up until March 31, 2015, the fund posted annualized returns of 15.3% (net of fees) in the small-cap category, versus the 10% annualized return of the Russell 2000 growth index during the same period. In this article, we will take a look at Columbus Circle’s top five stocks heading into the fourth quarter.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Logo, Big, Sign, Brand, Steel, White

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Most investors don’t understand hedge funds and indicators that are based on hedge funds’ activities. They ignore hedge funds because of their recent poor performance in the bull market. Our research indicates that hedge funds underperformed because they aren’t 100% long. Hedge fund fees are also very large compared to the returns generated and they reduce the net returns experienced by investors. We uncovered that hedge funds’ long positions actually outperformed the market. For instance the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among funds beat the S&P 500 Index by more than 53 percentage points since the end of August 2012. These stocks returned a cumulative of 102% vs. a 48.7% gain for the S&P 500 Index (see the details here). That’s why we believe investors should pay attention to what hedge funds are buying (rather than what their net returns are).

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#5 Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA)

Shares held (as of September 30): 2.95 million

Total Value (as of September 30): $265.45 million

Percent of Portfolio (as of September 30): 2.17%

Columbus Circle trimmed its position in Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) to 2.95 million shares from 2.98 million shares. Having a market cap of $112 billion, Mastercard is among the top providers in the global payments industry, enabling businesses and customers to use electronic forms of payment. For the third quarter, the company reported income of $977 million, versus $1.02 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue was $2.5 billion, representing a year-over-year increase of 2%. The performance of Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA)’s stock has been positive, with shares gaining nearly 17% year-to-date. Another investor that likes Mastercard is Tom Russo’s Gardner Russo & Gardner, with ownership of 10.03 million shares on June 30.

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#4 Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)

Shares held (as of September 30): 3.14 million

Total Value (as of September 30): $282.64 million

Percent of Portfolio (as of September 30): 2.31%

Columbus Circle’s stake in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) drooped to 3.14 million shares from 3.19 million shares during the third quarter. The stock of the social networking company has increased by 39% year-to-date. At the end of the second quarter, the total number of hedge funds among those that we track which were holding Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in their portfolios jumped to 133, compared to 129 funds at the end of the first quarter. The value of these investments also increased to $8.86 billion, compared to $7.09 billion at the end of the first quarter. Among those investors is Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management, which owns 311,106 shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as of September 30.

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We’ll take a look at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Columbus Circle’s other top-three picks on the next page.

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