Even though it’s the last week of 2016 and a holiday atmosphere is all around us, the tech space is still abuzz as some companies are wrapping up some of their deals ahead of 2017, while for others the holiday season is one of the crucial parts of the year regarding sales. Having said that, let’s take a closer look at the sales registered by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) this holiday season and see the latest developments surrounding Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR).
Aside from the hype that may surround a stock short-term following some news, it’s also a good idea to get a perspective on its long-term potential. This is why we identify the hedge fund sentiment towards stocks we cover. We follow over 700 hedge funds and other institutional investors and by analyzing their quarterly 13F filings, we identify stocks that they are collectively bullish on and develop investment strategies based on this data. One strategy that outperformed the market over the last year involves selecting the 100 best-performing funds and identifying the 30 mid-cap stocks that they are collectively the most bullish on. Over the past year, this strategy generated returns of 18%, topping the 8% gain registered by S&P 500 ETFs.
With this in mind, let’s move on to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and see what the smart money investors from our database think about them aside from the latest news that put them in the spotlight.
Both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)‘s Google released new smartphones a couple of months before the holiday season, but it looks like the sales of both companies’ devices failed to impress in the weeks before Christmas. According to Yahoo Flurry Analytics, which analyzed the new devices activations during the week before December 25, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) dominated the smartphone space with 44% of all devices activated being iPhones. However, this number is lower compared to 49.1% registered last year. It was followed by Samsung with a 21% share, which is not surprising given the recent scandal with the Note 7. On the other hand, Google’s Pixel phones didn’t make the chart, falling behind names like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Motorola, which managed to register significant activation numbers due to holding a wide range of phones. It should be pointed out that phone activation figures are different than the actual sales, so it may be premature to make any conclusions.
Among the investors in our database, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is the most popular company. At the end of September, 137 funds held class A shares of the company and 134 funds reported long positions in the Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s class C stock. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doesn’t fall far behind, with 145 funds amassing bullish stakes in the company heading into the fourth quarter, up from 116 funds a year earlier.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) stops to impress neither investors nor its customers. After having announced plans to acquire a fleet of cargo planes earlier this year and recently having completed its first drone delivery, Amazon might soon be taking the idea of delivering goods over the air to a whole new level. The eCommerce giant has recently obtained a patent for a giant flying warehouse that could be able to launch drones to deliver orders within minutes. The warehouse, or an “airborne fulfillment center” as it is called by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), could represent a blimp that would float at around 45,000 feet, while drones delivering individual orders would have to glide down, which would require less power than taking off and then landing. In some more holiday-related news, Amazon has announced that it managed to ship over 1.0 billion items worldwide via Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and more people around the world tried Prime this holiday season than any previous year. Smart money is also fond of Amazon, which ranks the most popular stock on our list, with 150 funds tracked by us having amassed roughly 6% of its outstanding stock at the end of September.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)‘s is putting more effort on its VR effort and has recently acquired The Eye Tribe, a Danish startup that is engaged in developing eye-tracking technology that could be used to improve the VR experience. The deal was confirmed by a Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) spokesperson to VentureBeat, but the terms were not disclosed. However, VentureBeat pointed out that The Eye Tribe managed to raise $5.32 million in funding from several investors, including a grant from The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. The Eye Tribe started as a project intended to make eye-tracking more accessible and is going to be beneficial for Oculus. It’s also worth mentioning that in October, Alphabet’s Google acquired Eyefluence, a competitor of The Eye Tribe, which had managed to raise $21.6 million in funding. At the end of the third quarter, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was trailing Amazon in terms of its popularity among the funds in our database, as 149 investors amassed shares of the company.
Finally, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is making a push towards panoramic live streams, having joined YouTube and Facebook, with a feature that allows users to post live 360-degrees videos. The feature is available via the Periscope application and videos will be marked with a “LIVE 360” badge. However, while all users can watch these videos, not everyone can broadcast them now, but Periscope plans to make the streaming available more broadly in the coming weeks. The move represents a step forward from the traditional 140-character tweet limit and is the latest attempt to push Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) back to growth following declining user numbers and the departure of several top executives. The issues didn’t go unnoticed among investors, and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is significantly less popular among the funds followed by Insider Monkey, compared to the other four companies discussed earlier. A total of 47 funds held shares of the company at the end of September, although this number went up by 17 during the third quarter.