Is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Going to Burn These Hedge Funds?

Apple Inc. (AAPL)Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors should be aware of a decrease in enthusiasm from smart money recently.

To the average investor, there are tons of indicators shareholders can use to watch publicly traded companies. A duo of the most underrated are hedge fund and insider trading activity. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best hedge fund managers can outperform the S&P 500 by a superb margin (see just how much).

Equally as integral, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the stock market universe. Obviously, there are lots of stimuli for an executive to get rid of shares of his or her company, but just one, very clear reason why they would initiate a purchase. Several academic studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this tactic if you know what to do (learn more here).

With these “truths” under our belt, let’s take a gander at the key action regarding Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Hedge fund activity in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Heading into 2013, a total of 134 of the hedge funds we track held long positions in this stock, a change of -15% from the third quarter. With hedge funds’ sentiment swirling, there exists a few notable hedge fund managers who were upping their holdings meaningfully.

Ken Griffin CITADEL INVESTMENT GROUPOf the funds we track, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group had the biggest call position in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), worth close to $5.472 billion, comprising 8.4% of its total 13F portfolio. Sitting at the No. 2 spot is D. E. Shaw of D E Shaw, with a $826 million position; the fund has 2% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Remaining hedgies that are bullish include Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management, David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital and Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management LLC.

Seeing as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has witnessed a declination in interest from hedge fund managers, it’s easy to see that there is a sect of money managers that decided to sell off their full holdings heading into 2013. Interestingly, Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management LLC said goodbye to the biggest position of the 450+ funds we monitor, totalling about $801 million in call options. Andreas Halvorsen’s fund, Viking Global, also dumped its stock, about $730 million worth. These moves are intriguing to say the least, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 15 funds heading into 2013.

How are insiders trading Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)?

Insider buying is best served when the company in focus has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last 180-day time period, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has seen 1 unique insiders purchasing, and 5 insider sales. Robert Iger purchased 1780 shares of the stock at prices between $562 and $565 (see the details of insider trades here).

With the results exhibited by Insider Monkey’s time-tested strategies, everyday investors should always keep an eye on hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is an important part of this process.

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