The largest Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shareholder, equity mutual fund Fidelity Contrafund managed by Will Danoff, has reduced its stake in the company by about 10 percent in January-February 2013. The fund, which had about 11.56 million shares of Apple at the end of last year, has reported owning 10.43 million shares at the end of February, according to Reuters.
In this way, after the selling of the shares, Apple fell to the second position, giving the first place to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) as Fidelity’s largest holding. Google accounts for 5.6% of the fund’s net assets, while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) now accounts for 5.2% of the Fidelity net assets.
Apple saw a declination in hedge fund interest last quarter, and was actually bounced from its No. 1 spot amongst the smart money by post-bailout insurer American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG).
The change of the positions in Fidelity’s net assets, meanwhile, reflects the fact that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was passed by Google as the top U.S -based mutual and hedge fund holding, according to AppleInsider. Based on a study from last month, Google was the most owned stock by the 50 largest actively managed mutual funds in the US.
On Monday, shares of Apple lost about 2% in morning trading, and since the launch of the last version of Apple’s iPhone (iPhone 5), over the last six months, the company’s shares lost almost 35%.
Analysts and market-watchers are concerned about Apple’s slowing growth, which is reflected by Google’s win in the smartphone market (Google’s Android has the largest market share). Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray even said that it is time to lower the expectations about Apple for the coming quarter, despite the fact that after hitting a 52-week low of $419, Apple’s shares slightly picked up 12% to $469.
At the same time, retail investors are also trying to figure out what is going on with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and if the things can get still get worse. Many are also demanding higher dividends or a buy back of the shares, giving the existence of $137-billion cash reserves, despite the fact that a significant portion of this is tied up overseas.
Yes, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does consider itself a “software company,” but numbers show that hardware actually is the one that rules in terms of sales and margins. Mr. Market is still waiting for the Apple’s next product cycle, and it’s possible that a rumored ‘iTV’ or an ‘iWatch’ could boost investors’ sentiments, along with a lower cost iPhone.
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