Apple Inc. Still Held By The Most Hedge Funds

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has long been popular with investors, both individual and institutional alike. This week major U.S. funds disclosed their positions through Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt has compiled a list of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s biggest bulls and bears, according to these latest filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Apple shares owned by hedge funds fall

According to the data, the number of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares, in aggregate, owned by firms holding more than $100,000 in assets under management declined 6%. Elmer-DeWitt suggests that this may be because Apple was aggressively snapping up its stock. The company’s adjusted share price rose 20% during the quarter to close at $554.58.

According to Whale Wisdom’s data, 94 different firms opened positions in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) while 106 exited the company. The data also indicates that 842 funds increased their stake in Apple, while 800 cut their position.

Apple’s biggest bulls and bears

Among the bulls, which are firms that bought Apple during the quarter, are Capital World Investors, which bought more than 3.6 million shares, and Capital Research Global Investors, which bought nearly 3 million shares. Of course Carl Icahn was toward the top too, coming in at third place with over 2.8 million shares of Apple purchased during the quarter.

The bears include Norgest Bank, which sold almost 6.7 million shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) during the quarter. Second is Susquehanna, which isn’t actually a bear if you go by options activity (see below), and third is Fidelity, which sold almost 3.3 million shares of Apple during the first three months of the year.

The data also shows which firms hold the largest stakes in Apple. Carl Icahn is actually 11th on the list, holding about 7.5 million shares worth about $4 billion. At the top of the list is Vanguard Group, with more than 46.7 million shares worth over $25 billion owned. Second is State Street, which holds about 35.5 million shares worth about $19 billion. In third place is Fidelity, with more than 25 million shares valued at around $13.4 billion.

Options activity on Apple goes wild

Elmer-DeWitt also picked up on a lot of hedged bets during the first quarter. He noted sales of millions of puts and calls in the first three months of the year. For example, while Susquehanna appears to be a big-time Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) bear because it sold over 4 million shares of Apple during the first quarter, it also bought almost 4 million call contracts and sold more than 1 million puts. Both of those actions are quite bullish.

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