Carl Icahn’s Q4 Picks Indicate Which Buttons He Plans to Push Next

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Carl Icahn has had a lot to celebrate lately, and a look at his recently-filed 13F shows us just how much. He hasn’t been as active as usual in recent months – quite unusual for the investor.

Carl Icahn’s new acquisitions

Carl Icahn initiated only one new position in Q4, his pick being healthcare products manufacturer Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOLX). With the 34 million shares, Icahn has a 12.5% stake in the business. Why take such a big bite? It may be the case that the investor plans to take an activist position in the company, perhaps even pushing for its sale. HOLX currently has a market cap of $5.8 billion.

Increased Positions

Composing 36.6% of his fund, Icahn Enterprises LP (NASDAQ:IEP) is still Icahn’s biggest bet and part of a long-term, steady buying strategy. This past quarter, Icahn purchased another 1.44 million shares. IEP has posted a solid performance in recent weeks and is up +4.61% YTD. It has an impressive dividend yield of 4.50% as well.

The billionaire also upped the ante in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). With the purchase of 855,600 additional shares, Apple now composes 8.72% of his portfolio (it was previously at 7.5%). And while Carl Icahn and company CEO Tim Cook aren’t exactly on the best of terms, they seem to have found some middle ground on the share buyback issue, Apple laying out a plan to purchase $32 billion in assets. Icahn is not alone in betting on Apple, with David Einhorn, David Tepper, George Soros, Daniel Loeb, Julian Robertson, Ray Dalio and Richard Chilton joining him an investors. Apple is also the top holding of the iBillionaire Index.

It looks as though Icahn may have some big plans in store for oil and gas producer Talisman Energy Inc. (NYSE:TLM) as well. He purchased 69.6 million TLM shares, the company now composing 2.91% of his fund. It posted notable losses in Q4 and earlier this month announced plans to sell $2 billion in non-core assets. Given the scenario, might Icahn have a sale or management shakeup in mind?

Finally, the investor purchased an additional eight million assets of Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN). It now comprises 3.98% of his portfolio.

Decreased Positions

Beyond his Apple battle, Carl Icahn made a lot of noise last quarter with his Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) activity, unloading over 3.8 million shares and slashing his allocation in half.

Netflix has had a terrific run on the market in recent weeks and months, and its stock price is up +18.68% this year alone. Was Carl Icahn’s decision to sell a bad move? Even the billionaire himself is interested to see how this one plays out.

For the time being, signs point to good things ahead. In its latest report, Netflix smashed expectations with per-share earnings of $0.79. It also exceeded its own guidance for contribution margins, achieving 23.4% against 23.2%, thereby exceeding its goal of a four-percentage-point year-on-year improvement. But when compared to earnings and cash flow, the stock price is a bit high for short-term investors.

Netflix is also one of the constituents of the iBillionaire Index and also one of Chase Coleman’s picks.

Sold Out

Last quarter, Carl Icahn cashed out of only one of his company – Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO). Of the billionaires tracked by iBillionaire, David Einhorn is now the only investor with a stake in the game developer.

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