Viking Global Investors LP, the hedge fund run by O. Andreas Halvorsen, eliminated its entire stake in Apple Inc. in the fourth quarter, joining rivals that either exited or cut holdings as shares of the maker of iPhones and MacBooks slumped.
Viking sold 1.1 million Apple shares, according to a regulatory filing today. Other funds that exited Apple included Lone Pine Capital LLC, run by Stephen Mandel Jr., which sold 805,269 shares and Third Point LLC, run by Daniel Loeb, which sold all of its 710,000 shares, filings show.
Apple shares have fallen 34 percent from their Sept. 19 high on concern that sales growth will slow amid accelerating competition from Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. in the market for tables and smartphones. Investors are also speculating that margins will narrow as the Cupertino, Calif.-based company cuts prices to maintain market share and win users in less-developed markets.
Apple shares, which closed at $702.10 on Sept. 19, traded at $466.59 as of Thursday's close, giving it a market capitalization of $438 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Some investors added Apple shares in the fourth quarter. David Tepper's Appaloosa Management LP added 391,473 shares, boosting its stake to 912,661 shares. Greenlight Capital Inc., led by David Einhorn, who is pressing Apple to return more cash to investors, bought 216,116 shares, bringing its holding to 1.3 million. Also buying more Apple was John Paul Tudor's Tudor Investment Corp., which added 376,924 shares.
Apple said it will fight Greenlight's bid to bar it from adopting a measure that would restrict its ability to issue preferred stock. The battle with Einhorn is the latest episode in a long-running effort by some Apple shareholders to get the iPad maker to give back more cash in the form of a dividend or buyback.
Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors Inc. said it had sold its stake in Apple, according to regulatory filings. Eton Park Capital Management LP, run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Eric Mindich, sold 250,000 shares; Tiger Global Management LLC, head by Chase Coleman, sold 250,000; and Jana Partners LLC, co-founded by Barry Rosenstein, sold 143,148.
On the mutual fund side, the $118 billion American Growth Fund of America sold about 3 million shares in the quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Money managers who oversee more than $100 million in U.S. equities must file a Form 13F within 45 days of the end of each quarter to list their holdings in stocks that trade on U.S. exchanges, as well as options and convertible debt.
Hedge funds are lightly regulated pools of capital whose managers can invest in any asset and share in annual profits.