Bad timing: 126 funds dumped Apple just before it popped

Selling when they could have been buying.

The period between April 26 and June 30 was not a good time to be closing out your Apple holdings. Not if you were an institutional investor hoping to participate in Apple’s latest $20 (18%) bounce.

In a note to clients Tuesday, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty couched her critique of the buy side’s market timing in bubble wrap:

Ownership filings exiting 2Q16 suggest investors reduced exposure during the quarter and were not optimistically position when the company guided to a better-than-expected September quarter.

Not optimistically positioned, indeed!

In all, 1,015 funds trimmed their Apple holdings in the June quarter, according to SEC Form 13Fs filed this week, and 126 funds closed them out.

Here, in the order of shares sold, are the 12 biggest dumpers:

Not seeing the graphic? Try the website.

Two standouts:

  • Most shares sold: 4.3 million by UK-based Lansdowne Partners, one of Europe’s oldest hedge funds, with $18 billion under management.
  • Largest share sold: 12.9% of the holdings of Ziff Brothers, heirs to a fortune made in electronics and computer magazines, including PC Magazine and Computer Shopper. 

Thanks to Whale Wisdom for the data.


  1. Fred Stein said:
    Ironic eh? The source of the data is “Whale Wisdom”, implying that it is wise to follow the Whales.

    August 17, 2016
  2. John Kirk said:
    Look, I try not to criticize individual or institutional investors. First, it’s their money. Second, wadda I know? Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong.

    But as I watched people sell Apple stock, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that they key to making money on the stock market is to buy low and sell high. Yet everybody, including the pros, do just the opposite. They buy when the stock is hot and dump it when it’s cold.

    As Apple’s stock slipped lower and lower, those institutional investors should have been BUYING, not selling.

    August 17, 2016
  3. David Emery said:
    To all those funds who sold AAPL because of the blip:
    Nya, Nya, Nya!!


    August 17, 2016

Leave a Reply