Some of the big hedge funds that made Apple a superstar in the market lost their infatuation with the company, and dumped the stock in the fourth quarter of 2012, fueling the huge drop in the iOS device maker’s share price.
Noted stock pickers including Leon Cooperman and Thomas Steyer unloaded billions of dollars of Apple shares between Sept. 30 and Dec. 31, according to disclosure documents filed on Thursday.
Shares of Apple hit an all-time high of $705.07 on September 21, but ended the year down more than 24% from its peak, as concerns about increasing competition and declining profit margins weighed.
Those that unloaded in Q4 avoided deeper losses, as Apple’s shares have dropped 12% this year.
According to its required quarterly disclosure form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cooperman’s Omega Advisors fund dumped its entire stake of more than 266,000 shares during the fourth quarter,
Farallon Capital, the hedge fund founded by Steyer, sold 137,000 shares. Steyer stepped down at the end of the year from the firm, which he founded in 1986.
Jana Partners also unloaded its entire Apple portfolio of more than 143,000 shares.
Prominent hedge fund manager David Einhorn announced on February 7 that he was suing the company to get it to deploy its $137 billion cash hoard more effectively and halt a 35% drop in its share price from the record high in September. Einhorn’s fund, Greenlight Capital, has a stake in the company worth about $600 million.
Not all hedge funds completely cut all ties with Apple in the fourth quarter, some merely trimmed their holdings.
Coatue Management, sold about 18 percent of its Apple holdings, ending the year with a still sizable 643,000 shares.
The Tiger Management LLC fund trimmed 28% from its Apple stake, down to about 42,000 shares.