Billionaire George Soros Was Trading Amazon, Facebook And Alphabet Last Quarter
George Soros, billionaire investor, philanthropist, and author, is the chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC. The $6.05 billion fund generated gains of 12.22% in the last quarter, and primarily invests in technology stocks. Let’s take a look at some of Soros’ activity in the fourth quarter, including transactions on Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB), and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL).
In the fourth quarter, Soros increased his holdings in Amazon by over 36%, now making up 1.19% of his total holdings. It was nothing but good news for Amazon in the fourth quarter. Most notably, the company posted stellar Q3 earnings, posting above consensus EPS and revenue as well as guiding 25% y/y growth. In the report, its cloud segment, Amazon Web Services, accounted for 52% of operating profit, as much as its North American segment, while representing just 8% of the company’s total sales. The company is the leader of cloud computing, as it has 10 times the amount of infrastructure cloud capacity relative to its peers.
The holiday shopping season was also a success for the company as they posted record sales with a 40% y/y increase in items shipped and record sales of its own devices such as the Kindle Fire. The company also added 3 million prime subscribers during this season. Other quarter events include an expanded Prime product selection, including the addition of channels for its video streaming service, as well as the launch of its food delivery service and first brick and mortar store. At the end of the quarter, the stock was trading at historic highs of about $694 per share.
Analysts and Soros agree on this e-commerce giant, as 32 out of 36 analysts who have rated the company on TipRanks in the past 3 months gave a Buy rating.
Soros reduced his stake in Facebook by over 54%, now accounting for 1.41% of his total holdings. In the fourth quarter, Facebook posted above consensus revenue and EPS in its Q3 earnings release, highlighting a 14% y/y increase in monthly active users, while adding 60 million users during the third quarter alone. Advertising revenue climbed 45% y/y and its subsidiaries, WhatsApp and Instagram, also reported impressive growth.
In the fourth quarter, the company launched its local business review site, which directly competes with Yelp. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announced they would donate 99% of their shares to charity over his lifetime, a contribution worth $45 billion, to charity to commemorate the birth of their daughter in the fourth quarter.
Interestingly, Soros and analysts strongly disagree on the social media leader, as only 1 out of 32 analysts gave a Sell rating in the last 3 months on TipRanks. While 3 remain neutral, 28 gave a Buy rating.
Soros added Alphabet, Google’s new parents company, to his portfolio in the fourth quarter, purchasing over 65,000 shares with his stake valued at $51 million, comprising 0.84% of his total holdings. In the beginning of the fourth quarter, Google reorganized itself and created a parent company Alphabet, which is comprised of Google, its subsidiaries such as YouTube, and various other segments.
In its Q3 earnings release, the last of Google’s before the reorganization, the company beat both revenue and EPS estimates and bought back $5 billion worth of stock. The earnings highlighted a 23% y/y growth in paid clicks, which also topped estimates. Another highlight was the rise in mobile, as mobile search topped desktop search for the first time and contributed significantly to revenue.
Events for the fourth quarter include the launch of its OnHub wireless router, rebranding its life sciences segment as Verily, a rumored partnership announcement with Ford to build driverless cars, and a project in Indonesia involving wind-propelled balloons to bring internet to large partitions of the country.
Like Soros, analyst consensus is a Buy on Alphabet, as 34 out of 35 who have rated the company in the past 3 months on TipRanks gave a bullish rating, while only 1 remains neutral.
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