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A Look At Investment Firms' Favorite Stocks In Q3

November 21, 2015 1:58 pm
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  • With the third quarter 13F season over, it’s time to look at some stats.
  • This article will focus on the most popular stocks among institutional investors, measured by the number of firms that disclosed holding them as of September 30.

As investors might have anticipated, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the most popular stock in the third quarter, with 2,119 institutional investors (among those tracked by WhaleWisdom) holding it. Over the period, the tech behemoth saw 83 firms start new positions in its stock, another 1,084 increase their stakes, 842 reduce them, and only 91 closing out their exposure.

Same as in the second quarter, the three largest institutional investors in Apple were the Vanguard Group, State Street and FMR LLC, with 329,338,821 shares, 217,192,051 shares, and 167,611,009 shares, respectively.

However, it should be noted that only the Vanguard Group increased its exposure, by 1,829,847 shares, over the quarter – and now owns more than $36.3 billion in stock. On the other hand, State Street and FMR trimmed their wages by 2 and 7 percent, respectively. Nonetheless, Apple continues to be the most valuable position in all of these firms’ equity portfolios.

Among hedge funds investors, Carl Icahn is the most committed, with 52,760,848 shares, worth more than $5.8 billion.

A few other moves to highlight include the purchase of 24,509,847 shares by SG Americas Securities and the sale of 14,965,996 shares by Wellington Management Group.

Second in line was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), held by 1946 investment firms as of September 30. The company saw 65 new stakes, 929 increased positions, 772 reduced wages, and 60 positions closed over the third quarter.

The Vanguard Group was, same as in the previous case, the largest institutional investor of record, with 171,712,444 shares, worth about $16 billion. Among hedge funds, it was Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management, which, after boosting its exposure by 1 percent, disclosed ownership of 10,689,483 shares, worth almost a billion dollars.

Also interesting was Bank of America’s move. The firm increased its stake in Johnson & Johnson by 9,157,223 shares, taking it to 33,413,437 shares, worth over $3.1 billion.

Opposite was the case of JPMorgan, which disposed of 13,518,399 shares of the company over the quarter, keeping 20,896,649 shares.

Completing the third quarter’s top five picks were Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), held by 1,938 institutional investors; Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), owned by 1,858 investment firms; and General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), which saw 1,827 firms disclose ownership of its stock as of September 30.

Interestingly, the three largest institutional investors are the same in Microsoft, Exxon and GE. The largest in all three is the Vanguard Group, followed by State Street and the Blackrock Institutional Trust Company.


Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no positions in any of the securities mentioned above.

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