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BlackRock Hikes Apple Stake, Now Likely Tech Giant's No. 2 Shareholder

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BlackRock has increased its ownership stake in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) above 5 percent, a new filing from the SEC on Monday afternoon shows. The transaction, which occurred on December 31, means the investment company now owns 5.7 percent of all outstanding Apple stock, or 315,425,945 shares.

That's an increase from the 3.9 percent stake BlackRock held at the end of the third quarter (2015), MarketWatch reports.

Benzinga reported the Apple filing was just one of several 13G passive stakes revealed by the firm. BlackRock also upped its stake in Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) from 5.7 percent to 8.7 percent, along with a 5.5 percent stake in Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) and a 5.4 percent stake in insurer Chubb Corp (NYSE: CB).

With all else constant, BlackRock is likely now the second largest shareholder of Apple stock, slightly behind Vanguard Group and ahead of FMR, State Street and Northern Trust. More light will be shed on this pecking order when institutional 13F filings are released in mid-February. By comparison, BlackRock's stake in Apple is about six times larger than the tech company's largest hedge fund investor, Carl Icahn.

Apple shares are selling off under the $100 level in Monday's after-hours session with just 24 hours to go until its latest earnings report.

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