Julie Lamb

About the Author Julie Lamb

Julie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a focus on creative writing from the University of Louisville.

Hedge Fund Guru Ric Dillon Steps Back on Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) and Apple Inc. (AAPL), Pumps Up Bank of America Corp (BAC)

Ric Dillon is a value investor headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, who has carved a reputation on back of on-the-ball long-term investment strategy. The astute mind behind patent-pending ideas like the Diamond Hill Investment Model for evaluating stock value and the Valuation-Weighted 500 Index, which banks a portfolio of securities on value over market capitalization, Dillon thinks beyond short-term market booms.

According to TipRanks, four-star hedge fund manager Ric Dillon of Diamond Hill Capital Management is ranked #23 out of 203 hedge funds, having achieved an 85.2% portfolio gain since June of 2013 and a 2.79 sharpe ratio. Dillon’s portfolio value circles $17.86 billion, and he yields an average return of 16.61%.

For the first quarter of 2017, Dillon lost some confidence in tech giants Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), while instead raising the bar of expectations for Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC). Let’s take a closer look to see why this long-term-inclined hedge-fund guru is hedging his bets in the tech sector, but doling out his dollars to the financial sector:

Cisco Systems, Inc.

Cisco’s long-term from Dillon’s eyes must look a little less promising these days. For the first quarter, Diamond Hill’s move was to pull back in Cisco, reducing the stake by close to 29% down to $249.39 million. However, since the last SEC filing, these shares have gained a little over 2% in value.

It is worthy of note that shares for the networking equipment maker are falling almost 7%, as after the bell yesterday, Cisco’s team warned investors sales could take as much as a 4% to 6% quarterly drop. Some look at this short-term stumble as a sharp advantage for investors to buy, gambling that investors will once again resurge to back the stock and its high dividend pay-off. Dillon belongs to the less bullish camp, guiding his hedge fund to retreat some on CSCO shares right in the nick of time.

Did the hedge fund guru see the writing on the wall that the team would predict revenue that might very well underclass expectation? It is too early to tell if Dillon’s sidestep will prove valuable long-term, but investor sentiment certainly is less than enthusiastic today.

Most on the Street see value in Cisco, considering TipRanks analytics show CSCO as a Strong Buy. Out of 14 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 11 are bullish on Cisco stock while 3 remain sidelined. With a return potential of nearly 12%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $37.73.

Apple Inc.

Dillon likewise reduced his holding in Apple by 6% to $351.09 million. Was this a wise play? Apple shares have since garnered almost 9% in value since the last filing. Yet, with a Qualcomm legal battle also still on the rise, maybe the long-term guru sees trouble ahead, as some analysts are predicting the courts will eventually rule in favor of the chip maker.

Qualcomm has been stirring up the pot with Apple’s iPhone contract manufacturers, including Foxconn, arguing that units FIH Mobile and Hon Hai Precision Industry to the likes of Pegatron, Wistron, along with Compal Electronics are all guilty of a licensing breach. The chip giant is gunning with a force to get back royalties for its licensed technologies, making a claim for not for these companies to abide by the terms of the agreements, but also recompense for damages.

Apple meanwhile believes Qualcomm is full of hot air, ordering suppliers not to pay a cent to the chip maker for its intellectual property argument, and Qualcomm’s team certainly expects to take a hit for the legal uproar, having chopped financial guidance.

Majority of investor sentiment backs Apple in the grander scheme. TipRanks analytics exhibit AAPL as a Strong Buy. Based on 31 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 26 rate a Buy on Apple stock while 5 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $162.41, marking an 8% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

Bank of America Corp

Bank of America could stand to benefit from a Trump presidency, should political scandal not come between the financial sector and Trump’s corporate tax ideas. Amid the new climate where deregulation could make industry proceedings easier for bank giants, Diamond Hill boosted its stake in Bank of America by 6% up to $239.93K, which has since gained another close to 2% in value from the last filing.

If Trump has it his way, higher interest rates would be likely, which also would subsequently lift profit margins- all good news for a corporate machine like Bank of America.¬†Yet, short-term, the banking giant took a 6% plummet yesterday, much like the rest of the stocks in the financial coverage universe on the heels of FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal. With fresh drama surrounding the firing of the FBI director chasing Trump’s heels, his plans for a new economic agenda might be stalled in the making.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate BAC as a Buy. Out of 13 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 9 are bullish on Bank of America stock, 3 remain sidelined, and 1 is bearish on the stock. With a return potential of nearly 16%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $26.08.

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