Harriet Lefton

About the Author Harriet Lefton

Harriet originates from the UK where she worked as a journalist specializing in the metal markets. She graduated from the University of Cambridge before becoming a qualified UK lawyer.

Hedge Funds Are Still Betting on Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Hedge funds recently made their trades public for the last quarter. These forms provide a valuable insight into where the ‘Smart Money’ is going. We can see which stocks hedge funds are buying or selling right now- helping us to pinpoint the most compelling investing opportunities.

And if there is one top stock that hedge fund managers can’t stop buying, it’s Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Funds have been relentlessly pouring money into the iPhone maker since 2016, and last quarter was no exception. We can see from TipRanks that funds increased holdings in AAPL by over 21.6 million shares in Q4.

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And a key supporter of the stock is none other than legendary hedge fund guru Warren Buffett, otherwise known as the Oracle of Omaha. In Q4 he ramped up his fund’s AAPL position by 23% to a whopping $27.98 billion. The result: AAPL is now Buffett’s no 1. holding, beating both Wells Fargo and Kraft Heinz. So it’s good news for Buffett that this holding has already gained over 4% since the last filing date.

Indeed, Apple shares almost reached an all-time high after Buffett went on air stating that “Apple has an extraordinary consumer franchise.” The 87-year-old hedge fund manager told CNBC: “I see how strong that ecosystem is, to an extraordinary degree. … You are very, very, very locked in, at least psychologically and mentally, to the product you are using. [The iPhone] is a very sticky product.”

However, the Street has a more cautious take on the consumer giant- especially for the stock’s near-term outlook. We can see that AAPL has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating right now with 17 recent buy ratings vs 13 hold ratings. The average analyst price target stands at $193.52 (10% upside).

Top Raymond James analyst Chris Caso is one of the analysts staying on the sidelines for now. He explains that “after a strong run in the stock in anticipation of [an iPhone] supercycle that didn’t occur, we think we have time to wait before reloading for another cycle.”


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