Baba Stock – Big Buys of Apple and Alibaba Stock for a Large Fund. It Sold EA and Activision Stock.
A big asset manager made some major changes in its U.S.-traded investments in the first quarter.
Flossbach von Storch of Cologne, Germany, bought more shares of iPhone maker
(ticker: AAPL) and Chinese internet giant
Alibaba Group Holding
((BA)(BA)), while slashing positions in videogame publishers
Electronic Arts (EA)
(ATVI) in the first quarter. The investor disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Flossbach, which manages more than $80 billion in assets, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the investment changes.
The asset manager bought 632,616 additional Apple shares in the first quarter to end March with 1.9 million shares.
Apple stock slid 8% in the first quarter, compared with a 5.8% rise in the
S&P 500 index.
Since then, the shares have risen 6.6% through Friday’s close, compared with a 6.5% gain in the index.
Apple shares slipped after a strong first-quarter report, as observers fretted about slowing growth in the App Store. Last week, Apple began a court battle with Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite. On the product front, some think Apple could be preparing a foldable iPhone.
Flossbach bought 70,797 additional American depositary receipts of Alibaba to end the quarter with 336,295 ADRs.
Alibaba ADRs slipped 2.6% in the first quarter, and since the end of March, they are down about 1%.
Alibaba has recently seen increased regulatory pressure from Chinese authorities, seemingly culminating in a nearly $3 billion fine. Storied investor Charlie Munger recently made a case for buying Alibaba ADRs while returns on Treasury bills are low.
Flossbach chopped down its investments in videogame publisher Electronic Arts, known for the Medal of Honor series, and Activision, publisher of the Call of Duty franchise, by 87% and 73%, respectively, in the first quarter. It entered April owning 470,574 Electronic Arts shares and 1.6 million Activision shares.
Electronic Arts and Activision stock had boffo performances in 2020, soaring 33.6% and 56.3%, respectively, as homebound adults and children turned to videogames. This year so far has been a different story, with Electronic Arts slipping 5.7% in the first quarter as Activision was flat. So far in the second quarter, they are up 5.2% and up 1.9%, respectively.
Activision reported strong first-quarter earnings last week. Its mobile-games division King showed a whopping 22% rise in revenue during the period. Electronic Arts reports its March quarter on May 11.
Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Due to their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.