Apple 2.0

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Spreadsheet of the week: Why Apple's shares tanked in 2012

March 10, 2013: 8:45 AM ET

Because 13 of the 50 largest U.S. hedge funds were dumping their Apple holdings

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FORTUNE -- Citigroup's Tobias Levkovich buried the lead when he reported Wednesday that Google (GOOG) had replaced Apple (AAPL) as the hedge funds' favorite stock in Q4 2012.

If you zoom in on his spreadsheet above (apologies for the bad reproduction) you'll see that Google made it on to one more top 10 list of the 50 largest U.S. hedge funds in Q4 (16) than in Q3 (15).

Not a particularly dramatic change.

If you want drama, look at Apple. It was hedge funds' No. 1 favorite at the end of September, appearing on 23 of those lists. By the end of December, that number had fallen to 10.

Add the hedge fund managers who were dumping Apple to the mutual fund managers who were doing the same, and you start to get a feel for the force of selling pressure that punished Apple -- and its investors -- in the waning months of 2012.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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