Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Morgan Stanley: Big investors' stake in Apple is at a 5-year low

February 26, 2014: 12:18 PM ET

Meanwhile, institutional ownership of Amazon, Google and Microsoft are near record highs.


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FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) is an outlier in a major shift of stock ownership that's unfolded over the past five years, according to a note issued Wednesday by Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty.

She writes that as small investors took their money out of stocks and put it into mutual funds, institutions were picking the slack. Average institutional ownership of the S&P 500 today is 83% of shares outstanding, and it's increasing at the rate of 0.8% per year.

The trend is even more pronounced in the large cap mobile tech companies Morgan Stanley follows. Every one but Apple.

Looking at the really big money -- the top 30 shareholders who tend to hold 30-50% of shares outstanding -- Morgan Stanley found big-money ownership to be at or near record highs for several stocks: Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ).

In contrast, the big 30 shareholders currently own what Huberty describes as "a record low" 30% of Apple, compared with the 36% five-year average and a peak of 40% in 2009. (See chart.)


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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

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