In the last two weeks, markets have been extremely volatile. All three major indexes in the U.S. have been fluctuating between gains and losses over the past few trading sessions amid speculation that the Federal Reserve might start easing up its aggressive bond buying program as early this summer.
Fed’s aggressive monetary easing measures have been one the main drivers of the rally in equity markets this year. It is not surprising then that the possibility of an early end to the bond buying program is weighing on market sentiment.
Even as investors speculate on what the Fed will do, it is a good idea to see what major money managers are thinking. One way to find out what money managers are thinking is by looking at their most recent 13F filings. Most money managers have already filed their 13Fs for the first quarter of 2013. We went through some of them to find out what major funds are buying and selling.
D.E. Shaw Still Betting on Apple
D.E. Shaw & Co., a global investment management firm based in New York City, seems to be bullish on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). Since touching an all-time high of $705.07 last year, Apple shares have struggled amid concerns over increasing competition from Samsung. Year-to-date, shares of the Cupertino, California-based company have fallen nearly 14.50%. Despite the disappointing performance, D.E. Shaw is still bullish on the technology giant.
Apple was the fund’s top holding at the end of the first quarter. As of March 31, 2013, D.E. Shaw held 5,608,381 shares of Apple. The fund’s other top holdings included Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.B), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN), and American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG).
During the quarter, D.E. Shaw also opened several new positions. Some of the new positions included Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL), Actavis Inc. (NYSE: ACT), Amphenol Corporation (NYSE: APH), CommVault Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CVLT), and Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM).
D.E. Shaw reduced its position in Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), JP Morgan & Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS). Meanwhile, the fund sold out its position in AU Optronics Corp. (ADR) (NYSE: AUO).
Elliott Management Reduces Holdings in JP Morgan
New York City-based Elliott Management also filed its 13F recently. At the end of the first quarter of 2013, the fund had $4.60 billion in assets under management. Elliott was a net buyer in the first quarter, indicating that the fund is bullish on the market.
However, the fund is not bullish on banking giant JP Morgan. During the quarter, Elliott reduced its position in the New York City-based bank, which was recently under pressure to split the role of Chairman and CEO. JP Morgan shares have had an excellent in 2013 so far, gaining over 26.20%, outperforming the S&P 500. Investors in general have been bullish on U.S. banks due to their strong balance sheets and improved lending environment. At the end of the first quarter, Elliott held 1,500,000 shares of JP Morgan Chase & Co.
The fund also reduced its position in NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP), Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC), VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY), and ServiceNow Inc. (NYSE: NOW).
During the quarter, Elliott added to its position in Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN). At the end of the quarter, the fund held 1,380,000 shares of SWN. The fund also added to its position in Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: UPL), and Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU).
At the end of the first quarter, Elliott’s top holding was Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES).
Third Point Bullish Sells Entire Position in Herbalife
Third Point’s latest 13F filing showed that the fund sold out its entire position in Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF). HLF has been under significant pressure from short sellers. As of April 30, 2013, short interest in HLF stood at 47.50% of the company’s total float.
Third Point also offloaded its entire position in Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF), Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE), and PVH Corporation (NYSE: PVH) among others.
Although Third Point was a net seller during the first quarter, the fund did start some new positions. The fund opened new positions in Sothebys (NYSE: BID), Hess Corp., Chimera Investment Corporation (NYSE: CIM), Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF), and Apple among others.
The fund’s top holding at the end of the first quarter of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) even though it reduced its position in the Sunnyvale, California-based company, which has been undergoing a major transformation under new CEO Marissa Mayer. At the end of the quarter, Third Point held 62,000,000 shares of YHOO common stock. Yahoo has had an excellent run in 2013, highlighting the fact that the efforts of new CEO are being welcomed by the market. Year-to-date, YHOO shares have gained over 32.60%.
SAC Capital Adds Several New Positions
Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital added several new positions during the first quarter of 2013. However, the fund was still a net seller by $1.51 billion worth of stocks during the quarter. As of March 31, 2013, SAC Capital had $20.73 billion in assets under management.
During the first quarter of 2013, SAC Capital added new positions in Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ: DNDN), Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP), AstraZeneca Plc (ADR) (NYSE: AZN), Select Comfort Corp. (NASDAQ: SCSS), and The Fresh Market Inc. (NASDAQ: TFM) among others.
In the first quarter, SAC Capital also added to its position in online retailer Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). In fact, AMZN was in the fund’s top 5 holdings at the end of the first quarter. At the end of the quarter, the fund held 883,824 shares of AMZN common stock. Amazon shares have had a decent run in 2013, gaining nearly 7.90%, year-to-date.
SAC Capital reduced its position in News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA), Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE: SHW), and social networking giant Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB).
The fund, meanwhile, sold its entire position in AOL Inc. (NYSE: APL) during the first quarter of 2013.