Is Apple’s Fall Shaking Out Big Shareholders?

Monday was a sour day for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Shares of the world’s largest tech company were off as much as 1.6 percent in morning trading, riding a wave of generally negative market movement. Besides Mr. Market bringing his bad mojo to the table, Apple’s losses were exacerbated by news that Fidelity Contrafund, the company’s largest active shareholder, cut its investment by 10 percent between December and the end of February.

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Fidelity Contrafund — a $92 billion equity mutual fund run by Will Danoff — reported holding 10.43 million shares of Apple at the end of February, a $4.6 billion stake, according to Reuters. This compares to an 11.56 million share stake at the end of December. As it stands, Apple makes up 5.2 percent of the fund’s net assets, and is its second-largest holding.

In line with a broad trend seen across top funds, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) won Danoff’s heart and is now the fund’s largest holding at 5.8 percent of net assets. In March, Citigroup research showed that Google was the top position among 50 hedge funds surveyed. Apple moved two number four on the list, with AIG (NYSE:AIG) and News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS)(NASDAQ:NWSA) coming in second and third, respectively.

Reduced interest in Apple’s stock is not necessarily surprising given the price movement over the past few months. Funds that built up a position in the company in 2012 are currently taking losses on their investments. Funds that invested in the company before 2012 could be interested in taking profits now and leaving their money in a more stable stock. Many analysts are projecting a bump second quarter and first half of 2013.

Reuters reports that Contrafund is up 9.18 percent this year, ahead of 64 percent of funds in the large-cap growth category. However, this return still lags the S&P 500 index, which has grown 10.6 percent.

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