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Apple's Largest Shareholder Cuts Stake 10 Percent

Monday, 1 Apr 2013 | 12:56 PM ET
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Portfolio manager Will Danoff, whose $92 billion Fidelity Contrafund is the largest active shareholder in Apple, cut its stake in the company by 10 percent during the first two months of 2013.

Danoff began trimming his Apple holdings late last year, but the recent monthly update from Boston-based Fidelity shows deeper cuts in the maker of iPhones early this year.

Apple shares were down 1.8 percent at $435.35 in Monday morning trading on Nasdaq. The stock is off 38 percent since hitting an all-time high of $705.07 in late September. Rival smartphone makers such as Samsung Electronics have gained broader consumer acceptance, making the terrain more difficult for Apple.

Apple dropped to Contrafund's No. 2 holding, behind Google. Danoff, considered one of the best stock pickers among mutual fund managers, has outperformed the S&P 500 by 3.3 percentage points a year over the past 15 years while running Contrafund.

In 2012, Apple was by far the fund's top individual contributor, Danoff said in a recent shareholder update. Although he has cut his position amid a steep price decline, he said he still views Apple as an inexpensive blue-chip stock.

The Contrafund reported holding 10.43 million shares of Apple worth $4.6 billion at the end of February, according to Fidelity's latest monthly update for the fund. It owned 11.56 million of the shares at the end of December.

Google accounted for 5.8 percent of Contrafund's net assets, and Apple made up 5.2 percent, according to Fidelity's disclosure. In November, the latter accounted for 8.2 percent of Danoff's holdings. Contrafund is Apple's second-largest overall shareholder, after the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund.

Contrafund is up 9.18 percent this year, beating 64 percent of the funds in the large-cap growth category, but it trails the 10.6 percent return on the S&P 500 index.

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