Hedge funds ditch Apple for AbbVie and Alibaba

Hedge funds flocked to Apple in the run-up to the launch of the iPhone 6, but new data shows the company is now the most sold position among some of world's largest funds.

Three of the top 10 U.S. hedge funds by equity holdings decreased their position in Apple and two funds moved out completely resulting in a $1.3 billion drop according to the quarterly "13F fillings" of investment firms' holdings analysed by S&P Capital IQ for the third quarter.

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A couple look at an Apple Inc. iPhone 6 at an Apple store in the China Central Mall in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A couple look at an Apple Inc. iPhone 6 at an Apple store in the China Central Mall in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

The move does not seem to have dented the technology giant's share price, which hit a record high of $115 on Monday.

After Apple, Chinese web services group Baidu was the second most-sold position with four of the top 10 decreasing their positions by a total of $921 million.

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Ken Griffin's Citadel and Israel Englander's Millennium Management were the top two hedge funds in terms of total equity holdings, followed by Renaissance Management which beat Carl Icahn's Icahn Capital to third spot according to the S&P Capital IQ Hedge Fund Tracker.

Energy and healthcare were the top sector buys thanks to some bumper merger and acquisition deals. Botox maker Allergan, which accepted a $66 billion takeover bid on Monday from Actavis, has been replaced as the top purchase, after the group spent months fending off a hostile bid by activist investor Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceutical.

AbbVie and Actavis are now the most sought-after pharmaceutical groups, with new positions totaling 1.9 billion and $1.5 billion respectively.

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Six of the 10 largest hedge funds now own U.S. drug maker AbbVie while seven own Actavis, making the healthcare sector is second top buy with $3.5 billion.

Abbvie abandoned its talks with UK drugmaker Shire for a £32 billion ($50 billion) takeover last month after a new U.S. rule discouraging corporate mergers that would lower a US firm's tax rate.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which wowed the global markets with its whopping $25 billion listing in New York in September, had five of the largest U.S. hedge funds take brand new positions totaling $1.4 billion.

The group posted record breaking sales of $9 billion on Singles' Day last week.