Apple takes hedge fund top spot: Citi

The Apple Flagship Store in New York City.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
The Apple Flagship Store in New York City.

Apple stocks were U.S. hedge funds' top holding during the second quarter this year, beating travel website Priceline and iPhone manufacturer Qualcomm to the winning spot, according to new research from Citi.

Eleven out of 50 hedge funds held Apple among their top-10 stocks, as hedge funds bolstered their IT holdings overall. Meanwhile, Twenty-First Century Fox was the biggest gainer in Citi's quarterly top-10 stocks review, featuring in eight hedge funds' top-10 lists.

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In the mutual fund space, Google remained the most widely held stock. Its stock appreciated 10.9 percent during the second quarter, outperforming the S&P 500 by a noteworthy 850 basis points.

Overall, mutual funds strongly favored the healthcare sector, however – rightly so, according to Tobias Levkovich, the Citi report's lead author.

(Read more: Hedge fund holdings day: Top managers show their hands)

"The portfolio of top holdings for mutual funds (up 5.5 percent) outperformed the S&P 500 due to its overweight posture in health care names," he said.

"Compared to mutual fund top holdings, the portfolio for hedge funds rose a more meager 2.3 percent and underperformed the S&P 500, albeit by just 10 bps in the second quarter, likely based on the greater preference for IT."

Pharmaceutical giant Merck and Dow component Cisco both rose in popularity among mutual funds, during the second quarter, while Pfizer fell off dramatically.

(Read more: Yahoo beats Google to top spot for US web traffic)

Levkovich added that healthcare stocks continued to outperform in the third quarter.

"Somewhat surprisingly, materials are leading the way in the third quarter, as mining stocks are pushing the sector higher, due in part to expectations of a turn in China, while discretionary and health care continue to outperform alongside industrials and IT."

By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave: Follow her on Twitter @jenny_cosgrave