Apple Win for Renaissance

Chidem Kurdas

Understanding Renaissance Technologies’ moves is difficult because many of its trades are short-term, a result of temporary market conditions that an outside observer can’t detect in retrospect. Even so, it is interesting to watch the giant hedge fund manager’s bet on Apple Inc. 

Renaissance put a lot into Apple—increasing its stake in 2009 and again last fall, to around $560 million.

Numerous funds hold the computer maker and other technology companies, though not necessarily on the scale that Renaissance does. For several years the technology sector as a whole has been regarded as undervalued, having never fully recovered from the stock bubble collapse in 2000. But some tech stocks recently surpassed their peak valuations.

Renaissance bought many tech names and its portfolio included a position in Microsoft valued at more than half a billion dollars. Late last year it sold Microsoft shares—just a small part of the holding, but a contrast to Apple, where the number of shares held by Renaissance almost doubled.

A robust increase is expected in Apple’s earnings for the fourth quarter—to be announced Tuesday.  While iPad cut into the computer market, Apple’s own PC sales remained strong even as the tablet challenged other computer makers.

Apple stock went from below $300 a few months ago to almost $350 at Friday close.  Looks like Renaissance had a good apple harvest.

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