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Apple Inc. (AAPL) Loved by These Investors You Should Be Watching

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL iPAd Pro

Apple Inc.  – time to buy. Many would scoff at that very idea after the tech giant provided a weak fourth-quarter revenue outlook. But contrarian investing is often the most rewarding. At least that’s what some of the biggest hedge fund managers seem to be following.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL iPAd Pro

Smart Money Sniffs Profit Potential

Top hedge funds bought new shares, or added to their existing positions, in Apple Inc.  during the second quarter, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management LP initiated a new position, and acquired 2.5 million shares of Apple as of June 30, while Philippe Laffont’s Coatue Management added 860,000 shares in the quarter to bring its total holdings to 8.5 million.

Other 13F filings showed Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management added 718,283 Apple shares during the three months ended June 30, giving it 7.6 million shares in all.  London-based Nevsky Capital LLP added 751,000 shares in the quarter, bringing its total stake to 2.6 million shares.

In addition, a SEC filing by Jana Partners revealed that it held Apple Inc.  call options valued at roughly $31.4 million as of June 30; a new position that would increase in value if the share price rose. Among other hedge funds, Tiger Eye Capital LLC increased its Apple holdings by 25,000 shares to bring its stake to 356,500 shares

From an investor stand-point, what is even more interesting is that all these positions were acquired on or before June 30, since when, Apple shares are down another 8 percent as of Friday close.

Apple Inc.  retains the crown of the most valuable company with a market cap of $657 billion. According to Goldman Sachs research, by the end of the first quarter, Apple was among the most popular hedge fund stocks, with 69 of the top 500 hedge funds, having the iPhone-maker in their top 10 holdings.

Apple’s Worries are a Blip on the Radar

There was one key negative aspect to Apple Inc. ’s earnings last month that caused some investors and analysts to lose faith. The iPhone maker said it expects sales for its fiscal fourth quarter to come in between $49 billion and $51 billion. The consensus on Wall Street was for a figure somewhere in the region of $51.13 billion.

Another question big on the minds of investors is what if the iPhone 6 is “as good as it gets”? This led to the stock being stuck in a rut. But if we dig a little deeper, we will realize that there has been no let-up in iPhone demand.

Compared to earlier iPhones, in this model cycle, a “record number” of people have switched from the Android to the Apple eco-system. On top of that, sales in emerging markets are looking more than encouraging, where a large number of Apple hard cores still haven’t upgraded to an iPhone 6.

The top hedge fund managers are obviously seeing something that most others just can’t. Follow the smart money and buy the stock.

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