Facebook Inc. (FB) was a favorite among U.S. hedge funds in the first three months of 2018, viewing the stock's massive sell-off in March in the wake of its headline-making data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica as an opportunity to buy the FAANG stock at a discount. (See also: Facebook: 'Cheapest Stock in the S&P 500'?)
According to required Form 13F filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), some of the biggest names in the hedge fund world, including the "Tiger Cubs" Lone Pine, Viking and Tiger Global—all founded by analysts who once worked for Julian Robertson of Tiger Management—bought the social networking company's stock during the first quarter. Hedge funds made $1.37 billion in net purchases of FB in Q1, more than any other stock, as reported by Bloomberg.
In the first three months of 2018, Viking Global Investors more than doubled its stake in Facebook with another 5.5 million shares, bringing its total value to $1.49 billion and marking the firm's biggest U.S. equity position as of the end of the quarter, according to its SEC filing. Tiger Global increased its stake by 2.6 million shares to 5 million, while Dan Loeb's Third Point bought another 600,000 shares of FB. A handful of other hedge funds including Suvretta Capital Management, Soroban Capital Partners and Coatue Management also began investing or upped their stake in Facebook stock.
Apple Loses Favor
Not all were so adamant on FB in Q1, including Jana Partners, a hedge fund that has pushed tech giants to take action in fighting tech addiction among youth. Jana Partners sold 474,000 shares of FB in the first quarter and bought up 271,000 shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) over the period.
Meanwhile, hedge funds such as Appaloosa Management sold off their stakes in the iPhone maker in Q1. The hedge fund run by billionaire David Tepper dumped its entire stake in the Cupertino, California-based tech giant after Tepper reportedly agreed to buy the Carolina Panthers football team from founder Jerry Richardson for $2.2 billion.
According to the Symmetric database, hedge funds sold a total of 28.6 million shares of Apple in Q1, as reported by CNBC.
The move runs counter to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s (BRK.A) applause for Apple in Q1, as the legendary investor demonstrated his confidence in the company with another 75 million shares bought in Q1. Buffett has since said that he would buy the entire company if he could. (See also: Gates, Buffett Double Down on Praise for Apple.)