Equities

Viking Shifts $1.1B to Apple, Cuts Meta, Exits Alphabet

Viking Global reallocates Big Tech portfolio, exiting Alphabet and reducing Meta, while boosting stakes in Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon.

By Alex P. Chase

5/15, 18:04 EDT
Apple Inc.
Amazon.com, Inc.
Clorox Company
Dollar Tree, Inc.
Alphabet Inc.
Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Meta Platforms, Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Skechers U.S.A., Inc.
U.S. Bancorp
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Key Takeaway

  • Viking Global exits Alphabet and slashes Meta stake, reallocating over $1.1 billion into new positions in Apple and Microsoft.
  • Fund boosts Amazon holding by 40%, diversifies with investments in Clorox, Dollar Tree, Skechers, and Las Vegas Sands.
  • Shift away from thematic ETFs noted amid $4 billion outflow; investor interest cools on disruptive tech in favor of Big Tech stability.

Big Tech Reshuffling

Ole Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global Investors made significant adjustments to its portfolio in the first quarter of 2024, particularly within the technology sector. The hedge fund completely exited its position in Alphabet, selling off nearly 3.3 million shares worth more than $450 million. Additionally, Viking Global drastically reduced its stake in Meta Platforms by approximately 75%, decreasing its holding from over 2 million shares, valued at over $1 billion, to under 750,000 shares, equating to around $355 million. Despite these sell-offs, Viking Global increased its investments in other areas of the tech industry.

New Positions and Increases

Viking Global initiated new positions in Apple and Microsoft, purchasing more than 3.8 million shares in Apple valued at $660 million, and nearly 1.6 million shares in Microsoft worth over $670 million. Furthermore, the fund increased its stake in Amazon by 40%, bringing its total holding to more than 1.9 million shares, valued at over $1.2 billion. These moves reflect a strategic reallocation of resources within the tech sector, highlighting Viking Global's confidence in these companies despite the broader market's uncertainty regarding tech valuations after a strong performance in 2023.

Diversification Beyond Tech

In addition to its tech-focused adjustments, Viking Global diversified its portfolio by initiating positions in non-tech companies such as Clorox, Dollar Tree, Skechers, and Las Vegas Sands. The fund also more than doubled its stake in U.S. Bancorp, making it the sixth-largest position in its portfolio. This diversification strategy indicates Viking Global's approach to balancing its investments across different sectors, potentially mitigating risks associated with the tech industry's volatility.

Thematic ETFs and Market Trends

The broader market saw a shift in investor interest, with nearly $4 billion withdrawn from thematic ETFs in the current year, following a $4.6 billion outflow in 2023. This trend is attributed to higher interest rates and the strong performance of Big Tech funds, which have diminished the appeal of thematic ETFs focused on disruptive technologies. The closures of several ETFs by providers like Defiance ETFs and Global X reflect the challenging environment for high-growth, often unprofitable companies that populate thematic ETFs. Additionally, the recent outflows from Hong Kong-listed spot bitcoin and ether ETFs underscore the volatility and investor caution in the cryptocurrency space.