Institutional investors haven’t been this skeptical on Apple Inc. since at least the financial crisis. They reduced their holdings in the iPhone maker by about 153 million shares in the first three months of the year, an analysis of 13F filings showed. That’s the biggest decrease since at least the first quarter of 2008 when Bloomberg started tracking the data. It’s also the most among any S&P 500 stock in the first quarter. —  Elena Popina, Bloomberg, May 15, 2018

“Reading through the article would give you a very bearish view of Apple,” Bill Maurer writes for Seeking Alpha. “Now I found it interesting that the article did not contain one of two key words: Buyback or repurchase.”

“Why do I say that? Well, Apple management repurchased a massive amount of shares during the quarter, reducing the outstanding count by nearly 140 million in the period. When a company reduces its outstanding share number by that much in a single quarter, it’s a significant number of shares less for investors to own,” Maurer writes. “In fact, Bloomberg shows how institutional investors have been selling Apple shares quite a bit in the past four calendar quarters. Well, the company has been buying back shares for years now, reducing the outstanding count from over 6.5 billion to under 5 billion. It’s simple math that tells us that there just aren’t as many shares available to own.”

“The Bloomberg article talking about massive institutional selling in Apple is misleading at best,” Maurer writes. “While it may be true that the most shares in a quarter were sold since 2008, it doesn’t necessarily mean the street is the most bearish about the name since the financial crisis. Overall, Apple is reducing its share count significantly, which likely has a natural selling impact on institutional holdings.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable. ― Mark Twain

Apple bought back a record $23.5 billion shares on the cheap in Q1 as Wall Street naybobs nattered negativity – May 3, 2018