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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Renaissance Technologies, the biggest quantitative hedge fund in the world, made more than 400 new purchases in the third quarter. But the hedge fund's move to cut stakes Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report, Google (GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report and several Dow components raises some eyebrows.

Renaissance Technologies' Web site promises "superior returns" for its clients and employees by adhering to mathematical and statistical methods. Several reports say that about half of the hedge fund's 275 employees hold doctoral degrees. The fund was started by Jim Simons nearly three decades ago and uses computer-based models to analyze and automate trades.

Jim Simons of the Renaissance Technologies

Apple remains the fund's largest holding as of Sept. 30, according to the latest 13F filing with regulators. RenTec, as Renaissance Technologies is known, doubled down on its Apple position in the second quarter but trimmed its stake by 282,000 shares in the third quarter. RenTec now owns 1 million shares of Apple with a market value of $399 million as of Sept. 30.

RenTec also sold 446,000 shares of

Google

(GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report

, lowering its stake to 107,000 shares total. While Apple has outperformed the broader market this year with a 17% gain, Google shares are up only 3.2%.

Hedge funds that manage more than $100 million are required to disclose their equity holdings, options and convertible debt on a Form 13F filed to the

Securities and Exchange Commission

within 45 days of the end of a quarter. Funds aren't required to report short positions betting on declines. RenTec ended the third quarter with nearly 2,600 reported holdings with a market value of $23.5 billion.

Overall, RenTec decreased its stake in 1090 positions and sold completely out of another 626 stocks, including blue-chip names like

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report

,

Verizon

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,

General Electric

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,

AT&T

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,

PepsiCo

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,

Amazon.com

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and

Comcast

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>>View Renaissance Technologies' portfolio

The quant fund's newest buys include unsexy names like

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

,

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Halliburton Company Report

,

Freeport-McMoRan

(FCX) - Get Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. Report

,

3M

(MMM) - Get 3M Company Report

, and

Emerson Electric

(EMR) - Get Emerson Electric Co. Report

.

RenTec also added to several other large positions, increasing stakes in more than 1,000 companies such as

Netflix

(NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report

,

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report

,

Schlumberger

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and

Disney

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.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

.

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