If you needed more evidence that fund
managers are nervous about tech demand, look no further than disclosures from the nation's biggest fund company that since last spring, it's been steadily dumping holdings in
Fidelity has auctioned off stakes equivalent to about 5% of the shares of each stock.
Over the past few months, investors have grown increasingly bearish on PC and chip companies, due to
worries about a delayed recovery in IT spending. Ever-cheaper valuations haven't been enough to attract much bargain-hunting.
Offering more proof of that sentiment, mutual fund behemoth
on Wednesday revealed that since its last
Securities and Exchange Commission
filing in mid-April, it has slashed its stake in Apple by more than half. It now owns 4.9% of the stock with 17.8 million shares, down from 10.2%, or 36.4 million shares.
In the three months, dating from April 10, Apple stock has given up 29% of its value.
Citing weak demand for its computers, Apple warned in June that sales could come in as much as 13% below its earlier estimates.
A Fidelity spokesperson said the firm doesn't comment on the reason for changes in its holdings.
The fund company's biggest stake in Apple has been in the $726 million
Fidelity Select Computer fund. As of last February, the fund had invested a whopping 8.4% of its assets in Apple, according to Morningstar.
Through the beginning of June, the Select Computer fund had lost just over 30% of its value.
Fidelity Finds Fault
Besides slashing its Apple weighting, Fidelity also cut its stake in Lattice Semiconductor to 9.5%, from 15% in mid-February. It now claims holdings of 10.4 million shares, down from 16.4 million shares.
The maker of programmable logic devices has lost 59% since Feb. 14.
Capital Research and Management Co.
, which runs the American Funds, disclosed that it trimmed holdings of communications chipmaker
. Capital Research is the third-largest fund company in the U.S., based on assets under management, according to research firm Strategic Insight.
Since Feb. 11, the date of its last SEC filing, it has sold off 307,000 shares of PMC-Sierra. With 19.6 million shares, it retains an 11.9% stake in the company. PMC has lost 65% of its value in that period.
PMCS has posted losses for four quarters in a row, with analysts expecting another loss for the June quarter of 8 cents.
A Capital Research spokesperson did not return a call for comment.
In one interesting exception to the selloff, though, Fidelity has slightly raised its stake in
Advanced Micro Devices
. The company, which plans to roll out a new line of processors later this year, has in the meantime come under intense pricing
pressure from competitor Intel.
AMD is expected to post a loss of 45 cents this quarter, far worse than its 3-cent loss last quarter. In mid-June, the company warned that revenue could fall as much as 31% below its earlier guidance, due to weak demand for PCs. The chipmaker also has said it expects to lose market share in the just-ended quarter.
Between Feb. 13 and July 10, Fidelity bought nearly 9 million shares in the chipmaker, giving it holdings of 35 million shares.
It now owns 10.3% of the company, up from 7.7%. Despite the institutional support, AMD has lost 42% of its value in the same period.