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Legendary Financier George Soros Bets Big on Amazon and Alphabet

The billionaire massively bought Amazon shares and strengthened his position at Alphabet in the midst of a market rout in the second quarter.
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The rout in financial markets in the second quarter did not scare billionaire George Soros.

The legendary investor shopped in the tech sector even as investors liquidated tech stocks on fears of recession. Indeed, the second quarter was marked by a fall in the Nasdaq index, which is dominated by technology groups. The Nasdaq lost nearly 23% between April 1 and June 30.

The rise in Federal Reserve rates to combat inflation, which was then the highest in 40 years, raised fears of a hard landing for the economy. Investors fearing a recession were liquidating their positions in risky assets. This particularly affects tech, which lives mainly on promises of future products and services.

"If I had to bet, I'd say that this might be one of the worst downturns that we've seen in recent history," Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of social media giant Facebook's parent Meta Platforms  (META) told employees on June 30.

Investors panicked when many tech groups including big names like Alphabet  (GOOGL) , parent company of Google, Meta, Microsoft  (MSFT)  announced they would freeze or slow down the pace of hiring. These announcements reinforced the fear that the future was uncertain.

Soros Has Also Boosted His Stake in Salesforce, Qualcomm

It now appears that Soros, 92, was not more worried than that. The iconic investor began betting heavily on Amazon. He thus massively bought shares of the e-commerce giant. As of June 30, his firm Soros Fund Management held 2,004,500 Amazon shares worth about $213 million, compared to 70,717 Amazon shares as of March 31, a regulatory document filed on Aug. 12 shows.

The firm also boosted its Alphabet shares by 10.4% compared to March 31. Soros Fund Management held 53,175 Alphabet shares as of June 30 worth $5.8 million, according to the SEC filing.

Since June 30, Nasdaq has rebounded more than 18% after somewhat reassuring second-quarter earnings from tech companies. Amazon shares, for example, have jumped more than 35% since June 30, while those of Alphabet are up 11.7% over the same period. Basically, Soros has already seen the value of his latest acquisitions increase.

Besides Alphabet and Amazon, Soros also acquired additional shares in Salesforce  (CRM)  and semiconductor maker Qualcomm  (QCOM) . Soros Fund Management holds 627,509 Salesforce shares, up 138.3% from March 31, and 229,582 Qualcomm shares, up 49% from three months earlier. His stake in Salesforce is now valued at $103.56 million.

Stock market regulations require managers of funds with more than $100 million in U.S. equities to file a document, known as a 13F, within 45 days of the end of the quarter to list their holdings in stocks that trade on U.S. exchanges.

The value of Soros' U.S. equity portfolio rose 5.3% quarter over quarter to $5.6 billion. Soros Fund Management is a family office that manages public and private equity. 

"SFM invests globally in a wide range of strategies and asset classes, including public equities, fixed income, commodities, foreign exchange, alternative assets and private equity," the firm said on its website.

Soros, whose net worth is estimated at $8.5 billion as of Aug. 12 according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is well known for pouring money into philanthropic efforts. Most of his firm's assets belong to Open Society Foundations, which supports "people across the world who work for justice, equity and free expression."