Big Investor Bought Apple, Tesla Stock, and Sold Alibaba and XPeng

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DNB Asset Management bought more Apple and Tesla stock in the first quarter, slashed a position in Alibaba, and exited XPeng.

Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

A large asset manager made some big changes in its U.S.-traded stock investments.

DNB Asset Management bought more


(ticker: AAPL) and


(TSLA) shares in the first quarter, and slashed an investment in

Alibaba Group Holding

(BABA) American depositary receipts, and sold all ADRs of Chinese electric-vehicle firm


(XPEV). DNB Asset Management disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

DNB Asset Management, a unit of Norway’s largest financial-services firm DNB, didn’t respond to a request for comment. DNB Asset Management manages more than $70 billion in investments.

The asset manager bought 276,351 more Apple shares in the first quarter to end March with 3.4 million shares of the iPhone maker.

Apple stock slumped 8% in the first quarter while the

S&P 500 index

rose 5.8%. Since then, through Friday’s close, Apple stock has soared 7.6% while the index has risen 5.2%.

Apple’s fiscal-second-quarter report last week was laden with good news. Earnings trounced estimates, and the company lifted its dividend and boosted share repurchases. Revenue for the quarter ended March 27 was a record for a non-holiday period.

DNB Asset Management bought 20,000 additional Tesla shares to end the first quarter with 120,822 shares of the EV giant.

Tesla stock fell 5.3% in the first quarter, but since then it has gained 6.2%.

Tesla’s first-quarter report last week was generally strong, but shares slumped afterward on worries. Operating profit was less than expected, and gains from trading Bitcoin padded the bottom line. Tesla’s public image has been facing issues as of late. CEO
Elon Musk,
however, seems set to laugh it off; he’ll host “Saturday Night Live” on May 8.

Alibaba ADRs slid 2.6% in the first quarter, but have risen 1.9% since.

Legendary investor Charlie Munger recently made a bullish case for Alibaba ADRs in the face of low returns from Treasury bills. Some analysts see a recent fine from Chinese regulators is a positive for the online giant. The ruling seemed to offer closure for Alibaba investors after a turbulent few months.

DNB Asset Management sold 189,475 Alibaba ADRs to end March with 122,258 ADRs.

The firm ended the first quarter with no XPeng ADRs, having sold all 33,156 ADRs it had owned at the end of 2020.

XPeng ADRs slid 14.8% in the first quarter, and have lost 18.1% since the end of March.

ADRs of XPeng and other Chinese EV makers were pummeled in April, and one observer cited growing competition in the space. Notably, makers of conventional cars have been gunning for the EV firms. XPeng is headed by a former Alibaba executive who has traded barbs on social media with Tesla’s Musk.

Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Due to their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.

Write to Ed Lin at and follow @BarronsEdLin.

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