By Tim McLaughlin
BOSTON, April 1 (Reuters) - Portfolio manager Will Danoff, whose $92 billion Fidelity Contrafund is the largest active shareholder in Apple Inc, cut the fund’s stake in the iPhone maker 10 percent during the first two months of 2013.
Danoff began trimming his Apple stake late last year, but the latest monthly update from Boston-based Fidelity shows deeper cuts in the early part of 2013.
Apple shares were down 1.8 percent at $435.35 in Monday morning trading on Nasdaq. The stock is off 38 percent since hitting an all-time high of $705.07 in late September. Rival smartphone makers such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd have gained broader acceptance from consumers, making life more difficult for Apple.
Apple dropped to the No. 2 holding in Contrafund behind Google Inc. Danoff, considered to be one of the best stock pickers among mutual fund managers, has outperformed the S&P 500 by 3.3 percentage points per year over the past 15 years while running Contrafund.
In 2012, Apple was by far the fund’s top individual contributor, Danoff said in a recent shareholder update. Although he has cut his position in the company amid a steep price decline, Danoff said he still views Apple as an inexpensive blue-chip stock.
The Contrafund reported holding 10.43 million shares of Apple worth $4.6 billion at the end of February, according to Fidelity’s latest monthly update for the fund. The fund owned 11.56 million Apple shares at the end of December.
Google accounted for 5.8 percent of the fund’s net assets. Apple made up 5.2 percent, according to Fidelity’s disclosure. In November, Apple accounted for 8.2 percent of Danoff’s holdings. Contrafund is Apple’s second-largest overall shareholder after the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund .
Contrafund is up 9.18 percent this year, beating 64 percent of the funds in the large-cap growth category. But the fund is trailing the 10.6 percent return on the S&P 500 index.