Dutch pension giant PGGM made some major moves in its U.S.-traded stock investments.
In the fourth quarter, PGGM initiated a stake in
stock (ticker: V), and tripled its investment in
stock (MSFT). It also sold most of its investment in
stock (AAPL) and exited
Wholesale (COST) altogether. PGGM disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
PGGM, which managed total assets valued at $279.5 billion as of the end of 2019, didn’t respond to a request for comment on its stock trades. PGGM’s U.S.-traded stocks alone were valued at $17.7 billion at Dec. 31.
Visa stock surged 42.4% in 2019, compared with a 28.9% rise in the
index. Card companies have benefited as tech challengers have essentially ceded the payments space to the incumbents, we noted. Visa stock has tacked on an additional 9.1% in 2020, and shares were supported by the company’s agreement to acquire fintech firm Plaid for $5.3 billion.
PGGM bought 633,850 Visa shares in the fourth quarter after not owning any at the end of the third quarter.
The fund also bought an additional 1.1 million Microsoft shares in the fourth quarter, lifting its stake to 1.6 million shares.
Microsoft stock also outperformed the market in 2019, surging 55.3%. And that upward trajectory has continued in the new year. Shares have gained 4.7% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.0%. At least one analyst expects Microsoft stock to continue rising; we noted that Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss thinks the company may be the best cloud provider for corporations.
PGGM slashed its holdings in Apple stock by 1.4 million shares in the fourth quarter, ending 2019 with 597,905 shares.
Apple stock rocketed 89% in 2019, fueled by demand for the iPhone 11. We suggested in December that Apple might consider a stock split. That hasn’t happened, but shares continue to rise. Apple stock has gained 8.4% in January.
PGGM sold all of its 491,000 Costco shares in the fourth quarter. The retailing giant’s shares soared 44.3% in 2019 and have gained 5.6% to start the new year.
One observer, we noted, sees a case for Costco stock to move even higher, and even sees a much-anticipated special dividend.
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.