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Let's Talk About Whales

LazyFA - Let's Talk About Whales

Disclaimer: All data is sourced from SEC 13-F filings, and note that these figures are estimates and may differ significantly due to the recent large moves in tech stocks. For the most part the calculations should be accurate but because institutional ownership is relative to market cap, it can be skewed if there's a big change in stock price compared to the point the holdings data was reported. I've tried to ensure the market cap comparison is current, but it can still be a bit fucky due to the fact that the holdings data is from Q2 and Q3 hasn't been fully reported yet (for example TSLA market cap at the time of the 13F filings for Q2 was $200ish billion, so 97B in holdings represents 48% ownership. The value of those holdings should increase proportionately to the share price so theoretically if you extrapolate it out to today, it should be the same (96.11 million shares * 5 for the split) * 418.32 last close = $201 billion / current market cap of approx $400 billion, yadda yadda ... it's close enough). It's also possible I'm just dumb and my calculations are wrong, so take this w/ a grain of salt and please point out any errors you see! K. Onward, noble gentry.

So for something I was working on for LazyFA recently I wanted to create some new little code snippets that would aggregate and display various stats on price performance and institutional holdings. Watching institutional holdings has led to some interesting discoveries in the past, not the least of which is the recent one that SoftBank basically went balls out and goosed the nasdaq like a /r/wallstreetbets YOLO'er.

Since I just finished these little snippets to aggregate that data, I decided to put them to use and check out how institutions as a whole have behaved over the last several years. I don't know if this really provides any interesting findings, but I'll share my thoughts along the way. Here's what I found:


Apple's institutional holdings have been pretty static over the last five years, increasing only about 2.47% over that time period. Whales seem to pretty much stick around 58-62% ownership in AAPL. That didn't stop that ownership from increasing over half a trillion bucks in value though, increasing from a value of $425 billion in 2015 to $931 billion in 2020. Over that time, Apple's share price has appreciated 330% from $28 to $120 (split adjusted). Summary: (Note that shares for institutional ownership are pre-split, so multiply the share numbers by 4 to get current holdings. The percentages don't change) What I find interesting about AAPL is that as a whole, institutions actually decreased their holdings over the last three months (by 137M shares/548M post split) and still "made" $276B thanks to the massive tech rally (note I say "made" because this isn't profit, per say, it's an increase in the value of their holdings, which obviously (hopefully) they're not going to dump, but it's still interesting to me!) Ok anyway - onto the next:


Amazon has seen institutions decrease their holdings about 10% over the last five years. Compared to Apple's increase of 2.47% this is a pretty drastic difference, but still the whales hold 287.43 million shares of AMZN worth almost $800 billion, or about 57.47% of the company. Over that time, the value of their holdings has appreciated over $654B despite their decreasing stake, thanks to AMZN's colossal 536.59% return over that time period. AMZN's institutional holdings also decreased over the last three months, like AAPL's, but still increased in value over $230 billion or about 41.45% over that time, compared to the price appreciation in AMZN of only 30.53%. Does that mean they "beat" the market? Maybe I'm misinterpreting that data but that's what it seems to suggest to me. Maybe I'm retarded, please share your thoughts there. Here's a summary:


Microsoft is similar to AAPL in that their institutional holdings seem to hover around the same level. It's about 70% owned by institutions and has hovered between 70-75% over the last five years. MSFT has appreciated 388% during that time, while the value of whale holdings has increased from $255B to over $1T (323%). I dunno about you guys, but my portfolio hasn't increased $824 billion in the last five years. Pretty wild. Here's a summary:


Facebook is the first one we're looking at with a significant INCREASE in institutional holdings over the last five years, as whales have increased their stake about 10.42% from 54.85% to the current 65.27%. Over that same time period, Facebook stock has appreciated 215%, taking the value of their holdings from $132B to $422B, an increase of about 219% which is pretty much in line w/ the market. Here's a summary:


Whales have been unloading Netflix over the last five years, down about 6% over that time period, but NFLX has by far the highest institutional ownership level of any we've looked at so far, at over 80% of the company valued at $161 billion. Over the last five years the value of these holdings has increased from $34 billion to $161 billion, an increase of 373% vs the stock's appreciation of 443.5%. Summary:


Google is another pretty boring one IMO. It's about 66% owned by whales, a level which has stayed pretty static over the last five years. It's only dropped about 2.5% over that time. Institutions seem to be pretty chill holding onto GOOGL and just maintaining their investment. Over that time the value of these holdings has gone from $251B to $637B as the stock increased 145% from $643 to its current price. Here's the summary:

And last but not least ...


I found this one the most interesting (I mean really what did we expect lol). Over the last five years institutions have decreased their stake by 13.75%, and 8.56% of that was in the last 12 months. Total institutional ownership right now hovers around 48%, which is worth about $97 billion (96 million pre-split shares, so about 500 million now). What I find most interesting about TSLA is that even though institutional ownership has decreased about 2% in the last three months, as a whole, institutions added about 2.53 million TSLA shares which means the reason that their percentage has decreased is related to the change in TSLA's market cap. I'm not an expert but I suspect this has something to do with the retard-strength rally of 120% over the last 3 months, or maybe the fact that TSLA has gone from a split-adjusted $49 to $418, a whopping 742% increase over the last five years. Here's the summary for that:

Alright that's enough for now. Like I said I don't know if this really yields any interesting info but my takeaways from it are pretty straightforward:

1) Whales are unloading TSLA, AMZN, and NFLX on average over the last 5 years, but they own a ton of NFLX relative to the others I looked at

2) Whales are loading the boat on FB. Long FB calls or somethin, I dunno

3) Whales are pretty static on GOOGL, AAPL and MSFT.

4) I'm poor and whales are rich