Largest U.S. Pension Bought AMC, AMD, and Block Stock. It Sold Netflix
May 17, 2022
The largest public pension fund in America stocked up on high-profile meme stock and tech stocks and reduced its holdings in a streaming behemoth before the price plummeted again.
In the first quarter, the California Public Employees' Retirement System increased its holdings of movie theater operator AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC), semiconductor maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Square parent Block (SQ) while decreasing its holdings of Netflix (NFLX).
The pension, known as Calpers, revealed the stock trades, among other things, in a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The pension did not respond to questions about the investment adjustments. It oversees $450 billion in assets, which is more than any other public pension fund in the United States.
Calpers purchased 155,992 AMC shares in the first quarter, bringing its total to 775,392 shares. Calpers has purchased the shares for the third quarter in a row. It announced a 116,400-shareholding at the end of the third quarter of 2021, then more than doubled that investment in the fourth.
The stock fell 9% in the first quarter, compared to a 5% drop in the S&P 500 index. So far in the second quarter, shares have fallen 51%, compared to an 11% loss in the index.
AMC shares were one of the most high-profile meme trades in 2021, with the company surging as regular investors used social media applications to encourage one another to purchase. The company's first-quarter earnings topped forecasts last week. Analysts have noticed an increase in box office revenue.
AMD is seeing increased growth, and its most recent quarter showed market gains at the expense of rival Intel (INTC). AMD's data-center business and the completion of the Xilinx purchase will reduce the company's exposure to PCs, an area where investors are concerned about weakening demand.
Calpers purchased 663,283 additional shares in the first quarter, bringing its total holdings to 3.3 million. The stock fell 24 percent in the first quarter and is down 13 percent so far in the second.
The pension also purchased 96,369 more Block shares, bringing its total stake to 860,876 shares. The stock dropped 16 percent in the first quarter and has dropped 48 percent so far in the second.
Block has taken a beating this year, but the firm has shown indications of resiliency. Block's first-quarter results, released in the first week of May, fell short of expectations, but the company's stock soared on the strength of its Cash App's increased gross profit. Analysts were optimistic about Block's app earlier this year.
Netflix is a stock in which Wall Street has lost trust, owing to its poor recent quarterly report and bleak prognosis, which predicted a net loss of millions of members. Netflix lost a bull, Bill Ackman, whose Pershing Square hedge fund sold its position at a loss as a result of the update.
Calpers sold 605,501 Netflix shares in the first quarter, bringing its total holdings to 1.2 million. The stock sank 38% in the first quarter and is down 50% so far in the second.