Huge Pension Makes Big Bets in Apple, Microsoft, Shopify, and Tilray Stock

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British Columbia Investment Management raised stakes in Apple, Microsoft, and Shopify, and initiated a stake in marijuana stock Tilray.


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A giant Canadian pension recently made major changes in its biggest investments.

British Columbia Investment Management raised stakes in

Apple

(ticker: AAPL),

Microsoft

(MSFT), and

Shopify

(SHOP), and initiated a stake in marijuana stock

Tilray

(TLRY) in the second quarter. BCI, as the pension is known, disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

BCI, which manages $160 billion in assets, declined to comment.

The pension bought 317,253 additional Apple shares to end the second quarter with 3.1 million shares.

Apple stock gained 3.2% in the first half, and so far in the third quarter has added 8.9%. Shares haven’t kept up with the market this year. The

S&P 500 index,

for comparison, rose 14.4% in the first half, and so far in the third has gained 4.0%.

The iPhone maker’s recent changes to privacy settings in its operating systems could benefit

Unity Software

(U). The company is reportedly making some updates to its camera functions for the newest iPhone models. Current bipartisan legislation is targeting the way Apple operates its app store.

BCI bought 444,580 more Microsoft shares to end the second quarter with 1.7 million shares. The stock soared 21.8% in the first half of 2021, and so far has gained 8.1% in the third quarter.

Microsoft’s fiscal fourth quarter, reported in late July, was strong. The software giant also sees double-digit revenue growth ahead. It could benefit from sales of its Office software packages, and from its LinkedIn unit, which could see increased worker mobility, job listings, and ad spending.

Shares of Shopify, a provider of cloud-based e-commerce software, soared 29% in the first half, and so far in the third quarter it has added 2.5%.

Shopify remains a play on online shopping, and one analyst thinks the shares should be a “core investment holding.” Earnings have been strong, but investors worry that Shopify won’t be able to maintain its phenomenal growth during the pandemic.

One big investor in Shopify stock remains upbeat. “A lot of businesses realized during Covid that they need to have a web presence, and I think that’s permanent,” said Matthew Moberg, lead portfolio manager of

Franklin DynaTech

fund (FKDNX).

The pension bought 80,352 more Shopify shares to end the second quarter with 192,440 shares.

BCI initiated an investment of 858,264 Tilray shares in the second quarter. It hadn’t owned any at the end of the first. The stock more than doubled in price in the first half, and so far in the third quarter has slipped 26.4%.

Tilray’s May quarter was mixed, but a completed merger with Aphria may have jumbled consensus estimates. The stock got a lift, along with peers, when

Amazon.com

(AMZN) said earlier this year that it supported federal legalization of marijuana. This month, Tilray launched medical cannabis edibles in Canada.

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 edward.lin@barrons.com and follow @BarronsEdLin.

William Murphy

William Murphy

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