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Norway’s Central Bank Sells Apple Stock. It Bought Nvidia, Plug Power, and NIO.

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The iPhone 13 displayed at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store

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Norway’s central bank recently trimmed its exposure to iPhones, and increased investments in the ecosystem of alternate-fuel vehicles, and graphics chips.

Norges Bank sold


Apple

(ticker: AAPL) stock, and bought up shares of


Nvidia

(NVID),


Plug Power

(PLUG), and


NIO

(


NIO

) in the fourth quarter. The bank disclosed the stock trades, among others, in a revised form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

Norges said it doesn’t comment on individual investments. The bank had total assets of $1.47 trillion as of the end of 2021.

The bank sold 26.8 million Apple shares to end the fourth quarter with 142.1 million shares of the maker of iPhones and Mac computers. Apple stock soared 33.8% last year, topping the 27% rise in the

S&P 500 index. So far this year, the shares have slipped 13%, but that’s less than the 12% drop in the index.

Apple’s product-launch event last week unveiled products including a 5G version of the iPhone SE, and Mac Studio, a computer aimed at design professionals. At the end of January, Apple reported strong earnings for the December-ended quarter. One observer earlier this month noted that shares of Apple and other big-tech companies could be ready to rise.

Nvidia is another high-profile tech stock that is deeply in the red so far in 2022. Shares of the graphics-chip giant are down 25% year to date. Nvidia stock had a boffo 2021, however, rocketing 125%. Norges Bank more than tripled its holdings by buying 15.4 million more Nvidia shares to end 2021 with 21.3 million shares.

Nvidia scrapped a planned proposal to acquire chip designer Arm in early February. Later that month, Nvidia reported a strong fiscal fourth quarter, and CEO Jensen Huang said the company was “seeing exceptional demand.” Nvidia stock slid despite the numbers and strong guidance, but Wall Street remained upbeat on the shares.

Shares associated with electric and alternative-fuel vehicles aren’t exactly coasting so far in 2022. Plug Power, a hydrogen fuel-cell-technology firm, has seen shares slide 13% year to date, while American depositary receipts of Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO have tumbled 49%. Plug Power and NIO shares didn’t have a smoother road in 2021, logging respective losses of 17% and 35%.

In the fourth quarter, Norges Bank bought 2.6 million additional Plug Power shares and 3.2 million more NIO ADRs to end 2021 with 7.4 million Plug Power shares and 13.7 million ADRs of NIO.

Plug Power earlier this month announced fourth-quarter losses were wider than expected, but guidance was upbeat, and we’ve noted the hydrogen technology’s profile has been on the rise. Meanwhile, NIO shares recently began to trade in Hong Kong, where they ended in the red on the first day they were listed. NIO’s sales fell in February from January, and other Chinese EV companies saw the same trend. Last week, one analyst pointed to two reasons for weakness in the ADRs of NIO and other Chinese EV makers.

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.

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