Big Investor Tripled Its AMC Stake and Bought Apple, NIO, and Nikola Stock

Big Investor Tripled Its AMC Stake and Bought Apple, NIO, and Nikola Stock

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DNB Asset Management materially raised investments in some of the most volatile stocks, including AMC Entertainment, Apple, NIO, and Nikola.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A large European asset manager loaded up on volatile stocks in its U.S.-traded investment portfolio.

DNB Asset Management more than tripled its investment in movie-theater chain AMC Entertainment Holding (ticker: AMC), and significantly raised investments in Apple (AAPL), Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO ( NIO ) and electric-truck maker Nikola ( NKLA ). The unit of Norway’s largest financial-services firm DNB disclosed the fourth-quarter trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.DNB Asset Management, which manages nearly $70 billion in assets, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the stock trades.

The asset manager bought 123,545 more AMC shares in the fourth quarter to lift its investment to 172,064 shares as of the end of December. AMC stock rose nearly 13 times in price in 2021, compared with a 27% rise in the S&P 500 index. So far this year, shares have slid 24.4% compared with a 2.2% drop in the index.

AMC stock was boosted by investors posting on social media and message boards, but the so-called meme stock also got a lift in December from the latest Spider-Man film. Shares changed directions in 2022, starting with a big drop. Large stock sales by CEO Adam Aron were a drag on the price.

DNB Asset Management bought 780,459 more Apple shares to raise its holdings to 4.6 million as of Dec. 31. Apple stock surged 34% in 2021, but so far this year, shares have slipped 2.5%.

Apple’s market capitalization briefly reached $3 trillion earlier this month. The company’s fourth-quarter shipments of Mac computers surged, according to the market-research firm IDC, while AirPods were strong sellers over the holidays.NIO American depositary shares slid 35% in 2021, while so far in 2022 they are down 2.3%.

The stocks of NIO and other Chinese companies with U.S. listings have been under pressured through much of 2021 as they faced concern that they might eventually have to delist in this country as Washington and Beijing spar over compliance with accounting standards.

On the plus side for the auto maker, however, is widespread optimism about the outlook for electric vehicles. Analysts have been weighing in with upbeat commentary this year. One analyst thinks NIO’s American depositary receipts can double in price, while another sees NIO’s sales surging 50%.

DNB Asset Management bought 144,250 more NIO ADRs to end the fourth quarter with 833,746 ADRs.

The manager also added 60,837 Nikola shares to end 2021 with 249,443 shares. Nikola stock tumbled 35% in 2021, and so far this year it has gained 2.1%.

Nikola removed an overhang on the shares in December by agreeing to pay $125 million to settle civil fraud charges with the SEC, without admitting or denying the agency’s findings. Later that month, Nikola posted a photo of its first customer delivery and promised more were on the way. In January, Nikola announced that it had an agreement to sell an initial 10 electric trucks to USA Truck ( USAK ) in a deal that gives the trucking company and broker an option to buy 90 more vehicles. The news sent shares higher.

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 and follow @BarronsEdLin.

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