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HomeMarketLarge U.S. Pension Sells Alibaba, TSMC, MGM Stock. It Bought Harley-Davidson.

Large U.S. Pension Sells Alibaba, TSMC, MGM Stock. It Bought Harley-Davidson.

Alibaba Group Holding’s American depositary receipts slid 26% in 2022.

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One of the largest U.S. public pension plans made big changes in its investments, including Asian tech giants.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund cut its investments in
Group Holding (ticker: BABA),
Taiwan Semiconductor
Manufacturing (
), and
MGM Resorts International
(MGM), and doubled a stake in
(HOG) in the fourth quarter. The fund disclosed the stock trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the pension, declined to comment on the stock trades. As of Sept. 30, the fund’s estimated assets were $233.2 billion. It’s the third-largest U.S. pension by assets, according to Pensions & Investments.

The pension sold 79,212 American depositary receipts of Chinese internet giant Alibaba in the fourth quarter to cut its investment to 637,996 ADRs. Alibaba ADRs slid 26% in 2022, compared with a 19% drop in the
S&P 500 index.
So far this year, the ADRs are up 21%, while the index is 7.7% higher.

Alibaba ADRs were hammered last year as the company grappled with Chinese regulators. But ADRs began to rally in the fall on hopes for changes in China’s Covid-19 policy, and optimism leading up to a face-to-face meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. Easing regulation has helped the ADRs continue rising in 2023.

Taiwan Semiconductor, also known as TSMC, has rallied in 2023 as well, with ADRs of the world’s largest contract chip maker soaring 27%. They dove 38% in 2022.

TSMC ADRs got a boost in November, after
Warren Buffett
Berkshire Hathaway
) disclosed that it made a large initial investment in the company’s securities. In January, TSMC reported a record fourth quarter, but still expects “the whole industry to drop slightly.” The company plans to begin making 4-nanometer chips in a new Arizona plant in 2024.

New York’s pension sold 423,194 TSMC ADRs to lower its investment to 2.1 million ADRs at the end of December.

The fund sold 484,141 MGM shares in the fourth quarter to cut its stake to 677,981 shares. MGM stock dropped 25% in 2022, and so far this year shares are up 24%.

MGM, among other casino peers, was pressured in 2022 by Covid-19 closures and reopenings in Macau. MGM offered last May to acquire LeoVegas, a Swedish online gambling firm, and closed the transaction later that year. In January of this year, MGM committed to a 10-year license renewal in Macau. MGM reports fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 8.

Harley-Davidson reported strong earnings in 2022, a year that saw shares rise 10%. So far in 2023, shares are up 23%, and the strong earnings reports have continued as shipments soar.

New York’s pension bought 155,070 more Harley-Davidson shares to end the fourth quarter with 317,809 shares.

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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