Cue the Apple "iCahn" jokes. Apple's stock topped the $500 mark Wednesday for the first time since January. Shares moved higher for a second day on the news that activist investor Carl Icahn has taken a "large" position in the company.
Shares crossed the psychologically important level and climbed as high as $504.25 in afternoon trading, before settling just below the mark at $498.50.
Still, the recent gains have boosted Apple's value by $28 billion in just two days ... to more than $452 billion.
Apple's (AAPL) stock has been on a roller coaster ride during the last year, as investors have grown worried about a lack of new products. Shares hit a 17-month low below $400 in April. Even though they've clawed back lately, Apple's shares are still almost 30% below the all-time high above $700 reached last September.
Icahn, who is known for taking large stakes in companies so he can influence management to make changes, revealed his investment in Apple in a pair of tweets Tuesday afternoon. He said he believes the company is "extremely undervalued." He also said that he and Apple CEO Tim Cook had a "nice conversation," during which he pushed for a large share buyback soon.
According to news reports, Icahn's stake is valued at $1.5 billion and he wants Apple to increase the company's $100 billion dividend and buyback plan to $150 billion. The size of Icahn's position in Apple will likely be revealed this week in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Apple said in a statement Tuesday that it appreciates "the interest and investment of all our shareholders, and confirmed that Cook and Icahn "had a very positive conversation."
Icahn isn't the first activist hedge fund manager to urge Apple to do more with its cash. David Einhorn slammed Apple for "hoarding" billions in cash back in February. Two months later, Apple announced its plan to return $100 billion to shareholders over the next three years through a dividend and share buybacks.
Walk by any Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), and the lines for burritos and tacos usually appear endless. Investors are hungry for the stock too. It's up nearly 30% this year and approaching 52-week highs.
That's not a good thing for two fund managers who have been making big bets against Chipotle's stock. Both Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn and Doubleline Capital's Jeff Gundlach have said they are shorting Chipotle.
Hedge fund managers might like Chipotle's burritos, but some are betting against the company's stock.
Last October, Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn revealed a bet against Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). On Wednesday, bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach of investment firm DoubeLine Capital joined him in talking down the fast food chain.
"I like the products," Gundlach admitted. Yet, he said, "A gourmet burrito is an oxymoron. All you need to compete with its MOREMaureen Farrell - May 9, 2013 12:16 AM ET
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.
Issuing preferred shares that pay a big dividend may not be the best use of Apple's more than $137 billion of cash and liquid investments. But hedge fund manager and Apple shareholder David Einhorn, who MOREPaul R. La Monica - Feb 12, 2013 12:01 PM ET
Activist investor David Einhorn publicly called for Apple (AAPL) to give some of its $137 billion cash hoard to back to shareholders in the form of preferred stock.
Einhorn said in a press release Thursday that he has held meetings with Apple executives explaining how they could unlock "several hundred billions of dollars" by distributing a perpetual preferred stock. Apple, he said, rejected the proposal in September 2012.
"Like many other shareholders, Greenlight is dissatisfied with Apple's MOREMaureen Farrell - Feb 7, 2013 4:00 PM ET
Shares of Monster Beverage (MNST) sank as much as 8% Friday on chatter that hedge fund manager David Einhorn may soon announce a short position in the energy drink maker.
If Einhorn is going to short Monster, it would not be a huge shock. He has made waves in the past few years for successfully shorting other consumer stocks that some believe were fads, such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) MOREPaul R. La Monica - Jan 18, 2013 12:38 PM ET
It looks like David Einhorn's latest prediction may be coming true.
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), which Einhorn recently recommended shorting, got slammed after the casual restaurant chain reported earnings that fell short of forecasts. And, although revenue was roughly in line with estimates, investors were disappointed.
Chipotle's stock sank more than 10% after-hours Thursday. On Friday, shares fell more than 15% before gaining back some ground.
I fortuitously bumped into Einhorn MOREMaureen Farrell - Oct 19, 2012 10:23 AM ET
Hedge fund manager David Einhorn's newest short target: Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG).
Greenlight Capital's Einhorn thinks Taco Bell, owned by Yum Brands (YUM), will eat Chipotle's lunch with its new Cantina-style menu.
Chipotle was one of four stocks that Einhorn discussed during his presentation at the Value Investing Congress in New York. He also spelled out a case for why investors should buy General Motors (GM) and health insurer Cigna (CI). MOREMaureen Farrell - Oct 2, 2012 12:56 PM ET
Chasing David Einhorn can be a dangerous investing game. Investors in a tiny ethanol company should consider themselves warned.
Ethanol producers, particularly BioFuel Energy (BIOF), have been struggling this year. The drought in the Midwest isn't going away, and in late August, BioFuel Energy's investors learned that revenues for the first half of 2012 were down 20% from 2011.
But for the past two weeks, shares of BioFuel Energy, which are still MOREMaureen Farrell - Sep 17, 2012 4:47 PM ET
It looks like hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who has become something of a Delphic oracle to investors, scored big again Monday.
Last week, Einhorn's hedge fund Greenlight Capital disclosed stakes in several health insurance firms, including Aetna (AET) and Coventry Health Group (CVH), as part of his fund's quarterly reports to the SEC . He acquired these positions sometime in the second quarter. The Supreme Court's June 28th decision to MOREMaureen Farrell - Aug 20, 2012 3:44 PM ET