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Senator Inhofe Dumped Apple Stock, You Might Not Have To


Mar. 23 2020, Published 7:35 a.m. ET

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is one of the big tech stocks that has borne the brunt of the coronavirus-induced sell-off. Apple stock fell 6.35% on March 20 and closed at $229.24. The stock fell by 18% last week. Now, the stock has fallen by more than 28% over the past month.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and PayPal have taken heavy blows from the coronavirus sell-off. Facebook stock fell 12% last week, which brought its losses over the past month to 30%. Alphabet stock has fallen 30% over the past month after falling 12% last week. Microsoft stock fell 14% last week, which brought its losses over the past month to 26%. PayPal stock has fallen 29% over the past month after falling more than 21% last week.

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Senator Inhofe sold Apple stock in portfolio shift

Several US senators sold shares in a number of companies shortly before the stock market crashed due to coronavirus fears. The senators included Senator Jim Inhofe. On January 27, he sold as much as $400,000 in shares of different companies. Inhofe’s sales included Apple stock. The lawmaker also sold shares in PayPal and Brookfield Asset Management.

Apple stock was trading at $308.95 on January 27. As of March 20, the stock was trading at $229.24, which represents a 26% drop from January 27.

Although Apple, PayPal, and Brookfield Asset Management shares have crashed due to the coronavirus sell-off, Senator Inhofe explained that his sale of the stock had nothing to do with coronavirus concerns.

Senator Inhofe said a financial adviser made the decision to sell the stocks and he wasn’t consulted, according to a report from The New York Times on March 20.

When Inhofe became chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he instructed his financial adviser to move his portfolio out of stocks into mutual funds, according to the report. He did so as a measure to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

The senator’s investment portfolio has been shifting from stocks to mutual funds since late 2018. Therefore, the January sale of Apple stock and other company shares was part of Inhofe’s investment portfolio transition rather than panic sale due to coronavirus fears.

Apple can weather the storm

The recent sell-off in Apple stock stems from fears that the coronavirus situation could destroy it. Indeed, the company issued a revenue warning last month. The company’s supply chain has been disrupted due to the virus outbreak. Lately, the company has limited iPhone purchases.

Although the virus outbreak poses a serious threat to Apple’s business, the company could survive the storm. Apple spends about $35 billion annually on operating expenses. The company finished the December quarter with $99 billion in net cash. The amount should be enough to foot Apple’s bills for a whole year even if it doesn’t sell a single product.


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