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A Giant Fund Bought EV Stocks NIO and Tesla, and Intel. Here’s What It Sold.

A NIO electric vehicle.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

South Korea’s sovereign-wealth fund recently made big changes in some of its biggest U.S.-traded stock investments.

Korea Investment Corp. substantially increased investments in electric-vehicle firms NIO (ticker: NIO) and Tesla (TSLA), bought more Intel (INTC) stock, and halved an investment in General Electric (GE) stock. The fund disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Korea Investment, which managed $20.2 billion in assets at the end of 2019, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the investment changes.

The fund bought 295,687 more American depositary receipts of NIO to end 2020 with 642,087 ADRs of the Chinese EV maker.

NIO ADRs rocketed more than 12 times in value in 2020. So far in 2021, through Friday’s close, they have gained 12.9%. In comparison, the S&P 500 index, a measure of the broader market, rose 16.3% in 2020, and is up 4.0% year to date.

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NIO ADRs have slumped in recent days, but the move appears to be the result of volatility ahead of the company’s earnings report, which is scheduled for March 1. NIO vehicles could be sold in the U.S. soon. Deliveries have been strong.

Korea’s fund bought 152,400 additional Tesla shares to end the fourth quarter with 409,900 shares of the EV giant.

Tesla stock soared nearly nine times in value last year, and has surged 10.7% so far this year.

Tesla earlier this month disclosed that it bought $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. One analyst thinks the company’s market value could be more than $1 trillion. Tesla recently cut car prices in Japan.

Intel stock slid 16.8% last year, but it has surged 26.5% so far this year, wiping out that loss.

Intel stock surged in January when the chip giant announced a CEO change. Shares slipped later that month when investors didn’t get the clarity they wanted about how the company will manufacture its next generation of chips. Outgoing CEO Bob Swan bought stock in his last weeks in his post.

The fund bought 709,461 Intel shares to end 2020 with 3.8 million shares.

Korea’s fund sold 2.5 million GE shares to lower its investment to 1.9 million shares.

GE stock slipped 3.2% in 2020, and year to date it has gained 11.3%, more than compensating for the previous year’s loss.

GE’s turn for the better has drawn compliments from a longtime bear on the stock, J.P. Morgan’s Stephen Tusa. Fourth-quarter free cash flow was strong, overshadowing a lackluster bottom line. Jeff Immelt, a former GE CEO, is assessing his legacy and the conglomerate’s status of recent years in a book to be published on Monday.

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 [email protected] and follow @BarronsEdLin

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