Inside Scoop: A Giant Investor Bought AT&T, Microsoft, and Apple Stock. Here’s What It Sold.

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British Columbia Investment Management Corp. bought shares of AT&T, Microsoft, and Apple in the second quarter, and trimmed a position in Electronic Arts. BCI handles $130 billion in assets.

Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

One of the largest asset managers in Canada made substantial changes to its U.S.-traded investments.

British Columbia Investment Management Corp., or BCI, handles investment services to the province’s public sector, including a number of public pensions. BCI materially raised investments in
(ticker: T),
(MSFT), and
(AAPL) stock in the second quarter. It trimmed an investment in Electronic Arts (EA). BCI disclosed the trades in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

BCI, which managed $130 billion of assets as of March 31, declined to comment on the stock transactions.

The investment manager bought 351,114 additional AT&T shares in the second quarter to lift its investment to 1,150,203 shares of the telecom and media giant.

AT&T stock has been about flat in the third quarter through Friday’s close, and remains down 23.2% year to date. By comparison, the
S&P 500 index,
a measure of the broad market, has gained 8.8% so far in the third quarter, and is up 4.4% in 2020.

A recent acceleration in cord-cutting has hurt AT&T and its peers. AT&T unit WarnerMedia ousted the leadership of HBO Max, a streaming service, earlier this month shortly after its launch. One AT&T insider has been an active buyer of shares on the open market this year.

BCI picked up an additional 444,487 Microsoft shares to end the second quarter with 1,250,141 shares of the software giant.

Microsoft stock have surged 32.5% so far this year, including a 2.6% rise in the third quarter.

Microsoft announced earlier this month that it was delaying “Halo Infinite,” the latest entry in a popular videogame franchise. The announcement sent ripples through the sector, and it means that the latest Xbox console will make its debut without a Halo title. Microsoft is more than just games, though, and fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings, reported in July, were strong. Also, the company confirmed it has had talks to acquire the U.S. operations of social-media platform TikTok.

The investment manager bought 215,927 more Apple shares in the second quarter, ending June with 701,965 shares of the iPhone maker.

Apple stock has surged 56.5% so far in 2020, including a 26% rise in the third quarter.

There is speculation that Apple could bundle its music, video, news, and gaming services. Apple’s market value is closing in on $2 trillion after a strong earnings report and an announcement of a stock split.

BCI sold 28,118 shares of videogame maker Electronic Arts, lowering its investment to 807,854 shares.

Electronic Arts stock is sitting on a 30.6% year-to-date gain, including a 6.3% rise since the end of June.

Electronic Arts reported a record fiscal first quarter at the end of July, capitalizing on people who are seeking entertainment while staying indoors. There has been speculation that the company could announce a big acquisition, as Electronic Arts has several billions of dollars in cash.

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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