One of America’s largest public pensions has made big changes in some of its largest investments.
In the second quarter, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio nearly halved an investment in chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (ticker: AMD), and bought more shares of semiconductor rival Intel ( INTC
), telecom firm AT&T (T), and cafe chain Starbucks (SBUX).
STRS Ohio, as the pension is known, disclosed the stock trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The pension Ohio didn’t respond to a request for comment. It managed $98 billion in assets as of June 30, 2021.
STRS Ohio sold 603,740 AMD shares to end the second quarter with 663,882 shares. The stock dove 47% in the first half of the year, compared with a 21% drop in the S&P 500 index . So far in the third quarter, shares are up 24% and the index is up 9.1%.
A bill to subsidize the construction of semiconductor plants in the U.S., if signed by President Joe Biden into law, wouldn’t mean a quick fix for the sector in general or AMD in particular because the company outsources manufacturing. We named AMD CEO Lisa Su to our latest list of top CEOs, and credit her with overseeing a 2021 sales increase of nearly 70%; Intel’s revenue was roughly flat. At least one observer has noted AMD taking market share from Intel as of late.
Intel stock tumbled 27% in the first half; so far in the third quarter, shares are down 3.0%. Intel’s second-quarter earnings, reported last week, fell far short of expectations, sending shares plunging. Investors had been bracing for bad news in the face of a slump in PC sales, but they weren’t prepared for such a spectacular earnings miss. Earlier this year, we suggested that Intel should cut its dividend.
“Simply put, the $6 billion a year Intel has slated for paying shareholders would be better used for R&D and growing or maintaining its capital-spending investments,” we wrote.
The pension bought 435,873 additional Intel shares to end the second quarter with 1.9 million shares.
STRS Ohio bought 392,845 more AT&T shares to lift its investment to 3.5 million shares. The stock rose 8.2% in the first half of the year, and so far in the third quarter shares are down 10%.
AT&T is leaner now than in years past, having spun off its media assets in April as Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) in a combination with Discovery. AT&T’s second-quarter report, in July, sent shares lower, but one analyst wrote that it “was actually good,” citing strength in the company’s core business. AT&T’s chief financial officer has suggested the company might have to consider price hikes.
Inflation this year has already seen Starbucks raising prices, even as storied CEO Howard Schultz returned for a third stint heading the company. We think the worst is already behind Starbucks, and we noted how shares outperformed during Schultz’s last round as CEO.
Starbucks stock fell 35% in the first half of the year, and so far in the third quarter shares are up 11%.
STRS Ohio bought 161,455 additional Starbucks shares to end the second quarter with 738,559 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.