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Giant Pension Slashed Intel, Tesla Stakes. It Scooped Up Covid-Vaccine Makers.

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Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board cut more than three-quarters of positions in chip giant Intel and electric-vehicle maker Tesla, and bought Moderna and Pfizer stock in the first quarter.

Courtesy of Intel Corporation

One of the largest pensions in the world recently made big changes in its investment portfolio.

Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board slashed positions in chip giant

Intel

(ticker: INTC) and electric-vehicle maker

Tesla

(TSLA) in the first quarter, while materially raising stakes in Covid-19 vaccine makers

Moderna

(MRNA) and

Pfizer

(PFE). CPPIB, as the agency is known, disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The CPPIB, which managed $411 billion in assets as of March 31, declined to comment on the stock trades.

CPPIB sold 2.3 million Intel shares in the first quarter to cut its investment to 452,880 shares.

Intel stock soared 28.5% in the first quarter, but since then it has slid 10.8%. In comparison, the

S&P 500 index

rose 5.8% in the first quarter, and has gained 5.8% in the second quarter so far.

Intel’s first quarter, reported in late April, crushed estimates, but shares slid on disappointing data-center revenue. Some analysts are worried about what they see as Intel’s larger problems. For its part, Intel recently disclosed an investment in a payments company.

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CPPIB sold 150,255 Tesla shares to end March with only 46,051 shares of the EV maker.

Tesla stock slipped 5.3% in the first quarter, and so far in the second it has dropped 6.4%.

Tesla saw a setback to its “top pick” status in Consumer Reports last week. It has seen a headwind of PR issues lately. Some are waiting for Tesla CEO Elon Musk to return to being a complete bull on Bitcoin.

CPPIB’s increased investment in Moderna and Pfizer came at a time when the head of the pension fund flew to the U.A.E. to get a Covd-19 vaccine shot. The Wall Street Journal reported in late February that CPPIB CEO Mark Machin apparently made the move to sidestep the Canadian queue for a dose. Machin resigned the day after the report; he didn’t comment, and no laws were broken.

The pension bought 541,970 additional Moderna shares to end the first quarter with 1.3 million shares, and more than doubled its Pfizer investment to 13.8 million shares by buying 7.7 million more shares.

Moderna stock soared 25.3% in the first quarter, while Pfizer stock slipped 1.6%; so far in the second quarter, they are up 41.3% and 6.9%, respectively.

Moderna is currently seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for its vaccine for adolescents. Pfizer has started a new trial for a booster dose. Both companies reported strong quarters earlier this month.

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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