BlackRock cuts Microsoft stake below 5 percent

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – BlackRock (BLK.N: ), one of the biggest holders of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: ) shares, has cut its stake in the software company below 5 percent, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

The world’s largest asset manager, which oversees about $3.4 trillion in clients’ money, now owns about 425 million Microsoft shares, or 4.97 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, through its various fund units, according to data in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

At the end of last quarter, BlackRock’s major units held about 470 million Microsoft shares, according to Thomson Reuters data, about 5.5 percent of the company.

A number of fund managers, such as T. Rowe Price and Fidelity, have cut their holdings in Microsoft sharply this year, although some major hedge funds have snapped up shares.

The stock — which trades around the same level as it did in 2002 — is down 11 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent gain in the Nasdaq.

Last week, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer reported the sale of 49 million shares, which he said was for tax planning purposes.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Gary Hill)

BlackRock cuts Microsoft stake below 5 percent