Alaska Bought Up Gilead, Lilly, and Wells Fargo Stock. Here’s What It Sold.

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Alaska’s Department of Revenue materially increased investments in Gilead Sciences and Eli Lilly stock in the third quarter.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Alaska’s Department of Revenue made big changes in some of its biggest holdings in U.S.-traded equities.

The state agency, which is charged with collecting and investing funds for public purposes, materially increased investments in

Gilead Sciences

(ticker: GILD) and

Eli Lilly

(LLY), two companies working on treatments for Covid-19, in the third quarter. The Department of Revenue also bought more

Wells Fargo

(WFC) stock and cut holdings in

Bank of America

(BAC). The Alaskan agency disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Alaska’s Department of Revenue, which managed $8.1 billion in U.S.-traded equities as of Sept. 30, didn’t respond to a request for comment on its stock transactions.

The agency bought 253,419 more Gilead shares in the third quarter, raising its investment to 749,107 shares of the biotech.

Gilead stock slid about 18% in the third quarter, and the shares are now down about 2% for the year to date through Friday’s close. By comparison, the

S&P 500 index,

a broad measure of the market, is up 7.6% this year.

Gilead announced in September that it had agreed to acquire


(IMMU), which has a promising new treatment for cancer, Trodelvy. Gilead’s earlier deals for companies developing cancer treatments haven’t paid off yet. Gilead has come into focus in recent days as President Donald Trump was treated with its antiviral drug remdesivir, to help speed his recovery from the coronavirus.

The department of revenue bought 130,879 additional Lilly shares, raising its investment in the drug giant to 326,523 shares as of the end of September.

Lilly stock slid about 10% in the third quarter, but remains up about 19.4% for the year.

Lilly’s sales in the second quarter, reported in July, were disappointing. The company is testing a Covid-19 antibody drug In nursing homes. There were upbeat remarks on Lilly at our latest Roundtable. A few days ago we noted that Lilly served up an anti-Covid-19 cocktail.

Wells Fargo stock has dropped every quarter this year, and now stands at a year-to-date loss of 53%.

One analyst thinks there is “too much opportunity” to ignore in Wells Fargo stock. One prominent investor in the bank,
Warren Buffett

Berkshire Hathaway



), recently cut its stake. Moody’s has noted that the bank has been slow to overhaul governance.

Alaska’s Department of Revenue bought 175,587 more Wells Fargo shares in the third quarter to lift its ownership to 1,123,879 shares.

The agency sold 379,085 Bank of America shares in the third quarter to cut its stake to 1,343,519 shares.

Bank of America stock hasn’t recovered from a 40% plunge in the first quarter, and shares remain down 28% year to date.

Bank of America, and other large banks including Wells Fargo, suffered a setback when the Federal Reserve extended restrictions on share repurchases and dividends for banks with more than $100 billion in assets for at least one more quarter. Berkshire Hathaway has been buying up Bank of America, and lifted its investment to more than 1 billion shares in the summer. In September, the bank issued a $2 billion sustainability bond, with a focus on racial equality, economic opportunity, and the environment.

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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