In aggregate, Main Street may have benefitted more than Wall Street from Apple's post-recession surge, as consumers flocked to devices like the iPhone and iPad. Asset manager accounts dominate Apple's largest shareholders, with no hedge funds among the company's top 15 holders, according to Bloomberg compilations of regulatory filings.
Overall, Fidelity, Vanguard and State Street are Apple's largest shareholders with over $18 billion stakes. For more on Apple shares, see the hedge fund managers scrambling to buy up shares.
Nevertheless, stock gains aside, data shows that the average American is still losing ground to the super-rich on the heels of the Fed's low interest rate policies.
In 2010, the average income of the 99% increased 0.2%, while the top income bracket gained 11.6%, capturing 93% of the overall 2.3% real income gain in the first recovery year, according to Saez of Berkeley's paper, titled Striking it Richer. The top decile share of income is 46.3%, higher than 2007, according to Saez.
If a dynamic of wealth losses by the middle class relative to the rich is set at the start of an upcycle, it augurs poorly for a narrowing of the wealth gap in coming recovery years.
That may especially be the case as key assets for the 99% like residential housing remain near cyclical lows, while other assets like stocks, commodities and alternative investments rocket higher.
While the data analysis lags a recent surge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, don't expect low interest rates to help the middle class gain ground against the 1%, stemming growing economic inequities.
"It is likely that this uneven recovery has continued in 2011 as the stock market has continued to recover. National Accounts statistics show that corporate profits and dividends distributed have grown strongly in 2011 while wage and salary accruals have only grown only modestly," writes Saez, who highlights the persistence of unemployment.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the elite are primed to continue to benefit from low rates. Since the crisis, hedge fund managers, the mega rich and Wall Street traders have been extolling virtues of a long held mantra "don't fight the Fed," which translated into English means that when the Fed is holding rates near zero, it's time to gorge on risk assets like stocks and commodities. Sayings like the "Greenspan Put" and the "Bernanke Put" take it a step further. Bet on the Federal Reserve spending billions to boost asset prices, regardless of whether growth or markets stall.