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Re: BullNBear52 post# 120297

Friday, 02/15/2019 11:24:48 AM

Friday, February 15, 2019 11:24:48 AM

Post# of 120381
Stocks Were Down, but Berkshire Hathaway Didn't Buy Much --

DOW JONES & COMPANY, INC. 11:19 AM ET 2/15/2019

Symbol Last Price Change
BRK/A 307292.04down +3402.04 (+1.12%)
JPM 105.2052down +2.7852 (+2.72%)
GM 38.95up +0.06 (+0.15%)
BAC 29.0667up +0.6767 (+2.38%)
AAPL 169.95down -0.85 (-0.5%)
WFC 49.29down +0.77 (+1.59%)
BK 52.71down +0.94 (+1.82%)
USB 51.2down +0.74 (+1.47%)
QUOTES AS OF 11:15:51 AM ET 02/15/2019

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A) added a surprisingly small amount of stocks to its huge equity portfolio during the fourth-quarter market decline.

Based on a Berkshire securities filing Thursday, Barron's calculates the company's net purchases of stock during the quarter were less than $1 billion, compared with net buys of more than $12 billion in the third quarter. The Berkshire equity portfolio totaled $183 billion at the end of the year.

Berkshire's equity purchases are closely watched as an indication of CEO Warren Buffett's views about the stock market and individual stocks.

The S&P 500 was down 14% in the fourth quarter.

Two longtime Berkshire investors told Barron's that they expected bigger equity purchases given the company's huge cash balance of more than $100 billion and its continued inability to land a major acquisition that would put that money to work.

Berkshire bought more than $13 billion of bank stocks in the third quarter.

The relatively light stock purchases in the context of a weak market backdrop have spurred talk that Berkshire could have aggressively bought back its own shares. It repurchased about $900 million in stock during the third quarter -- the first quarter of its buyback program.

The scale of the buybacks will be clear when Berkshire reports its earnings. The results are expected on Feb. 23.

Berkshire's largest equity purchases in the fourth quarter were JPMorgan Chase(JPM) , at about $1.5 billion; General Motors(GM) , at $700 million; and Bank of America(BAC) , at $500 million.

Berkshire trimmed its Apple(AAPL) holding, its largest equity position, by nearly three million shares to 249.6 million shares. Buffett remains a big Apple(AAPL) fan and Berkshire holds about 5% of the company -- a stake worth $39 billion.

Berkshire sold a $2.1 billion stake in Oracle (ORCL) in the quarter and trimmed its holding in Wells Fargo(WFC) by about $750 million. The Wells Fargo(WFC) sale appears to have reflected a continuing effort by Berkshire to keep its holding under a 10% regulatory cap as Wells Fargo(WFC) continues to buy back stock. Berkshire holds about 9% of Wells Fargo(WFC) and Bank of America(BAC) and has 8% stakes in Bank of New York Mellon(BK) and U.S. Bancorp(USB) .

Financials represent the largest sector weighting in the Berkshire portfolio at more than 40%.

Class A stock in Berkshire was up $2,745 at $307,500, for a 0.9% gain on Friday morning.

Write to Andrew Bary at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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