E Baby Steps Won’t Take Berkshire And Buffett Anywhere

Last week, Berkshire Hathaway released its fourth-quarter 13F. Investors closely follow the filing to gain insights about what Warren Buffett is buying and selling. While Buffett’s recent performance versus the S&P 500 hasn’t been great, he is still amongst the best investors of all time.

Berkshire Hathaway’s top buys

Talking of Berkshire’s fourth-quarter 13F, there were a few surprises. It took a new stake in Kroger (KR) and Biogen (BIIB). Berkshire also boosted its stake in Occidental Petroleum (OXY) in the quarter. It also added S&P 500 ETFs. At the end of the quarter, Berkshire held 43,000 units of Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) and 39,400 units of SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Overall, it holds around $25 million in S&P 500 ETFs. Notably, last year, Buffett admitted that Berkshire might be able to only modestly outperform the S&P 500. However, last year, it underperformed the index by around 20 percentage points.

Top sells in the fourth quarter

While these were the surprise buys, there were some surprise sells as well. Berkshire sold most of its stake in Travelers Companies (TRV). It first took a stake in the company in the third quarter of 2018. Berkshire also sold more than 55 million shares of Wells Fargo (WFC), trimming its stake in the bank by roughly 14%. It also lowered its stake in Goldman Sachs (GS) by 34%.

Along with these notable buys and sells, there were some other transactions as well. Berkshire trimmed its stake in Apple (AAPL) by around 1%. It also sold some shares of Bank of America (BAC) and Bank of New York Mellon (BK). Berkshire also cut its stake in American Airlines (AA) and almost exited Philips 66 (PSX). Meanwhile, it increased stakes in General Motors (GM), Suncor Energy (SU), and RH (RH). Berkshire first took a stake in RH in the third quarter of 2019.

No major activity

Meanwhile, overall, Berkshire’s buying activity was moderate in the fourth quarter. It was also likely a net seller of shares in the quarter. Notably, Berkshire Hathaway is sitting on a $128 billion cash pile according to its third-quarter filings. We’ll get an update on its cash holdings when it releases its annual results sometime later this month. The report would also contain the annual shareholder letter from Warren Buffett. Over the years, Buffett has interacted with investors through his letters, sharing his pearls of knowledge.

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Beating Buffett 4 weeks ago Member's comment

What do you think #Buffett's best and worst calls were?

Kurt Benson 4 weeks ago Member's comment

If I recall, I believe #Buffett said his biggest regret was missing out on #Amazon $AMZN.

Alexa Graham 1 month ago Member's comment

Which massive acquisition did Buffett speak about? I must have missed it.

Mohit Oberoi 1 month ago Author's comment

He said that he is looking for a big acquisition. He did not named any target

Mohit Oberoi 1 month ago Author's comment

Well, #Buffett himself admitted to mistakes in $IBM, $ORCL, and Kraft Heinz. He also admitted missing out on $AMZN and $GOOG

Wannabe Warren 1 month ago Member's comment

I know, I was joking :) Though he is great.

Mohit Oberoi 1 month ago Author's comment

Undoubtedly amongst the greatest investor of all times :)

Wannabe Warren 1 month ago Member's comment

#Buffett is never wrong!