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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reveals three new secret buys

The company cut its Apple stake, still holds $120 bn

Warren Buffett | Berkshire Hathaway | US markets

Katherine Chiglinsky | Bloomberg 

Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway's stock portfolio was valued at more than $135 billion at the end of June
Warren Buffett and his investment deputies, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, reshaped the portfolio over the last year as Covid-19 struck the US

Warren Buffett’s revealed three stock acquisitions that it snapped up in secret, including new bets on and Verizon Commu­nications that sent their shares up, and cut its stake in the last three months of 2020.

Berkshire also bought stock in insurance brokerage Marsh & McLennan, disclosing three wagers that were granted confidential status and not revealed in a third-quarter regulatory filing, according to an updated document released Tuesday. The Apple stake reduction left Berkshire with a holding valued at about $120 billion at the end of 2020, according to another filing. The iPhone maker remains Berkshire’s biggest single stock holding.

Buffett and his investment deputies, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, reshaped the portfolio over the last year as Covid-19 struck the US.

The company was heavily invested in the banking sector, which has done well in the pandemic but is exposed to consumer finances and commercial real estate.

The conglomerate has spent recent months lightening up on some of those lenders, while maintaining bets on firms such as Bank of America.

Berkshire cut a few bank holdings, exiting JPMorgan Chase & Co, PNC Financial Services Group and M&T Bank Corp while slashing its Wells Fargo & Co stake by 59 per cent.

The company also shifted recent bets on drugmakers by increasing stakes in Merck & Co, Abbvie and Bristol-Myers Squibb. It ended a recent investment in Pfizer.

Gold, GM

Berkshire also exited a bet on Barrick Gold Corp The stake was a surprise when it was revealed last year, given Buffett’s years of criticising investments in the precious metal. The company also trimmed its wager on General Motors Co., cutting that holding to a stake valued at roughly $3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter.

Some of the new stakes were sizeable. Berkshire held an investment in valued at nearly $4.1 billion at the end of 2020, while its Marsh & McLennan bet was valued at $499 million. Berkshire accumulated a $8.6 billion stake in Verizon, a company that it had previously bet on but cut in 2019.

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First Published: Thu, February 18 2021. 02:02 IST