While the stock market struggled to build momentum at the beginning of this year, Warren Buffett stayed true to his philosophy and continued to invest in his favorite companies. Courtesy of a new filing, we now have a peek at how the Oracle of Omaha deployed capital in the first-quarter.
Many institutional investment managers recently filed their mandatory 13-F with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The filing is a quarterly report of equity holdings required by managers that oversee more than $100 million in qualifying assets and must be filed within 45 days of the end of each quarter. The 13-F provides a glance at what firms did in the previous quarter, but investors should keep in mind that hedging and trading strategies of each fund are still unknown.
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA) made several changes during the first three months of the year. The company raised its stakes in Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), and DaVita Healthcare Partners (NYSE:DVA). There was also a new position in Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) worth $524.4 million. However, Berkshire Hathaway reduced its positions in General Motors (NYSE:GM), DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV), and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX).
Berkshire Hathaway’s biggest investments include some of the most popular blue chips known to Wall Street. Here’s a look at Berkshire’s top ten holdings, according to dollar value at the end of March. This list does not include Buffett’s option to purchase 700 million shares of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) at any time prior to September 2021 for $5 billion.
10. DaVita Healthcare Partners
YTD: 6.9 percent
During the first-quarter, Berkshire raised its stake in DaVita by more than 1.1 million shares to 37.6 million shares, worth about $2.6 billion. While Buffett is typically responsible for billion-dollar positions at Berkshire, he is not likely the buyer this time. Ted Weschler, one of Buffett’s hand-selected portfolio managers, is the major bull behind DaVita. Weschler joined Berkshire in early 2012, but records show that he has been investing in DaVita for more than a decade.
YTD: 23.3 percent
Berkshire held 34.5 million shares of the satellite provider at the end of the first quarter, down 2 million shares from the previous quarter. However, since shares have surged higher this year, the position was worth $2.6 billion compared to $2.5 billion in the fourth-quarter.
8. U.S. Bancorp
YTD: .40 percent
The Minnesota-based bank continues to be a favorite with Buffett as Berkshire increased its stake by nearly 706,000 shares to 80 million shares during the first-quarter, worth $3.4 billion. In comparison, the position was worth $2.9 billion in the prior quarter.
7. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM)
YTD: -.40 percent
Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, is a relatively new position for Berkshire, but already one of its biggest. Berkshire held 41.1 million shares at the end of the first-quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter. The total position was worth about $4 billion at the end of March.
6. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)
YTD: -1.1 percent
During the first-quarter, Berkshire kept its stake in Procter & Gamble unchanged at 52.8 million shares, worth $4.3 billon. While shares finished 2013 near 52-week highs, it is in slightly negative territory this year.
YTD: -2.4 percent
Berkshire increased its stake in the world’s largest retailer to 58.1 million shares in the first-quarter, up about 8.5 million shares from the prior quarter. Berkshire’s total position was worth $4 billion at the end of March. Wal-Mart recently announced disappointing quarterly financial results that were blamed on the weather, but Buffett typically takes a longer-term view with his major investments.
4. International Business Machines
YTD: -.60 percent
The information technology company is one of the most influential blue chips in the market, and one of Buffett’s biggest holdings. Berkshire held 68.4 million shares of the company at the end of the first-quarter, worth $13.2 billion. During the first three months of the year, Berkshire purchased 233,100 shares of IBM.
3. American Express (NYSE:AXP)
YTD: -3.5 percent
Berkshire held 151.6 million shares of the credit card giant at the end of the first-quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter and worth $13.6 billion.
2. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)
YTD: -1.9 percent
Coca-Cola is known as one of Buffett’s favorite stocks. In fact, Buffett is on record saying he will never sell his shares in the world renowned beverage company. At the end of the first quarter, Berkshire held 400 million shares, worth $15.5 billion.
1. Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)
YTD: 8 percent
The nation’s most profitable bank is also Buffett’s top holding. Berkshire held 463.5 million shares of Wells Fargo at the end of the first-quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter. At the end of March, the total position was worth $21.7 billion.
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