Warren Buffett and his team at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) went out buying stocks in this last quarter according to the firm’s quarterly report. Sadly, no one outside of Buffett, Combs, and a few other people know which positions were added to. 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of likely add-on positions and the rationale behind each.
Some positions which we expect ro would just assume are in Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA), Verisk Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC). Just keep in mind that Berkshire Hathaway is granted “Confidential Treatment” in some positions, so it is possible that many others are present but not known by the public.
The total invested was $23.9 billion in the quarter and that appears to be more than any quarter of the last decade and then some. Almost $7 billion of that was classified as equities. Keep in mind that the $5 billion for BofA and the $9 billion or so for Lubrizol were a part of the total figures.
Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) was not in the prior holdings one quarter ago, but what we do know is that Buffett came to the rescue with a $5 billion preferred share purchase where Buffett also gets all of those warrants. Technically this will not appear in the mid-November filing that shows Buffett’s September 30, 2011 holdings. It doesn’t matter. This is now one of his larger positions.
Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG) was listed as a new of 1,497,800 shares a quarter ago and our take is that Buffett (actually Todd Combs) will have bought more shares in a recent secondary offering. There is a reason this was one of our own Top Stocks To Own for the Next Decade.
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) is one we continue wonder why Team Buffett lightened up on. The team already pledged long ago to wind out if ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and that really never happened. Berkshire’s latest Exxon position was 421,800 shares, which saw the same as before but lower than the 1.276 million shares originally. Buffett cannot easily just put a few billion to work in most companies, but he easily could accomplish that in Exxon.
Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) was a recent position and it was almost doubled in the last quarter to some 405,000 shares. With how well this performed and with its toll-keeper business model we would just assume that Team Buffett still likes it and maybe likes it even more.
Verisk Analytics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) was another new position and it seemed an odd fit for Team Buffett. That is likely because it was Todd Combs making the call. The position was 2,101,125 shares worth “only” about $72.7 million as of June 30. If they liked it before, maybe they liked it again.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is another retailer that we belive Team Buffett may have warmed to for dividends and for valuation. This position was raised in 2010 but has held steady at just over 39 million shares. If you see that Wal-Mart is barely 1% off of its 52-week high, it sure seems as though some investors might be betting that the old man in Omaha decided that good things were happening in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) has long been Warren Buffett’s favorite bank and he has gradually been adding shares more and more through time. This position was just over 368.6 million shares and it has grown each quarter of late. If Team Buffett was adding big positions, it seems that they might have kept their finger on the “buy button” here even when you consider the BofA $5 billion preferred share and warrant investment.
Berkshire Hathaway’s most current portfolio of equity holdings is available here.
JON C. OGG