Big Portfolio Changes for Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway

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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) has released its holdings as of the end of the first quarter of 2014. We were originally not expecting many major changes to the portfolio. It turns out there were still some key changes for additions and deletions worth tracking. Among them was Warren Buffett‘s decision to dump shares of deeply troubled GM. He also increased his position in telecom giant Verizon, and the nation’s largest retailer — Walmart

When the company reported earnings, it listed the value of its equity securities as $116.16 billion as of March 31, versus $115.464 billion as of December 31, 2013. The actual Berkshire Hathaway 13F lists the total value at the end of March as $105.772 billion, versus the 13F showing $104.836 billion at the end of 2013.

Buffett’s quarterly report also showed that there had been gross gains from sales and other disposals of $1.004 billion. We also saw that as of March 31, 2014, approximately 56% of the total fair value was concentrated in the equity securities of just four top holdings:

  • Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) at $24.0 billion
  • The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) at $15.5 billion
  • American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) at $13.6 billion
  • International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) at $13.2 billion

As a reminder, some of the investments in key companies are no longer held in public shares. Berkshire Hathaway invested $3 billion into preferred shares of Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) when things were tough in 2009. Shares have risen handily, and the $41.32 per share conversion price versus a share price now above $48.00.

One of the new stakes was a surprise — Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). Buffett has not been a big telecom player before.

The full list of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B) stock holdings as of March 31, 2014, is as follows: