Big Portfolio Changes for Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway

May 15, 2014 by Jon C. Ogg

Buffet
Source: courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov
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:

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was roughly 151.6 million shares, same as last quarter — and the same as always.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) was the same position at 24.6 million shares.

Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. (NYSE: CBI) was the same position at 9.55 million shares, but this was raised in 2013.

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) was right at 400 million shares, SAME AS before — and the same for years and years.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) was a LOWER POSITION AGAIN, down to 11.079 million shares, versus 13.529 million shares last quarter and lower than the 24.1 million shares in June.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was 4,333,363 shares, same as last quarter.

DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA) was a LARGER STAKE YET AGAIN at 37.621 million shares. This was up from 36.46 million last quarter, up from 31.446 million shares before that, and was raised before. This stake keeps being lifted, but Buffett has entered into a standstill agreement not to buy more than 25% of the company after already having increased its in prior quarters.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) was the same last quarter at roughly 4 million shares.

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DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) was a SLIGHTLY LOWER STAKE at 34.514 million shares, versus a 36.514 million share stake before. Keep in mind that this had been higher at about 37.275 million shares last June. With this being a buyout candidate, the plot thickens.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was the same stake of 41.129 million shares, but this was raised the prior quarter and was a new stake in 2013.

General Electric Corp. (NYSE: GE) was the same stake of 10.585 million shares, but this was raised in the prior quarter and had been telegraphed before because of the warrants.

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General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is a SMALLER STAKE at 30 million shares, down 10 million shares, but this had been raised in 2013 from 25 million shares.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) was the same stake of 12.631 million shares.

Graham Holdings Co. (NYSE: GHC) is the remains of Washington Post and was the same position at 1.727 million shares.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was a SLIGHTLY LARGER STAKE at 68.355 million shares, up about 233,000 shares or so. Buffett finally showed us the proof that he added to this as he had said before but it had not been seen.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was the same size at only 327,100 shares, but this way down from before.

Kraft Foods Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) was the same size at only 192,666 shares, but this is way down from the past and again like a position that was forgotten about.

Lee Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: LEE) was the same size of only 88,863 shares, but a deal in 2013 may have given more leverage on the debt size.

Liberty Media Corp. (NASDAQ: LMCA) is the same stake of 5.3 million shares.

Liberty Global PLC (NASDAQ: LBTYA) appears to be a LARGER STAKE of 14.693 million shares versus a prior stake of 2,948,285 shares. Be advised that the special situation may have created this change.

M&T Bank Corp. (NYSE: MTB) was the same position at 5.38 million shares — same as always.

MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) looks larger but is the same position due to a stock split. It is now at 4,050,000 shares, versus the prior 405,000 shares before that stock split.

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Media General Inc. (NYSE: MEG) was the same position of 4.64 million shares.

Mondelez International Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is the same position at 578,000 shares, but this remains far lower than in the past and seems like the portfolio managers forgot to clean up the position.

Moody’s Corp. (NYSE: MCO) was the same position of 24.669 million shares, but this is lower than before.

National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) was the same position at 8.88 million shares, but this stake was raised in 2013.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) is a MUCH SMALLER STAKE of 9.741 million shares, versus 27.16 million shares in the prior quarter. Keep in mind that this was added in prior quarters after the Conoco spin-off.

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Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP) was the same position at roughly 2 million shares, but this was still relatively a new holding.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was the same position at 52.8 million shares, but that had been lowered in 2012 from a prior peak of 96.3 million shares.

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) was the same position at 3.905 million shares, but that stake is slightly smaller than it was earlier in 2013.

Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA) was a SMALLER STAKE AGAIN at 1,919,541 shares, down from about 4.54 million shares the prior quarter and versus 5.622 million shares in 2013.

Suncor Energy Inc. (NYSE: SU) was the same stake of 13 million shares, but this was lower than in 2013.

Torchmark Corp. (NYSE: TMK) was the same at more than 4.2 million shares.

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U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) was LARGER YET AGAIN at 80.026 million, versus about 79.3 million shares last time. This is a position that just keeps growing.

USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) was the same stake at 34.89 million shares, but this grew last quarter from 17.072 million shares. Also note: it had already been telegraphed that the stake was larger, perhaps from an old debt stake.

United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) was the same paltry position at 59,400 shares, but this is way down from 2012 and hardly worth the effort.

VeriSign Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) ROSE AGAIN to 11,685,654 shares, versus 10.96 million shares last quarter.

Verisk Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) was the same position at 1,563,434 shares, but that is lower than prior quarters.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is a NEW POSITION of 11,022,743 shares, worth some $524 million at the end of the first quarter.

Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA) was the same position of 7.6+ million shares, but that had been raised in 2013.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) was the same position of 1.555 million shares, but this is still lower than in 2012.

WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WBC) is the same position at just over 4.076 million shares.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was LARGER STAKE of 58.05 million shares, up from 49.48 million shares the prior quarter.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was the same stake at 463.458 million shares, but this is the first quarter in recent memory that Buffett did not raise this stake size.