Investing

Major Portfolio Changes for Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway

BuffetWarren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) have released the official equity holdings of Berkshire Hathaway as of March 31, 2015. For years now, 24/7 Wall St. has released the full list of holdings and we have added color on those positions as they have changed through time.

As we have seen in many announcements, over half of Buffett’s total equity holdings are heavily concentrated in just four top holdings, as follows: Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP).

The prior earnings release showed that Buffett’s top four stocks accounted for a total of 58% of the aggregate fair value at the end of March, down from 59% at the end of 2014. Another issue which was seen in the latest earnings report was that the March 31, 2015 equity position was listed as $113.341 billion, versus $115.529 billion at the end of 2014. This latest 13F filing showed it as being $107.13 billion for the public equities.

What the total public stock holdings from the full 13F-HR filing do not show is the amount of holdings held in preferred shares, nor in the big companies which have gone private. Berkshire Hathaway invested $3 billion in 2009 into preferred shares of Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW), and it invested $5 billion for Preferred shares and warrants in Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) in 2011. Buffett has a big stake worth over $11 billion in Heinz as well.

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was again roughly that same number of more than 151 million shares (worth close to $11.8 billion — versus $13.3 billion the prior quarter due to its share price drop). It seems that Warren Buffett doesn’t have to care about an AmEx sell-off, and the unimpressive dividend bump to new investors is actually great news for Buffett considering his low cost basis. The number of American Express shares has been static for years. We issued a Bull & Bear Case for AmEx in 2015 earlier this year, with a projected 7.2% gain.

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) has been static at about 400 million shares for years now, and the earnings report showed it being worth roughly $16.2 billion at the end of March (versus $16.9 billion at the end of 2014). Buffett’s stake in Coca-Cola has remained static for years. With Buffett having first owned Coca-Cola shares starting back in 1988, his adjusted costs basis gets closer and closer to zero each year — if you account for dividend payments without considering the effect of taxes on those dividends. Our own Bull and Bear Case for Coca-Cola in 2015 showed an expected 7.2% gain this year.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was listed as being worth about $12.8 billion at the end of the first quarter. The actual stake was RAISED YET AGAIN and was listed as being just over 79.5 million shares. The end of 2014 position was 76.971 million IBM shares, up from 70.478 million shares in the third quarter of 2014 and 70.173 million last summer. Our Bull and Bear Case for IBM in 2015 showed an expected 7.8% gain this year.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was a stake worth $26.7 billion at the end of March. This stake was listed as being roughly 470.3 million shares, SLIGHTLY HIGHER than the 463.458 million shares at the end of 2014. For years it was the case that Buffett would add to his Wells Fargo stake, but that stake was last seen as 9.0% of the outstanding shares without considering Wells Fargo’s share buybacks.

The full list of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway stock holdings as of March 31, 2015, is as follows:

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) was SLIGHTLY LOWER AGAIN at 20.68 million shares versus 22.012 million shares. That is down from 23.377 million shares the prior quarter. This used to be static at 24.6 million shares.

Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) was a SLIGHT DROP to 5.979 million shares. This stake had previously been raised to 6.198 million shares versus 4.95 million shares previously. Also, Charter was a new stake in 2014.

Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. (NYSE: CBI) was the same stake at 10.701 million shares, after having been raised in 2014 and in 2013.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was the same stake at 4,333,363 shares.

DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA) was the same stake at 38.565 million shares. This stake has been raised on and off in prior quarters. As a reminder, Buffett has entered into a standstill agreement not to buy more than 25% of the company, after already having increased the stake in prior quarters.

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Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) was listed as 17.31 million, which is UP SLIGHTLY from the 17.096 million shares before, but that is after it had been held once and eliminated.

DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) was the same stake at 31.353 million shares, after having been raised previously.

General Electric Corp. (NYSE: GE) was the same stake of 10.585 million shares, but this was raised earlier in 2014 and had been telegraphed before because of the warrants.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) was the same stake at 41 million shares, after having previously been raised.

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

Graham Holdings Co. (NYSE: GHC) is what is just the remains of Washington Post and was the same stake at 107,575 shares.

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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was the same tiny stake of only 327,100 shares, but this is much lower than in years past.

Kraft Foods Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) was the same small stake of only 192,666 shares, but this used to be much higher.

Lee Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: LEE) was the same size of only 88,863 shares.

Liberty Media Corp. (NASDAQ: LMCA) was the same stake at 4 million shares, but the team still shows about 8 million shares of the Class C structure.

Liberty Global PLC (NASDAQ: LBTYA) was listed as 10.34 million shares of Class A and was 7.346 million of the Class C.

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

MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) was 5,229,756 shares, down slightly from the 5.399 million shares at the end of 2014 — and that is after having been raised previously for several quarters.

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

Mondelez International Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is the same position again at 578,000 shares, but this remains far lower than in the past.

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

National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) was a decreased handily, down to 1.978 million shares at the end of March. This was 5.258 million shares at the end of 2014 and was 7.302 million shares last June.

NOW Inc. (NYSE: DNOW) was the same stake of 1.825 million shares.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) was 7.499 million shares, HIGHER than the 6.567 million shares at the end of 2014. This stake has fluctuated but used to be above 27 million shares.

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Precision Castparts Corp. (NYSE: PCP) was a LARGER STAKE again at 4.2 million shares, up from 2.853 million shares at the end of 2014 and versus 2.08 million shares previously.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) has remained officially the same at 52.8 million shares in the formal 13F report, but this is part of the Duracell swap and had also previously been lowered in 2012 after a peak of 96.3 million shares.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE: QSR) was the same stake at 8.438 million shares, after having been a new stake in late 2014.

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) was the same position at 3.905 million shares.

Suncor Energy Inc. (NYSE: SU) was same stake at 22.35 million shares, but this had been increased in late 2014 and it had grown each quarter from the 13 million shares in March of 2014.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA) is a LARGER STAKE at 6.228 million shares, after having been a new stake of 4.747 million shares at the end of 2014.

Torchmark Corp. (NYSE: TMK) the same stake at 6.35 million shares.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) was a LARGER STAKE at 83.77 million shares at the end of March versus 80.09 million shares at the end of 2014. This was one of the bank stakes that was always raised, but Buffett had left it static prior to this new gain.

USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) was the same stake at just over 39 million shares, but this had been raised in prior to the end of 2014.

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

VeriSign Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) was the same stake at 12.985 million shares, but this one had previously grown.

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

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was the same stake at 15 million shares, but that had been raised two quarters ago.

Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA) was a LOWER STAKE at 8.265 million shares versus 8.634 million shares at the end of 2014, and this stake had previously been rising in 2014 and in 2013.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) looks like a larger stake nominally at 9.885 million shares on the surface, but this had split 4-1 on March 19 versus the prior stake of 2.509 million shares. This stake had been rising throughout 2014.

WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WBC) is SLIGHTLY LOWER at 3.863 million shares, down from 4.076 million shares.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was the same stake as before at 60.385 million shares, but this had been raised in recent quarters.

A full list of Warren Buffett’s holdings for the end of 2014 can be seen for a comparison.

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