Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Nears 1-Year High

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In late March, analysts at UBS initiated coverage on Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) with a Buy rating and a price target of $244,500. The closing price on the shares the day before the UBS note was $210,530. The shares reached a high of $215,200 on Friday before closing just above $212,000. The 52-week high on the stock is $221,985.

In our report at the time, we noted, among other things, that UBS liked Buffett’s ability to do well when economic conditions are uncertain, citing Berkshire Hathaway’s structural advantages of permanent capital, strong cash generation and high-quality portfolio.

UBS got the permanent capital part right. Berkshire recently completed it $37 billion acquisition of Precision Castparts, the pre-eminent supplier to the world’s aerospace industry. Precision’s biggest customer is General Electric Co. (NYSE:  GE), for which it supplies parts for GE’s engine division. Those engines are installed on planes made by both Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and Airbus, among others, and no matter which entity maintains the aircraft, Precision Castparts supplies the parts. The company also supplies airplane engine parts for the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) and U.K.-based Rolls-Royce.

That acquisition alone gives Berkshire Hathaway a solid entry into the enormous backlogs that both Boeing and Airbus have built up.

Berkshire Hathaway also has major positions in the financial services industry with huge ownership in both American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC). Though neither has performed exceptionally well recently, Buffett has owned the stocks for so long that just standing still pays off in dividend yields. Here’s our most recent report on Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio.

One of Berkshire Hathaway’s more interesting plays recently is in the energy sector, where the company held already held a large stake in Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) and acquired more than 26.5 million shares of battered energy infrastructure giant Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI). Kinder Morgan shares are worth far less now than when Berkshire bought them in the fourth quarter of last year, but Buffett can afford to, and often does, take a longer-range view on investing.

Berkshire Hathaway stock closed at $212,140 on Friday, near the top of its 52-week range of $186,900 to $221,985.