Warren Buffett Makes 13 Serious Changes in His 2017 Stock Picks

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Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) may be an unexpected winner here but investors need to realize that this Buffett stake was under the Liberty parent/tracking shares of The Liberty SiriusXM Group (NASDAQ: LSXMA) rather than in the direct Sirius XM shares. The Berkshire Hathaway stake was listed as 32.2 million shares of the Sirius-Liberty trade, worth $1.01 billion at the end of 2016. Sirius XM Holdings shares were indicated up 2% at $4.83 at a new 52-week high early on Wednesday, versus a 52-week low of $3.50. Sirius XM’s consensus analyst price target was last seen at $5.17. The Liberty SiriusXM Group was up 1.5% at $36.46 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $28.00 to $37.02 and with a consensus price target of $42.68.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) was a larger stake yet again at 21.671 million shares at the start of the year. This stake has grown over time, and it was 21.136 million shares as of September 30. The Bank of New York Mellon stake would be worth just over $1 billion in current dollars. At $47.00 after the filing, Bank of New York has a 52-week range of $33.82 to $49.54, and it has a consensus analyst target of $51.68.

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) was listed as a new stake of about 8.04 million shares at the end of 2016. This was worth $845 million at the end of 2016, and it was worth $876 million after the filing had been seen. What is odd here is that Monsanto is already in a mega-merger with Bayer for its seed dominance. Could there be more at work than just a merger-arbitrage bet?

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) may feel like a mistake after the post-election rally took its shares up 22% since November 8. Berkshire Hathaway has eliminated its stake in Deere from its portfolio of stocks. This stake in Deere was previously listed as 21.085 million shares as of September 30, but note that the size of the stake had already come down in 2016 from its peak.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) was eliminated entirely from Berkshire Hathaway’s public stocks, and it appears that the portfolio managers probably made a handy profit after buying these shares cheaply before oil stocks had fully recovered from their lows. This had been a lower stake and was last seen down at 20 million shares in September, versus 26.533 million shares as of June 30. Kinder Morgan was selected by one of Buffett’s portfolio managers.

Lee Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: LEE) was eliminated entirely, after having been the same tiny stake of only 88,863 shares.

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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was practically eliminated, down to just 928 shares worth a mere $50,000 at the end of 2016. This was likely overlooked, as the Verizon stake was 15 million shares during most of 2016.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was a significantly lower stake, down to 1.393 million shares at the end of 2016. That stake had been cut to about 12.9 million shares at the end of September, and it had been as high as 60.385 million shares during 2015. The world’s largest retailer was worth just about $96 million at the end of 2016, making it largely immaterial to the likes of Buffett’s billions.