What has Warren Buffett been up to lately?

What has billionaire investor Warren Buffett been doing with Berkshire Hathaway's cash reserves lately? That's what we're discussing today

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Warren Buffett – chair and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK.A)(NYSE: BRK.B) – is one of the most successful and influential investors of all time.

Berkshire, the company that he almost single-handedly built into a US$526 billion behemoth, is one of the largest companies in the world. It owns (or owns massive stakes in) a wide variety of businesses, including Duracell, Fruit of the Loom, Geico, Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) and (more recently) Snowflake Inc (NYSE: SNOW).

So needless to say, when Buffett has something to say, most investors pay attention.

Over in the United States, large companies like Berkshire have to tell the markets what shares they own, and in what quantities, every 3 months in a filing known as the 13F. Berkshire's latest filing (covering the quarter ending September 30, 2020) isn't due for a few days yet. But reporting in BusinessInsider gives us a sneak preview.

What has Warren Buffett been doing?

According to reporting from BusinessInsider, Buffett likely spent the quarter trimming positions in some of his more well-known positions.

The report quotes David Hass, a finance professor at the University of Maryland in the US. Professor Kass "closely follows" Buffett and Berkshire, and reckons he has a few insights into Buffett's more recent moves.

"I am expecting that Buffett further reduced his holdings in several banks including Wells Fargo", the report quotes Hass as stating. He also predicted that Berkshire "cashed out about US$4 billion in Apple stock last quarter". Hass makes these predictions based on Berkshire's recent earnings.

Hass also highlights Berkshire's recent ~US$750 million investment in cloud company Snowflake, which has a highly-publicised IPO back in September. He estimates Berkshire will show a US$1.5 billion position in Snowflake when we eventually get to see the filing.

However, Kass expects Buffett to put this cash to use, telling BusinessInsider that he expects the legendary investor to continue to shift his focus from "weathering the pandemic" to "deploying the company's vast cash reserves". Kass believes Buffett began this shift between the quarter ending March 31 (when Buffett net sold US$12.8 billion in stocks) and the quarter ending June 30 (when Buffett net bought $4.8 billion).

In fact, Kass says that Buffett "may be feeling even more bullish now" considering the prospect of an effective COVID-19 vaccine in "a matter of months", together with the rollout of other promising treatments for the coronavirus.

This "should remove Buffett's main cause of concern" Kass stated.

He says that "some new holdings may be revealed as well", predicting we could see some larger tech positions, despite Buffett's historical nonchalance toward the sector.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and Snowflake Inc and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, and short December 2020 $210 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Amazon, Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

More on ⏸️ Famous Investors

Legendary share market investing expert and owner of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett
⏸️ Famous Investors

Best ASX ETF? This fund would be Warren Buffett's top pick

Which ASX ETF would Warren Buffett pick today?

Read more »

man popping a bubble containing a graph on share market prices
⏸️ Famous Investors

'Big Shorter' Michael Burry calls biggest share market bubble of all time

An ominous forecast from an iconic US hedge fund manager?

Read more »

feet of investor like warren buffett walking up chalk-drawn steps
Value Investing

No savings at 40? I'd use the Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger method to get rich

Following Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger’s investment strategy could lead to high returns in the long run – even from…

Read more »

a man in a business suit leans in to burst a huge bubble with a pin, indicating a major share market crash
Share Market News

We're in a massive bubble: This is when it'll pop

'The most important event of your investing lives' is coming, says legendary investor. Here's how to prepare for a terrifying…

Read more »

⏸️ Famous Investors

Is Warren Buffett already planning for the next market crash?

Warren Buffett’s vast cash position suggests that he is continually ready to capitalise on the next stock market crash, in…

Read more »

Legendary share market investing expert and owner of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett
⏸️ Famous Investors

Why I'd follow Warren Buffett's simple advice in the next stock market crash

Warren Buffett’s strategy of buying high-quality companies at low prices could be very profitable in the next stock market crash.

Read more »

following famous investors in shares represented by pair of men's business shoes
⏸️ Lessons From Investing Greats

Want to make a million in the next market crash? I'd use these 3 Warren Buffett tips today

Following Warren Buffett’s methods may lead to higher long-term returns in my view. They may even allow an investor to…

Read more »

man sitting in hammock on beach representing asx shares to buy for retirement
⏸️ Famous Investors

No savings at 40? I'd follow Warren Buffett's advice to retire early

Using Warren Buffett’s long-term approach and buying high-quality stocks at low prices could lead to early retirement, in my opinion.

Read more »