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

| More on:
warren buffett

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.

Wondering where you should invest $1,000 right now?

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for over ten years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.*

Scott just revealed what he believes could be the five best ASX stocks for investors to buy right now. These stocks are trading at near dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks they could be great buys right now.

*Returns as of January 12th 2022

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

There are many, many ASX exchange-traded funds (ETFs) out there. So many that choosing one can be a difficult task. …

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

If you’re not familiar with Michael Burry the man, you might know of his likeness — played by Christian Bale …

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

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are two of the most successful investors of all time. Together, they have turned Berkshire …

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

One of the world’s most influential investors has warned share markets are in the late stages of a massive bubble. …

Read more »

preparing for changing asx share prices represented by 'be prepared' note pegged to a line
⏸️ Famous Investors

Is Warren Buffett already planning for the next market crash?

Warren Buffett has always held a large amount of cash. However, in 2020 his cash pile reached a record level …

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 has a long track record of capitalising on market downturns. Over recent decades he has successfully bought a …

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

Warren Buffett has previously invested money following a market crash to great effect. It has enabled him to buy high-quality …

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

Warren Buffett’s long-term approach to investing money in shares has allowed him to benefit from the stock market’s growth over …

Read more »