Unfortunately, Warren Buffett – chair and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A)(NYSE: BRK.B) – doesn’t often talk about which shares Berkshire is buying and selling, at least until a few months after he has done so. But fortunately, Berkshire is required to tell us what shares Buffett has been buying and selling. Well, every 3 months, that is. In the United States, companies have to report what’s known as a 10F filing every quarter. This filing contains all of the stocks and assets a company holds. That means we can use them to see what changes Buffett has been making to Berkshire’s sprawling portfolio.
And that brings us to today. Yesterday, Berkshire filed its 10F report for the quarter ending 31 March 2021. Although that’s a while ago now (and an eternity in the investing world), it’s still a great opportunity to get a look inside Buffett’s head and see what he’s been up to.
So let’s dig in.
So according to reporting in the Australian Financial Review (AFR), Berkshire did make some substantial moves over the March quarter. These were mostly selling though. His largest sells were in bank shares, particularly Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC), which the AFR notes Buffett has held for more than three decades now. At the height of Berkshire’s Wells Fargo investment, the company owned more than 10% of the US$198 billion bank. But as of 31 march, Berkshire only owned ~675,000 shares, worth roughly US$32.34 million on the most recent pricing.
Berkshire also offloaded shares of another US bank in U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), as well as a smaller, but total, stake in Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF).
Another sector that Berkshire and Buffett seem less enamoured with than in the past is oil. In the quarter ending 31 December 2020, Berkshire has a US$4.1 billion position in the oil giant Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX). But Berkshire has been selling off this position as well. As of 31 March, Berkshire had just US$2.5 billion worth of Chevron stock left. Perhaps the recent bull run in oil prices has served its purpose for Buffett.
Other shares that Buffett and Berkshire trimmed over the quarter include AbbVie Inc (NYSE: ABBV), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) and General Motors Company (NYSE: GM).
In their place, Berkshire has added to its stake in supermarket chain Kroger Co (NYSE: KR), almost doubling its investment over the quarter to 51 million shares (worth US$1.91 billion on today’s prices). It has also topped up on communications giant Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), and services company Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MMC). It also initiated a position in insurance broker Aon PLC (NYSE: AON).