The stock market had a difficult time gaining moment at the beginning of 2014, but Warren Buffett and his philosophy stayed true. He continued to invest in all of his favorite companies. Because of a new regulatory filing, we now have the opportunity to look at the way Warren Buffett used his capital during the first quarter of this year.
Many companies recently had to file their mandatory 13-F with the SEC. The filing itself is a quarterly report of the company’s equity holdings. This is a main requirement of managers that oversee over $100 million in qualifying assets. This must be filed within a 45 day period of each quarter. The 130-F gives us an opportunity to take a look at what firms purchased or sold during the previous quarter, but you have to keep in mind that the trading strategies and hedging for each one of these funds is relatively unknown still.
During the first three months of 2014, Berkshire Hathaway made a number of changes. The company purchased more shares of U.S. Bancorp, IBM, DaVita Healthcare Partners and Walmart. Berkshire also took out a new position in Verizon Communications, and that is worth $524.4 million. Berkshire Hathaway also reduced its position in a number of stocks, including Phillips 66, General Motors and DirecTV.
The biggest Berkshire Hathaway investments consist of some of the more well-known blue chips on Wall Street. Let’s take a look at the top 10 holdings of Berkshire Hathaway, based on dollar value at the end of the quarter. The list does not include Berkshire Hathaway’s option to buy 700 million shares of Bank of America at any time before September 2021 for the amount of $5 billion.
DaVita Healthcare Partners – 10
During the first three months of 2014, Berkshire Hathaway added another 1.1 million shares to the already existing 37.6 million shares, and the position is now worth roughly $2.6 billion. Even though Buffett is usually responsible for the billion dollar positions at the company, this is not the case in this instance. One of Buffett’s portfolio managers, Ted Weschler, is the big gun behind DaVita. He joined Berkshire Hathaway in the beginning of 2012, but based on previous records he has been investing in this company from over a decade.
Year to date: 6.9%
DirecTV – 9
At the end of the first-quarter of this year, Berkshire Hathaway’s stake was cut by 2 million shares and dropped to 34.5 million shares in total when compared to the previous quarter. Although, share prices have surged this year, so the position is worth $2.6 billion even though shares were only worth $2.5 billion in the fourth quarter.
Year to date: 23.3%
U.S. Bancorp – 8
The financial institution based out of Minnesota continues to be one of Warren Buffett’s favorites. Berkshire Hathaway increased their stake in this bank by 706,000 shares. They now have 80 million shares in total, and the entire investment is worth $3.4 billion. For comparison’s sake, the investment was worth $2.9 billion in the prior quarter.
Year to date: 40%
Exxon Mobil – 7
The largest publicly traded oil company, Exxon Mobil, is pretty much a new position for Berkshire Hathaway, even though it’s one of the biggest. At the end of the first-quarter, the investment firm held 41.1 million shares of the oil giant, and this is unchanged from the prior quarter. At the end of March, the entire position was worth roughly $4 billion.
Year to date: -.40%
Procter & Gamble – 6
Berkshire Hathaway did not change its stake in Procter & Gamble during the first quarter, and currently has 52.8 million shares worth a total of $4.3 billion. Even though the shares finished 2013 near its 52-week highs, the stock is slightly negative at the beginning of the year.
Year to date: -1.1%
Walmart – 5
Warren Buffett added to his stake of the largest retailer in the world and now has 58.1 million shares. This is up roughly 8.5 million shares from the prior quarter. The total position for Berkshire is worth around $4 billion at the end of the quarter. Recently, Walmart announced disappointing financial results for the quarter and blamed bad weather, but Buffett often takes a long-term view with all of his major investments.
Year to date: -2.4%
International Business Machines (IBM) – 4
This technology company is one of the most influential blue chips of the entire stock market, and it’s also one of Warren Buffett’s largest holdings. Berkshire Hathaway owns 68.4 million shares of the company at the end of the first three months of the year, and the stock is worth $13.2 billion. During the first quarter, Berkshire added another 233,100 shares of IBM to their position.
Year to date: -.60%
American Express – 3
Berkshire Hathaway did not add to their American Express position during the first quarter of the year. They currently hold 151.6 million shares of the credit card giant, and shares are now worth $13.6 billion.
Coca-Cola – 2
Most people know that Coca-Cola is one of Warren Buffett’s favorite stocks. He has even gone on record stating that he will never sell any of his shares of the most recognized beverage company in the world. At the end of the first three months of 2014, Berkshire’s Coca-Cola stake was worth $15.5 billion, and it totals 400 million shares.
Year to date: -1.9%
Wells Fargo – 1
As the most profitable bank in the United States of America, it also happens to be the top holding for Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Berkshire Hathaway currently owns 463.5 million shares of the banking conglomerate. This is unchanged when compared to the previous quarter. The position was worth $21.7 billion at the end of March.