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Stock Analyst Update

Berkshire Again a Net Seller of Equities in Q2

Wide-moat-rated Berkshire Hathaway had a fairly quiet second quarter in its equity investment portfolio, selling some $2.1 billion worth of stock while also acquiring a little over $1 billion of equities.

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Wide-moat-rated Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) (BRK.A) had a fairly quiet second quarter in its equity investment portfolio, selling some $2.1 billion worth of stock while also acquiring a little over $1 billion of equities. Based on the insurer's recent 13-F filing, Berkshire trimmed positions in US Bancorp and Chevron, and sold off more than 10% of the investment portfolio's stakes in Abbvie (selling 2.3 million shares or 10.2% of its holdings), General Motors (7.0 million shares or 10.4% of its holdings), Bristol-Myers Squibb (4.7 million shares or 15.3% of its holdings), and Marsh & McLennan (1.1 million shares or 20.6% of its holdings). Berkshire also disposed of meaningful amounts of Merck (8.7 million shares, or 48.8% of its holdings) and Liberty Global Cl C shares (5.5 million shares, or 74.5% of its holdings), while completely eliminating the firm's holdings in Liberty Global Cl A, Biogen, and Axalta Coating Systems.

As for the purchases, almost all of them involved existing holdings as Berkshire added to stakes in Kroger (picking up 10.7 million shares and increasing its position by 21.0%), Aon (around 300,000 shares and increasing its position by 7.3%), and Restoration Hardware (35,500 shares for a 2.0% increase in the company's holdings). Berkshire also disclosed a new investment during the quarter in Organon (some 1.65 million shares), which was spun-off by Merck during the second quarter. Berkshire had originated stakes in the pharmaceuticals--AbbVie, Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb and Merck--as well as the insurance brokers-- Marsh & McLennan and Aon--in just the past year and a half, but many of these stocks have seen marked gains in just the past few quarters, allowing the insurer's main managers of many of these smaller holdings (relative to the portfolio overall)--CEO Warren Buffett's two lieutenants Todd Combs and Ted Weschler--to take some profit off the table. Even so, the firm ended the second quarter with $293.0 billion of reportable equity holdings.

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Greggory Warren does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.