Skip to Content
Market Update

A Few Surprises in Berkshire's Portfolio Filing

The firm's third-quarter 13-F reveals a new stake in Exxon and meaningful reductions in ConocoPhillips and Glaxo.

Mentioned: , , , , ,

Wide-moat-rated  Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) (BRK.B) third-quarter 13-F filing, which details the firm's equity holdings at the end of the September quarter, held a few surprises, as the firm ended the period with a new stake in  ExxonMobil (XOM) and made meaningful reductions in its holdings in  ConocoPhillips (COP) and  GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Unlike previous quarters, there were no additions to  Wells Fargo (WFC), which Warren Buffett has been buying with some regularity since the U.S. equity markets bottomed in March 2009.

We were surprised to see that the portfolio still includes some of Berkshire's legacy holdings--like  Kraft Foods Group (KRFT),  Mondelez International (MDLZ), and  Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)--that Buffett has been selling off to help fund the investment portfolios for his two lieutenants, Ted Weschler and Todd Combs, especially as the combined value of these holdings is now less than $60 million (relative to the $92.0 billion value of the portfolio overall). That said, Berkshire did reduce its stake in GlaxoSmithKline by more than 75% and cut its holdings in ConocoPhillips by close to half during the period. The only other sales during the quarter were minor reductions of  Sanofi (SNY), and  DirecTV (DTV).

As for the buying activity, the new-money purchase of 40.1 million shares of ExxonMobil accounted for nearly all of the capital Berkshire put to work during the quarter. Like the firm's $10.7 billion purchase of  IBM (IBM) back in 2011, the foray into ExxonMobil was likely done over the last couple of quarters, with Berkshire able to hold off on disclosing the activity until it was done buying the shares. It also marks the addition of another wide-moat name to Berkshire's top 10 holdings (which accounted for 93% of the firm's holdings at the end of the third quarter). The only other buying activity during the period involved minor additions to  DaVita (DVA),  US Bancorp (USB),  Suncor Energy (SU),  VeriSign (VRSN), and  Bank of New York Mellon (BK).

Morningstar Premium Members gain exclusive access to our full Berkshire Hathaway Analyst Report, including fair value estimate, consider buying/selling prices, bull and bear breakdowns, and risk analysis. Not a Premium member? Get this and other reports immediately when you try Morningstar Premium free for 14 days.

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