Skip to Content
Stock Analyst Update

Berkshire a Net Seller of Equities So Far This Year

Few surprises in filing, but sale of Goldman Sachs stake stands out in the first quarter.

Mentioned: ,

There were few surprises in wide-moat Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A)/(BRK.B) first-quarter 13-F filing. In fact, knowing that the insurer eliminated its stakes in the four major airlines--American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines--during early April makes the filing a bit outdated. Of the purchases reported for the first quarter--0.5 million shares of PNC Financial (for an estimated $67 million), 1 million shares of Delta Airlines ($42 million) and 0.2 million shares of United Airlines ($13 million)--the purchase of the bank shares was the only one that still holds true. That said, since the start of the second quarter, Berkshire has reported slightly higher stakes in Bank of New York Mellon and US Bancorp than has been reported in the firm's 13-F filing, as well as confirming the total sale of stakes in American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

As for the major sales that were made during the March quarter, the largest was Goldman Sachs (where Berkshire has already worked down 35% of its stake during the fourth quarter of 2019), with the insurer unloading another 10.1 million shares (for an estimated $1.9 billion). This left it with just 1.9 million shares of Goldman (leaving the position 90% smaller than it was a year ago). Other major transactions involved the sale of 1.9 million shares of JPMorgan Chase ($207 million), as well as the elimination of stakes in Travelers Companies ($37 million) and Phillips 66 ($19 million). The insurer also trimmed stakes in DaVita, VeriSign, Sirius XM Radio, Liberty Media SiriusXM, Liberty Global PLC, Synchrony Financial, General Motors,, Axalta Coating Systems, Teva Pharmaceutical, Suncor Energy, Biogen, and Liberty Latin America--all of which seemed to be more moves on the part of Todd Combs and Ted Weschler to either take some profit off the table or derisk parts of their portfolios. Stock sales net of purchases amounted to $1.8 billion during the first quarter.

Morningstar Premium Members gain exclusive access to our full analyst reports, including fair value estimates, bull and bear breakdowns, and risk analyses. 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.

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.