On February 14, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) released its fourth-quarter 13F. The company trimming its stake in Apple (AAPL) and exiting Oracle (ORCL) were the most notable changes. Berkshire Hathaway added Oracle in the third quarter. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman, doesn’t usually exit companies that soon. However, technology investments haven’t really been Buffett’s forte. Berkshire Hathaway exited IBM (IBM) last year.
Apple was Berkshire Hathaway’s largest holding at the end of the third quarter. While Berkshire Hathaway trimmed its stake in Apple by ~1% in the fourth quarter, it’s still the company’s biggest holding. Reportedly, Buffett had nothing to do with trimming Berkshire Hathaway’s stake in Apple. According to Reuters, quoting Debbie Bosanek, Buffett’s assistant, “One of the managers other than Warren had a position in Apple and sold part of it in order to make an unrelated purchase.” Bosanek also said, “None of the shares under Warren’s direction have ever been sold.
While Buffett might not have sold Apple shares, he also didn’t add to his stake in the company. Apple stock fell in the fourth quarter amid the broader markets sell-off. Other tech names (QQQ) like Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), and Alphabet (GOOG) also fell in the fourth quarter.
Buffett has been optimistic about Apple. In 2018, speaking with CNBC, Buffett said, “I’d love to own 100 percent of it.” He has also supported Apple’s buyback program. Buffett prefers companies that invest cash for growth.
However, not adding to Apple in a quarter when the stock fell and Berkshire Hathaway had tons of cash to invest might not rhyme well with Buffett’s bullishness on Apple. Read Following Warren Buffett Might Not Always Yield Profits to learn more.