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Soros Fund Management’s Top Buys in the Fourth Quarter

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Soros added XLF and IWB

George Soros added 2.026 million shares of the SPDR Select Sector Fund (XLF) to its portfolio during the fourth quarter, giving it a weight of 1.5% in the portfolio. XLF’s largest holdings are Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B), J.P. Morgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), and Wells Fargo (WFC), accounting for 12.8%, 11.3%, 8.5%, and 6.7%, of the fund, respectively. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK-B) chairman, has a flair for financial stocks.

Soros also added a stake worth $39.6 million in the iShares Russell 1000 ETF (IWB). This ETF seeks to track the movements of the index composed of large and medium-sized US equities (SPY)(DIA).

Soros also purchased 590,000 shares of Philip Morris International (PM) during the fourth quarter. Philip Morris recently reported its fourth-quarter results, guiding for an increase of free cash flow from $8 billion–$8.9 billion.

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Addition of Verizon to the portfolio

During the fourth quarter, George Soros also picked up 612.3 million shares in Verizon Communications (VZ), accounting for ~1% of its portfolio value. The company reported its fourth-quarter earnings results on January 29. The company’s earnings beat the consensus Wall Street estimate by ~2.8% in the fourth quarter. Verizon’s adjusted EPS rose ~30.2% year-over-year to reach $1.12 in the fourth quarter.

Red Hat

Red Hat (RHT) was another key addition to Soros’s fund for the quarter ended December 2018. IBM (IBM) acquired the company in the fourth quarter. From the 13F filing, it isn’t clear whether Soros entered the stock before or after the news. Red Hat (RHT) rose on October 29 after IBM announced the acquisition.

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