Apple (AAPL) was Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK-B) biggest holding at the end of the fourth quarter. Markets were surprised when Berkshire’s 13F revealed that the company sold some Apple shares in the quarter. However, Buffett later clarified that the shares were sold by a different investment manager at Berkshire.
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In the fourth quarter, a broader market sell-off—coupled with China’s slowdown concerns—took a toll on Apple. The stock tumbled more than 30% in the quarter. The company’s market capitalization also fell below $700 billion for the first time since 2017.
In an interview with CBNC, Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway’s average buying price for Apple “is about $141 or something like that.” In response to a question about whether he would buy Apple “at $160 or something,” Buffett replied in the negative. However, he did say, “I’m always interested in lower levels in a number of stocks we own.” Apple is trading above $200 now, and the company’s market capitalization is approaching the $1 trillion mark.
Berkshire’s overall buying activity was quite subdued in the fourth quarter. Buffett admitted that “stocks were a buy in the fourth quarter” but added, “sometimes we have other things in mind, too, that may use a lot of money.”
Buffett is looking at a major acquisition that would help the company deploy its massive cash pile. However, while Berkshire Hathaway was considering such deals in the fourth quarter they apparently didn’t materialize. Earlier this year, Berkshire was also rumored to be buying Southwest Airlines (LUV). The last major acquisition that Berkshire completed was Precision Castparts in 2016.