Berkshire Hathaway 13F: Warren Buffett Played It Safe

There weren’t any real surprises in Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F for the second quarter. In some ways, the 13F replicated the first quarter.

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Aug. 15 2019, Updated 12:41 p.m. ET

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Berkshire Hathaway filed its second-quarter 13F on Wednesday. There weren’t any real surprises in the filing.

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Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F

On Wednesday, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) filed its 13F for the second quarter. By law, institutional investment managers that manage over $100 million in assets are required to file their 13F within 45 days after the quarter ends. Investors keenly wait for Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F. The filing provides insights about what Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman, Warren Buffett, is doing. He’s arguably the best value investor of all time. Buffett has a big fan following despite his recent lackluster performance.

No surprises in Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F

There weren’t any real surprises in Berkshire Hathaway filing for the second quarter. In some ways, the 13F replicated the first quarter. In the first quarter, Berkshire Hathaway didn’t make any major changes to its portfolio. Looking at the second quarter, the company increased its stake in Amazon (AMZN) and Bank of America (BAC). However, they were minor purchases. The stake in Bank of America was only revealed last month. Berkshire Hathaway also increased its stake in US Bancorp (USB). Notably, a different investment manager initiated the Amazon position. Speaking with CNBC, Buffett said, “One of the fellows in the office that manage money” brought Amazon shares.

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Top sells

Looking at Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F, it trimmed its stake in Charter Communications (CHTR) and exited USG (USG). Overall, Buffett played it safe in the second quarter. There weren’t any major buys or sells. The markets didn’t expect any major surprises from Berkshire Hathaway’s second-quarter 13F. The company’s second-quarter earnings revealed that its cash pile rose to $122 billion. Since the company’s net buys have sagged, its cash position has continued to grow.

Did Buffett play it safe?

In the 2018 shareholder letter, Buffett talked about a big acquisition that could help the company deploy its massive cash pile. However, such opportunities don’t appear often. Berkshire Hathaway committed $10 billion to Occidental Petroleum for the Anadarko Petroleum acquisition. However, Carl Icahn opposed the transaction. For the past three quarters, Berkshire Hathaway’s buying activity has been subdued. Investors might argue that Buffett doesn’t see much value in stock markets at these prices. While Buffett isn’t bothered by short-term price movements, it has been three quarters since Berkshire Hathaway did some noticeable buying in publicly-traded stocks.


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