Berkshire Hathaway Sells Apple, Buffett Gets an iPhone!

  • Berkshire Hathaway is Apple’s second-largest shareholder. In the third and fourth quarters of 2019, the company sold some Apple shares. The company sold some Apple shares in the fourth quarter of 2018 as well. However, the company clarified that Chairman Warren Buffett didn’t sell the shares.
  • In a recent interview with CNBC, Buffett revealed that he swapped his flip phone for an iPhone.

Berkshire Hathaway and Apple

Apple is Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK.B)(NYSE:BRK.A) largest holding. Apple (NYSE:AAPL) stock rose sharply last year. For Berkshire Hathaway, the rise in Apple stock helped offset the dismal performance of some of its other holdings like Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). Kraft Heinz also fell sharply last year after it announced a big asset write down and revealed an SEC subpoena. Notably, Berkshire Hathaway has gradually increased its stake in Apple since 2016 when it first brought the stock. However, the company sold some Apple stock in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company sold some more Apple stock in the third quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2019. After the filing for the fourth quarter of 2018, Buffett clarified that he hadn’t sold any Apple shares. Another investment manager at the company sold the shares.

Buffett shifts to an iPhone

During a recent interview with CNBC, Buffett said that he has changed to an Apple iPhone from his flip phone. He also mentioned that he’s using the “latest model.” He noted that at Berkshire Hathaway’s upcoming annual meeting, he’d probably show a video of himself crushing his old flip phone and cozying up to his new smartphone. That’s a remarkable development. Buffett has mainly shied away from high tech gadgets. Berkshire Hathaway has also stayed away from technology stocks. While Berkshire Hathaway invested in IBM in 2011, it exited the company completely in 2018. Buffett also dabbled with Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) in the third quarter of 2018 but sold it a quarter later. He’s known for holding stocks for a long time.

Will Berkshire Hathaway cozy up to tech stocks?

Buffett invests in what he terms his “circle of competence.” However, his reluctance to tech stocks might have cost Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett admitted to missing out on companies like Amazon and Google. However, the company took a stake in Amazon last year through a different investment manager. Buffett has preferred consumer and financial sector companies.

Now, with Buffett ditching his long-trusted flip phone for a smartphone, Berkshire Hathaway might also warm up to technology stocks. After all, Buffett has made some tweaks to his investment philosophy over the last five decades. He has changed his thoughts about airline stocks. Read How Warren Buffett’s Investment Philosophy Has Evolved to learn more.