Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B, $198.31) Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett is upset in 2019.
The Oracle of Omaha bought and sold left and right at the end of 2018. He used the fourth quarter’s near-bear market to snap up bargains and exit a few underperforming investments,collecting a total of 17 common-stock trades. But thanks to significantly higher prices across 2019, Buffett has slowed things down, making 10 such moves in Q1 and just six in the three months ended June 30.
Nonetheless, we can acquire a few things from what Buffett is doing, so today we will take a look at the most recent changes to Berkshire Hathaway’s equity portfolio.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s own rules require Buffett to unfold these moves. All investment managers with more than $100 million in assets must file a Form 13F every quarter to disclose every change in stock ownership. That’s an important level of transparency for anyone well-funded enough to significantly guide a stock with their investment. And in this case, it helps people who appreciate Buffett’s insights track what he’s doing – some investors view a Berkshire buy as an important seal of approval. (Just remember: A few of Berkshire’s holdings are influenced or even outright decided by lieutenants Ted Weschler and Todd Combs.)
Here’s what Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway was buying and selling during the second quarter of 2019, based on the most recent 13F that was filed on Aug. 14. The list includes six changes to the equity portfolio, and a notable seventh investment.
Berkshire’s CEO told CNBC in May, when Berkshire initially brought AMZN into the fold, that “one of the fellows in the office that manage money” made the call. That’s a reference to Weschler and Combs. Good on Buffett, however, for admitting that even he can make mistakes. He also said back in May that he didn’t take Amazon.com seriously as much as he should have.
“(Amazon) far surpassed anything I would have dreamt could have been done. Because if I really felt it could have been done, I should have bought it,” he said. “I had no idea that it had the potential. I blew it.” Amazon is having a good, albeit not explosive, 2019, with its roughly 18% returns outpacing the S&P 500 by about five percentage points. That said, it’s possible that the significant dip in AMZN between early May and early June (the stock fell roughly 10% in a month) provided another attractive buying point for Buffett.