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Commentary

Sale of Energy Stocks the Biggest Highlight in Berkshire's 4Q Equity Portfolio

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had a shift in strategy in the fourth quarter as it unloaded most of its energy holdings to buy more of Deere and IBM.

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Wide-moat  Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) (BRK.B) fourth-quarter 13-F filing highlighted a shift in strategy as the firm unloaded most of its Energy holdings and funneled most of the capital raised into  Deere (DE) and  International Business Machines (IBM). The company's 13-F equity holdings, which do not include foreign investments held abroad, were valued at $110 billion at the end of the December quarter, with the top five holdings-- Wells Fargo (WFC) (23%),  Coke (KO) (15%),  American Express (AXP) (13%), IBM (11%), and  Wal-Mart (WMT) (5%)--accounting for more than two thirds of the portfolio.

Likely spurred on by the collapse in oil prices, the insurer eliminated its stakes in  ExxonMobil (XOM), and  ConocoPhillips (COP) (and sold off a fifth of its holdings in National Oilwell Varco) during the fourth quarter, picking up more than $3.5 billion in proceeds from the sales. Berkshire also reduced its stake in  Bank of New York Mellon (BK) (picked up in the third quarter of 2010) and eliminated its  Express Scripts (ESRX) holdings (bought during the third quarter of 2014), picking up another $100 million (by our estimates).

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Greggory Warren does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.