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Commentary

Berkshire Places Bigger Bets on IBM, Wells Fargo

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway added no new holdings in the first quarter and, instead, committed more money to existing holdings.

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Wide-moat  Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) (BRK.B) first-quarter 13-F filing offered some insight into the changes made in the insurer's common stock holdings during the period. We'd already known about Warren Buffett's additional commitment to  International Business Machines (IBM), which he announced ahead of the company's annual meeting earlier this month, but we now have a dollar figure (more than $400 million) to put to the purchase. The addition to the stake made IBM Berkshire's third-largest holding at 11.9% of the reported stock portfolio at the end of March, just above  American Express (AXP) at 11.1%. The company's top five holdings-- Wells Fargo (WFC) (23.9%),  Coca-Cola (KO) (15.1%), IBM, American Express, and  Wal-Mart (WMT) (4.6%)--accounted for just over two thirds of its $107.1 billion equity portfolio at the end of the first quarter.

While no new stocks were added to the portfolio during the period, Wells Fargo was the recipient of more than $350 million of additional capital. Berkshire also added to existing stakes in  Precision Castparts (PCP) (increased 47%),  U.S. Bancorp (USB) (up 5%),  Phillips 66 (PSX) (up 14%),  Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX) (up 31%), and  Deere (DE) (up 1%). The insurer's stake in  National Oilwell Varco (NOV) was reduced more than 60% and stood at less than $100 million at the end of the first quarter. Berkshire also reduced its stakes in  Bank of New York Mellon (BK) (down 6%), Wabco Holdings (WBC) (down 5%),  Liberty Global (LBTYA) (down 4%),  Viacom (VIA) (down 4%), Charter Communications (CHTR) (down 4%), and  MasterCard (MA) (down 3%).

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