Technology

Berkshire takes huge bite of Apple, boosts airline stakes

Share
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway made a splash last year when it bought stakes in Apple as the stock suffered dips amid concerns about slowing iPhone sales

Looking more closely at the other fourth-quarter purchases, Berkshire almost quadrupled its stake in Apple, picking up an additional 42 million shares for an estimated $4.8 billion (making it the insurer's seventh-largest holding-accounting for 4.5% of its equity portfolio-at the end of 2016).

That was 3.8 times greater than the approximately 15.2 million shares of the iPhone maker that Berkshire Hathaway owned at the end of September, an earlier SEC filing revealed.

Berkshire also reported a Dollars 9.3 billion airline stake, with investments topping Dollars 2.1 billion in each of American Airlines Group Inc, Delta Air Lines Inc, Southwest Airlines Co and United Continental Holdings Inc.

Its Class A shares closed on Tuesday up Dollars 2,078.95 at USD 250,419, a record high closing price and less than 0.2 percentage points below its all-time high on December 14.

Most believe the initial investment by Berkshire in Apple was by Weschler or Combs.

The Apple purchases by Buffett's firm contrast starkly with Berkshire Hathaway's holdings as disclosed in the filings.

At the end of 2016, that Berkshire Hathaway holding was worth $6.6 billion. Apart from IBM, a stock Buffett followed for more than 50 years before finally buying in 2011, he had shown little interest in technology stocks.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. filed a quarterly update on its USA stock portfolio with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

The stock as of last trading session moved 30.62% up from its 52 week low and was 0.02% above its 52 week high. Its 57.4 million shares as of that date would be worth about $7.7 billion. UBS rates Apple stock a "buy", but picking up shares all at once at peak prices isn't necessarily the best approach. The company has seen revenue growth of around 10% annually over the last three years and has good cash flow. EPS growth in next five years is projected to arrive at 8.80%.

Share