Ahead of today's 13F filing by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, rumors were rife that the Omaha billionaire would unveil a stake in Exxon or some other oil major. Well, the rumors were this close to being correct because instead of Exxon, Berkshire just filed 13F indicating that as of Dec 31, 2020 - in which it revealed stock holdings amounting to $270BN - it owned $4.1 billion or 48.5 million shares of the 2nd largest US major, Chevron, which it had accumulated previously in secret, sparking a 3% jump in its shares. Those wondering if and how much Exxon shares were purchased by Berkshire will have to wait another three months.
Among the other most notable changes, Berkshire trimmed its Apple holdings by 6.4% from 947.5 million share to 887.1 million. The reduction left Berkshire with Apple stock valued $120 billion at the end of 2020, according to another filing.
Berkshire also unveiled a sizable new position in Verizon (146.7MM shares which were worth $8.6BN on Dec 31) and a smaller new holding in insurer Marsh & Mclennan ($500MM stake for 4.3 million share). Curiously, these new positions had been granted confidential status and not revealed in a third-quarter regulatory filing, according to an updated document released Tuesday, which means that Buffett started as accumulating the shares in the 3rd quarter
While Berkshire added to its stake in BoNY, T-Mobile and Kroger, the company also shifted a recent bet on drugmakers by increasing its a stake in Merck (+28.1%), Abbvie (+20.1%) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (+11.2%) while exiting completely a recent investment in Pfizer. Buffett’s conglomerate also cut a few bank holdings, exiting JPMorgan, PNC Financial and M&T Bank while slashing its Wells Fargo & Co. stake by 58.8%. The company also trimmed its investment in General Motors cutting that holding by 7.5MM shares to a stake valued at roughly $3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter.
Amusingly, after causing ripples in the precious metal market last year when Berkshire revealed a modest stake in gold miner Barrick Gold, in Q4 Berkshire completely exited said holding. As Bloomberg notes, "the investment was a surprise when it was revealed last year, given Buffett’s years of chiding the precious metal."
A full breakdown of Berkshire's Q4 13F is below: