Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (US:BRK.A, US:BRK.B) spent more than $40 billion this year buying large chunks of several companies’ shares after keeping their powder dry during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last several years, low volatility and a constant grind higher in the stock market had left Berkshire, Buffett, and Charlie Munger sitting on a record cash balance. This year, they began to spend.
At year-end 2021, Berkshire held $146.7 billion in cash and short-term securities. At the end of the first quarter, that hoard had declined by $40 billion to $106 billion as Berkshire put bought in the market sell-off. However, its cash and short-term investments didn’t waver much, ringing in at $105.4 billion at the end of the second quarter.
So here’s what Buffett’s Berkshire’s been buying
Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
Berkshire gobbled up millions more Occidental Petroleum (US:OXY, GB:0KAK) shares this quarter, quickly raising its stake in early Aug. above 20%.
It acquired 4.45 million shares on the 4th and 1.66 million on Aug. 5. On the 8th, the firm purchased more than 530,000 shares. According to the company’s most recent filing, Berkshire also has a sizable position via warrants and preferred shares from a previous deal that involved Occidental and Anadarko in 2019.
That puts its stake at 20.2%, meaning it may begin reporting a proportional share of Occidental’s earnings within its own earnings report.
Sticking with the energy theme, Buffett bought more than another 100 million Chevron shares this year, increasing Berkshire’s stake to 150 million shares from 38 million. Berkshire’s Chevron position accounts for about 7% of its publicly traded stock portfolio, and its stake is estimated at eight percent.
Chevron (US:CVX), with its $300 billion market cap, is the second-largest energy company in the US behind Exxon Mobil (US:XOM), which has a $375 billion market cap.
While Occidental seems to get all the attention due to Buffett’s stake in the firm, Chevron has quietly become a top-four holding in Berkshire’s portfolio of public companies.
HP Inc (HPQ)
Buffett long noted that he was not a tech investor, but some fresh new blood in the stock picking process has made terrific investments in recent years, including in Apple, and it appears he’s become a tech believer.
Berkshire’s built an 11.4%, or almost 121 million share stake in HP (US:HPQ), which makes printers and PCs.
And, don’t forget that HP currently sports a 3.1% dividend yield, and investors know how much Buffett likes dividends.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI)
Berkshire boosted its stake in video game firm Activision Blizzard (US:ATVI) and appeared to be nearing a significant regulatory trigger of 10% ownership.
The firm bought 14.6 million shares in the fourth quarter of 2021 and upped that stake significantly in the first quarter of 2022. As of the most recently filed 13F, the company held more than 64 million shares of Activision, a more than fourfold increase.
The stock’s attractive, partly because it’s a technology company and game maker — and yes, the large stake in Activision has mainly come from Buffett himself — and partially as there’s a buyout agreement with Microsoft (US:MSFT), which has already agreed to acquire Activision for $95 a share.
Buffett is quoted as saying, “if we do file that report [acknowledging a 10% ownership], understand very clearly, it was Warren Buffett’s decision, and he doesn’t know what the Justice Department will do [relating to Activision’s deal with Microsoft].”
Trading near $80.50 as of the close on Aug. 9, and there’s quite a bit of value there should the deal go through.
Buffett owned several bank stocks over the years, including bailing more than one out of sticky situations that called for strong support in the market from someone with Buffet’s bona fides. That’s not the case with his first quarter Citigroup (US:C) this time. investment of almost $3 billion for 55 million shares.
Unlike some of Berkshire’s most significant financial positions, the firm had a stake of less than 3% at the time of filing. However, since Citigroup is one of the only investment banks to report a top- and bottom-line beat this quarter, Buffett & Co. may have been on to something with this one early in the year.
Soon we will find out if the firm has put more money to work in Citigroup and if so, it would come as very little surprise given the quality of its recent quarter.
This article originally appeared on Fintel
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