Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they've bought and sold, via "13F" filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks.
Today, let's look at investing giant Warren Buffett. His Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) company has increased its per-share book value by an annual average of 19.7% between 1965 and 2012, leaving the S&P 500 in the dust with its 9.4%. Clearly, the guy knows a thing or two about investing. With that in mind, let's take a look at his company's recent investment activity, noting that he heads a large corporation, and not a hedge fund or mutual fund. While he owns many businesses in their entirety, from Dairy Queen to Geico to Fruit of the Loom, he also has tens of billions of dollars invested in the stock of other companies.
The company's reportable stock portfolio totaled $89 billion in value as of June 30.
Before we delve into changes in the portfolio, it's important to note that the collection of stocks and its management is not handled entirely by Buffett. For many years Lou Simpson managed the investments of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) subsidiary Geico, and now there are two newcomers in the fold co-managing some Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) money, one or both of whom may end up succeeding Buffett at the company's investment helm. They're Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, and some of Berkshire's investment moves reflect their thinking. Each has had the amount of money he manages for Buffett increased, suggesting that Buffett is pleased with them. The total has recently been about $5 billion apiece. Thus, we shouldn't assume that any particular purchase or sale is purely a Buffett decision.
Interesting developments So what does Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B)'s latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details
The company's new holdings are Suncor Energy Inc. (USA) (NYSE:SU) and DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH). Canada's largest energy company, Suncor Energy Inc. (USA) (NYSE:SU) has been shifting its focus from low-priced natural gas to more profitable oil and is also investing significantly in renewable energies. It's vulnerable to possible tightened regulations on pipelines, and many like its diversification beyond North America. Suncor Energy Inc. (USA) (NYSE:SU)'s last quarter featured operating earnings down because of some planned and unplanned production outages. Its stock yields 2.4%.
DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) is a relatively small new holding for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B), and an intriguing one, as many see it and other pay-TV services threatened by the growth of streaming video services. In an interesting move, DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) recently inked a deal with Southwest Airlines to offer free TV on flights. The company had previously pursued some far bigger deals. The company's second quarter featured a net subscriber loss, leading some to speculate that it might end up strengthening itself by merging with another company.
Among holdings in which Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) increased its stake were National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) and Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI). National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) is dominant in oil and gas drilling and oilfield services equipment. It recently posted second-quarter earnings that featured revenue growing but earnings shrinking a bit. It also reported a record backlog for capital equipment orders of nearly $14 billion, up 24% over year-earlier levels. The company has gobbled up many smaller companies, which may pay off well, as they get fully integrated into the mothership. National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) recently doubled its dividend (yielding 1.4%) and seems an attractive buy to many.