As one of the best investors of our time, Warren Buffett‘s moves are closely watched and scrutinized by everyone on Wall Street. This is why in every round of 13F filings, Berkshire Hathaway’s filing revealing its equity portfolio is one of the most awaited. Known for his long-term focus, Buffett doesn’t make many changes in Berkshire’s equity portfolio during a particular quarter, which makes the few moves that can be deduced from Berkshire’s 13Fs attract a lot of attention. With Berkshire reporting its 13F for the end of the first quarter, the Street is abuzz, mainly due to Berkshire reporting a new position in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Berkshire owns some 9.81 million shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) that were worth $1.07 billion at the end of March. However, the stock has lost over 14% since the beginning of the second quarter, as Apple reported fiscal second-quarter results that missed analysts’ estimates and showed the first quarterly revenue decline for the company since 2003. Another hit the stock took in the days following the results came when Carl Icahn, one of Apple’s biggest bulls, said he dumped his investment in the company over concerns about Apple’s performance in China. However, today Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s shares have appreciated by over 3% on the back of Berkshire’s 13F. On many occasions, Buffett said that he tries to avoid buying tech stocks, mainly because he doesn’t like to invest in companies whose business he doesn’t understand. However, the stake in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was not acquired by Buffett himself, as he said in an e-mail to The Wall Street Journal, but by some of his ‘lieutenants’, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who have been looking for investment opportunities in sectors that Buffett had historically avoided.
Overall, Berkshire’s latest 13F contained the same top picks as in the past several quarters. Kraft Heinz Co (NASDAQ:KHC) jumped to the first spot from the second, amid an 8% growth registered by the stock in the first three months of 2016, even though Berkshire kept its stake unchanged at 325.63 million shares that were worth $25.58 billion at the end of March. On the other hand, the stake in Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) (also unchanged at 479.70 million shares) slid to the second spot and was worth $23.20 billion on the back of an 11% drop that the stock saw between January and March. The stake in The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) remained Berkshire’s third-largest, containing 400.0 million shares valued at $18.56 billion, higher than the $17.18 billion value it was worth as of the end of 2015.
The first position in Berkshire’s 13F that saw an increase during the first quarter is International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), although the change was not substantial. The fund added 198,853 shares to its position in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), taking it to roughly 81.23 million shares worth $12.30 billion. On the other hand, Berkshire boosted its position in Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) by 22% on the quarter to 75.55 million shares valued at $6.54 billion. Berkshire had been buying shares of Phillips 66 for more than a year and in an interview in September, Buffett said that he likes the company because of its diversification into businesses other than just refining, such as chemicals and midstream. Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX)’s latest results showed that after marketing and specialties operations, its chemicals and midstream businesses generated the largest earnings in the first quarter, although all segments posted a decline in earnings on a year-on-year basis. The drop in oil prices hurt most refiners and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) was no exception as it posted a 24% annual decline in first-quarter revenue to $17.76 billion, while its total earnings of $385 million slid from $987 million a year earlier.
We’ll take a look at the rest of Buffett’s first quarter moves on the next page.