National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NOV) and Verisign, Inc. (VRSN): Buffett Moves

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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.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)Today, let’s look at investing giant Warren Buffett. His Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) 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 $85 billion in value as of March 31, 2013.

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 Mr. Buffett. For many years Lou Simpson managed the investments of Berkshire subsidiary GEICO, and now there are two newcomers in the fold, co-managing some Berkshire money; one or both of them may end up succeeding Buffett at the company’s investment helm. They are Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, and some of Berkshire’s investment moves reflect their thinking. Each was managing about $2.75 billion of Berkshire’s money not so long ago, but that has been hiked to around $4 billion apiece, suggesting that Buffett is pleased with them. So don’t assume that any particular purchase or sale is purely a Buffett decision.

Interesting developments
So what does Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)’s latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:

The biggest new holdings are Liberty Media Corp (NASDAQ:LMCA), and Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI). Liberty Media Corp (NASDAQ:LMCA) boasts majority control of Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI), and recently hit a 52-week high, just before first-quarter results were released, featuring record revenue of nearly $900 million, along with double-digit gains in revenue and net income. The report also cited Sirius adding more than 450,000 new subscribers, for a total of 24.4 million. Liberty is also building an ownership position in Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR).

Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI), a construction, procurement, and engineering company specializing in energy-industry construction projects such as refinery units and storage tanks, has been boosting its revenue growth rate lately, and its latest earnings report featured a $1.9 billion gain in awards, growing its hefty backlog to $25.5 billion. The company bought Shaw Group last year, which is known for constructing nuclear-related buildings.

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