Friday, 20 October, 2017

Buffett shopping spree quadruples investor's Apple stake

Warren Buffett More Warren Buffett More
Cecilia Poole | 17 February, 2017, 00:08

Regulatory filings in the USA show his Berkshire Hathaway holding company quadrupled its stake in Apple from 15.2 million shares to 57.4 million. Berkshire owns 57.4 million shares of Apple as of December 31, vs 15.2 million shares three months previously, according to a regulatory filing.

Assuming no part of Berkshire's stake has been sold, Apple's 16.6% gain in 2017 would leave Berkshire with a paper profit for just 2017 of $1.1 billion. The disclosure about the new stake in Apple, made last May, coincided with a period when Apple's shares were on the downswing and sparked wide speculation that Buffett was calling a bottom in the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Berkshire Hathaway from a "hold" rating to a "buy" rating and set a $160.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 5th. They now have a Dollars 163 price target on the stock.

The plunge into Apple appears particularly well-timed. On investment in airlines stocks, Buffett told in an interview to Charlie Rose last month that it was primarily his decision.

Combs and Weschler are the leading candidates to eventually succeed Buffett as Berkshire's chief investment officer. Apart from IBM, a stock Buffett followed for more than 50 years before finally buying in 2011, he had shown little interest in technology stocks.

"The industry was once balkanized, but now it is bulking up, and has come to realize that an empty seat is a perishable asset", Russo said. The firm remains bullish on airlines, dramatically expanding positions in both American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL).

Monsanto and Sirius did not immediately respond to requests for comment. One rationale could be that the size of Berkshire's equity portfolio limits the investable universe for the firm, and that with a market cap of more than $700 billion, Berkshire's stake is less than 1% of the total shares outstanding.

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