Buffett's firm buys more airline stock in first quarter

Andrew Cummings
May 16, 2017

The filing expected Monday afternoon will detail all of Berkshire's US stock holdings at the end of March, so other changes may be disclosed.

Buffett recently announced that Berkshire Hathaway had sold about a third of its IBM stock.

Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway (brk.a) gave up on Twenty-First Century Fox stock earlier this year, it disclosed Monday-just as the owner of Fox News was embroiled in a widening sexual harassment scandal that culminated last month in the ouster of political commentator Bill O'Reilly.

It also shed 8 percent of its holdings in Delta Air Lines Inc, ending the quarter with 55 million shares worth $2.53 billion. Berkshire's stake in United Continental Holdings Inc. remained unchanged at about 29 million shares.

Download our Expert Edition e-book, Cyber: Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation. Buffett now holds 49.3 million shares worth more than $2 billion in American and 47.7 million shares worth $2.57 billion in Southwest.

For much of his career, Buffett criticized airlines as bad businesses, a view he revised past year, as his company built stakes of more than $2 billion in each of the four largest US carriers. He has invested in all the major airlines now because he believes the industry is much healthier now and flying with planes at least 80 percent full most of the time.

The investment firm exited its holdings of 21st Century Fox Class A shares.

Berkshire officials don't generally comment on the quarterly filings or the reasons for their portfolio moves. Many of these filings are followed to get a glimpse of what the smartest and biggest investors are buying and selling. For Berkshire, larger investments are usually Buffett's and smaller ones belong to either Todd Combs or Ted Weschler, Berkshire's two other investment managers.

Besides investments, Berkshire owns more than 90 companies, including insurance, retail, manufacturing, railroad and candy companies.

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