Buffett's Berkshire increases bet on Amazon

Andrew Cummings
August 17, 2019

Investors follow what Berkshire buys and sells closely because of Buffett's successful track record. Berkshire's bigger push into technology companies has been driven in part by Buffett deputies Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, one of whom made the original Amazon investment in the first quarter.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Wednesday said it boosted its stake in Amazon.com Inc by 11% during the second quarter, as USA stock indexes traded near record highs.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that Berkshire now owns 537,300 Amazon shares worth $947 million, up from the 483,300 shares that it reported in June. It also cut investment in Charter Communications by 5%, even after the cable company's stock surged 14% during the quarter.

It made the disclosure in a regulatory filing detailing the US$208.1-billion of USA -listed stocks it owned as of June 30. Berkshire officials don't generally comment on these quarterly filings.

The biggest investment to exit Berkshire's portfolio was a roughly $1.7 billion stake in USG, a wallboard maker acquired by Germany's Knauf KG in April.

But Ackman said he will not necessarily be as public in pushing for changes as he has been in the past and that Berkshire will be a passive investment.

Buffett's insurance company also revealed a US$749 million stake in Pershing Square Capital Management, owned by fellow billionaire William Ackman.

But in recent years, Berkshire has become a major investor in Apple and now Amazon. Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo and American Express were still Buffett's most-loved stocks.

In the past, Buffett has mostly avoided tech stocks because he said he didn't understand them well enough to invest in them.

Berkshire's stock price is more than 12% below the record high set in October, mostly due to troubles with the Kraft Heinz investment.

One example where a soft touch has worked so far is Starbucks, an investment Ackman announced late past year and which has been one of his biggest winners.

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