Buffett Doubles Apple Stake, Adds to Airlines

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rather mundanely requires asset managers with $100 million or more in assets to disclose their holdings quarterly in a form titled “13F”. Many of these filings are followed to get a glimpse of what the smartest and biggest investors are buying and selling. But no 13F is more anticipated than Berkshire Hathaway’s because of the fame and following of its CEO, as well as Chief Investment Officer, Warren Buffett. Although Buffett makes most of Berkshire’s investments, two asset managers he has hired in recent years also manage a portion of Berkshire’s money and it is often challenging to distinguish which individual is behind a trade. 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.

In a move that Buffett had already announced, Berkshire substantially increased its stake in Apple to 129 million shares, or 2.3% of the company. At today’s close of $155.70, those shares are worth about $20 billion. Berkshire owned 61 million shares at year-end.

In another pre-announced shift, Berkshire also sold down its stake in IBM, from 81 million shares to 65 million shares, worth a little less than $10 billion.

Two airline stakes were raised by Berkshire. The company now owns 49 million shares of American Airlines, worth $2.3 billion and equal to about 9.6% of the airline. Ownership in Southwest Airlines was also raised from 43 million shares to nearly 48 million shares. The 7.7% stake is worth $2.8 billion.

In moves most likely not made by Buffett, Berkshire’s stake in Twenty-First Century Fox was eliminated and stakes in the Bank of New York and Sirius XM were raised.

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