Gordon Reid discusses Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. sold off most of its Goldman Sachs Group Inc. stake, a longtime holding that slumped nearly 33 per cent during the first quarter as the global pandemic roiled financial markets.
The company cut its investment in JPMorgan Chase & Co. by three per cent in the first quarter. Buffett’s company has been a big investor in banks in the past, normally trying to keep many of those stakes below a 10-per-cent level often scrutinized by regulators.
• The Goldman Sachs holding plunged 84 per cent to 1.92 million shares, an investment currently valued at around US$330 million, Berkshire said Friday in a filing.
• Buffett’s company exited a bet on Travelers Cos. and a wager on Phillips 66, a holding that had been valued at more than US$25 million at the end of the year. Buffett’s long had ties to the oil refiner, even agreeing in 2013 to swap some shares for full ownership of a pipeline-services business.
• Berkshire cut its investment in Amazon.com Inc. by just 0.7 per cent in the first quarter. The Amazon wager was a newer bet, disclosed in 2019 ahead of Berkshire’s annual meeting. The retailer has warned that it’s been spending more to maintain operations during the pandemic, moves that could weigh on profit.
• Berkshire did end up boosting one bank bet with an increased stake in PNC Financial Services Group Inc. In recent years, Buffett’s company has built stakes in a range of U.S. lenders, including PNC and Bank of America Corp.