Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. cut its Apple Inc. holding during the last few months of the year. The conglomerate also revealed three new buys that it snapped up in secret.
Berkshire bought stock in Verizon Communications Inc., insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Cos. and Chevron Corp., bets that were granted confidential status and not revealed in a third-quarter regulatory filing, according to an updated document released Tuesday. The news of the investments sent the shares of those three companies up in after-market trading.
The Apple stake reduction left Berkshire with a holding valued at about $120 billion at the end of 2020, according to another filing. The iPhone maker remains Berkshire’s biggest single stock holding.
Buffett and his investment deputies, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, reshaped the portfolio over the last year as the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. The company was heavily invested in the banking sector, which has done well in the pandemic but is exposed to consumer finances and commercial real estate. The conglomerate has spent recent months lightening up on some of those lenders, while maintaining bets on firms such as Bank of America Corp.
Berkshire cut a few bank holdings, exiting JPMorgan Chase & Co., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and M&T Bank Corp. while slashing its Wells Fargo & Co. stake by 59%. The company also shifted recent bets on drugmakers by increasing a stake in Merck & Co Inc., Abbvie Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. It ended a recent investment in Pfizer Inc.
Berkshire exited a bet on Barrick Gold Corp. The investment was a surprise when it was revealed last year, given Buffett’s years of chiding the precious metal. The company also trimmed an investment in General Motors Co., cutting that holding to a stake valued at roughly $3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter.
Some of the new stakes were sizable. Berkshire held an investment in Chevron valued at nearly $4.1 billion at the end of 2020, while its Marsh & McLennan bet was valued at $499 million. Berkshire accumulated a $8.6 billion stake in Verizon, a company that it had previously bet on but cut in 2019.
Verizon stock was up roughly 2.7% to $55.59 at 6:03 p.m. in New York, while Chevron gained 2.4%. Marsh & McLennan climbed less than 1% to $115 at 4:58 p.m.