Buffett’s Berkshire Still Isn’t Buying. Here’s What It Sold.

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Updated Aug. 20, 2021 9:48 p.m. ET / Original Aug. 20, 2021 9:28 p.m. ET

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Illustration by Elias Stein

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If you’ve been waiting for Berkshire Hathaway to walk a decent chunk of its $144 cardinal successful currency and equivalents connected an acquisition, you’ll person to hold a small longer—maybe a batch longer. Not lone did Berkshire neglect to marque a important acquisition successful the 2nd quarter, but CEO Warren Buffett and his concern lieutenants, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, were nett sellers of astir $1 cardinal of stocks successful the period, according to the company’s latest 10-Q filing.

Berkshire pared its stakes successful 3 cause stocks— AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck —all acquired successful 2020. The institution besides sold 7 cardinal General Motors shares successful the quarter, cutting its holding to 60 cardinal shares, present worthy $3.2 billion. Berkshire trimmed its Chevron presumption slightly, and added to its involvement successful grocer Kroger.

There were nary changes successful its 2 largest holdings. The company’s Apple involvement held dependable astatine 887 cardinal shares, present worthy $134 billion, and Bank of America stood astatine 1.01 cardinal shares, worthy $41 billion. Berkshire’s full equity holdings topped $300 cardinal arsenic of June 30.

As for its ain shares, Berkshire was a buyer, scooping up astir $6 cardinal of banal successful each of the past 2 quarters, oregon astir 1% of the shares outstanding successful each period.

And it wasn’t the lone buyer; some stock classes are up astir 25% this year, up of the S&P 500 index’s full instrumentality of astir 20%.

Last Week

Pre-Tantrum

Stock indexes finished the week successful the red, with the bulk of the week’s selling coming connected Tuesday and Wednesday. The S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Average each sank adjacent to 2% implicit those days. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s monetary argumentation committee’s latest meeting, released connected Wednesday, showed an progressive statement among officials astir erstwhile to statesman withdrawing the exigency stimulus successful spot since March 2020. The Fed could statesman reducing its U.S. Treasury and mortgage-backed securities purchases—currently moving astatine a combined $120 cardinal a month—this fall. The Dow finished the week down 1.1%, astatine 35,120.08; the S&P mislaid 0.6%, to 4441.67; and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.7%, to 14,714.66.

Shop Till They Drop

Retailers reported their results for the May-to-July period, their 2nd quarter. The wide representation is of consumers equipped with pandemic savings and national stimulus cash—and anxious to walk it. Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Macy’s, and much topped Wall Street’s forecasts for income and profits successful the quarter. (See “Shoppers Are Crowding Malls and Bricks-and-Mortar Stores Again.”)

Calling All Hackers

Shares of T-Mobile US came nether unit aft reports successful the online work Motherboard that lawsuit information claiming to beryllium from the wireless web operator’s servers was for merchantability online. T-Mobile aboriginal confirmed that determination had been unauthorized entree to immoderate of the company’s data, including records for astir 54 cardinal people.

Passing the Baton

Johnson & Johnson announced a astonishment CEO transition. Its existent main executive, Alex Gorsky, volition manus the reins to Joaquin Duato successful January aft 9 years successful complaint and 3 decades astatine the company, which has a marketplace worth of astir $500 billion. Duato, 59, is presently the vice president of J&J’s enforcement committee. Gorsky, 61, volition presume the station of enforcement chairman, a recently created role, adjacent year.

Annals of Deal Making

Gene-sequencing steadfast Illumina closed a $7.1 cardinal acquisition of Grail, which works connected aboriginal crab detection. A ineligible conflict with the Federal Trade Commission continues…German logistics steadfast Deutsche Post volition get water freight-forwarding institution J.F. Hillebrand Group for astir 1.5 cardinal euros ($1.8 billion) successful cash…Toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker agreed to wage $1.6 cardinal successful currency for the 80% of MTD Holdings that it doesn’t already own. MTD makes tract mowers and different outdoor powerfulness tools nether the Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt brands… BHP Group volition merge its oil-and-gas portion with Woodside Petroleum successful an all-stock deal, with its shareholders owning 48%. The miner volition besides displacement its superior banal marketplace listing from London to Sydney.

Write to Andrew Bary astatine andrew.bary@barrons.com

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