The midpoint of every quarter is always a very interesting time. Earnings season is well underway and investment funds file their 13F form, a report that discloses their entire portfolio of stock holdings on the final day of the quarter. The 13F filing is due within 45 days from the end of the quarter, and just about all of these investment funds wait until the last minute to file the report.
Warren Buffett’s stock trades from the first quarter of 2015 are revealed in the 13F filing and, though there aren’t any major surprises, the disclosure gives us a glimpse into what the Oracle of Omaha has been buying recently.
Banks and other financial services companies continue to make up what is by far the largest collection of stocks in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. His largest holding is Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), but he also owns American Express (NYSE: AXP), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK), M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB), Visa (NYSE: V), MasterCard (NYSE: MA) and a couple of other companies that have their hands in lending or payment processing.
In all, financial stocks make up roughly 45% of Warren Buffett’s stock portfolio.
During the first quarter Buffett added shares of Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, but reduced Berkshire’s exposure to Bank of New York Mellon, Visa and MasterCard.
Buffett increased his stake in Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) by more than 10% during the first quarter. This certainly isn’t indicative of Warren Buffett liking all energy stocks. Remember that he dumped a huge Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) stake during the fourth quarter of 2014. He also reduced his stake in National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV) by 62% during the first quarter.
Buffett added to one of his latest favorite stocks, Deere & Company (NYSE: DE), the name behind John Deere tractors and other products. He now controls roughly 5% of the company.
Two of Berkshire Hathaway’s three biggest positions also grew during the quarter. Buffett bought shares of International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) – enough to grow the position by roughly 3%. The new purchases leave Berkshire controlling roughly 8% of IBM, and it remains one of Buffett’s favorite stocks.
Buffett also grew his largest stock position: Wells Fargo. He increased the overall position by around 1.5%, bringing his stake in Wells Fargo to 23.88% of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. Berkshire owns around 10% of Wells Fargo’s shares outstanding.
Let’s step back a bit to look at the whole portfolio.
Warren Buffett’s stock portfolio decreased in the first quarter of 2015 by roughly $2 billion, shrinking from $109.37 billion to $107.13 billion.
Wells Fargo is by far Buffett’s largest stock position, accounting for 23.88% of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio. His top three stock holdings – Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and IBM – make up just over 50% of the portfolio. Add in the next two largest positions – American Express and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) – and you’ll find that the top five Warren Buffett stocks make up almost exactly two-thirds of the 45-stock portfolio.
Keep an eye out for other 13F-related news this week, as we share with you the stocks that major investors like Warren Buffett are buying and selling in today’s market.
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