Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) bought Paramount Global (PARA) for the first time during stock market turmoil in the first quarter, while ditching two drug stocks entirely.
What Warren Buffett Bought, Sold In Q1
Buffett’s Berkshire picked up almost 69 million shares of Paramount Global worth more than $2.6 billion, according to its latest 13F filed late Monday, as tracked by whalewisdom.com. The small but growing Paramount+ streaming service is a rival to Netflix and Disney+. Paramount stock rocketed 15.3% to 32.32 Tuesday.
In Q1, Berkshire also opened stakes worth $3 billion in beaten-down Citigroup (C) and worth $390 million in Ally Financial (ALLY) while exiting a small remaining position in Well Fargo (WFC). Citigroup stock and Ally Financial stock jumped 7.6% and 6.2%, respective, Tuesday.
The conglomerate also took a new position in Keytruda cancer drug maker Merck (MCK) while reducing Royalty Pharma (RPRX). It also dumped Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) and AbbVie (ABBV) entirely after steadily reducing those drug stocks. In addition, it bought Celanese (C) and Markel (MKL) for the first time.
Merck is in a buy range after clearing an 89.58 entry in a cup-with-handle base.
Berkshire Hathaway turned into an active buyer of stocks during last quarter’s volatility, especially in the quarter’s final six weeks, after a long stretch of muted purchases.
It further grew a stake in Chevron (CVX), adding nearly 121 million shares. It also grew Occidental Petroleum (OXY) by nearly 6 million shares with oil prices near highs.
The conglomerate added 3.8 million shares of top holding Apple (AAPL) during the tech stock’s Q1 sell-off, taking its total Apple shares held to 890.9 million. It gathered roughly 50 million more shares of Activision Blizzard (ATVI) as well.
In addition, Buffett added to Liberty Media (FWONK), Floor & Decor (FND), General Motors (GM) and RH (RH) in Q1. It slashed a stake in Verizon (VZ) by 99% and also reduced Store Capital (STOR) and Kroger (KR) last quarter.
The 13F filing is a required disclosure for institutional investors managing more than $100 million in assets. Some investors use 13F filings to assess how the “smart money” is betting in the stock market.
Top Berkshire Hathaway Stock Holdings
Besides Apple stock, Berkshire’s latest 13F filing showed that top holdings in Warren Buffett’s Dow stocks-heavy portfolio, stayed steady during Q1’s tech-led sell-off.
Bank of America (BAC), American Express (AXP), Coca Cola (KO) and Kraft Heinz (KHC) count among Berkshire’s biggest stock holdings. A smaller but notable holding is Amazon (AMZN).
The conglomerate made no changes to any of those holdings during Q1.
Investing legend Warren Buffett has a long-term track record of beating the market with his picks. The Berkshire chief tends to be a buy-and-hold investor, hanging on to stocks for years or even decades. The outfit has stood fast on Coca Cola stock since Q1 2001, for example.
In 2021, Berkshire Hathaway mostly played defense as the stock market marched higher, while its hefty cash pile remained elevated. Buffett famously hates overpaying for stocks or businesses.
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In Q1, he “bought the dip,” betting big that energy prices will stay high. Berkshire’s total investment in Occidental and Chevron was worth more than $39 billion at the end of Q1, a relatively large investment in the energy sector.
“The acceleration in investment activity has been a welcome surprise,” Edward Jones analyst James Shanahan wrote in an April 30 note.
In Q1, Berkshire’s net stock buys exceeded $41 billion vs. net sales of $7 billion during 2021, Shanahan said. It also repurchased $3.2 billion of Berkshire shares. Amid those moves, its cash balance shrank by $40 billion from the end of 2021 to $106 billion at the end of March.
B-class shares of Berkshire stock rose 1.8% amid a broad rally on the stock market today. Apple stock gained 2.5%.
Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna.
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