Buf­fett’s com­pany sells IBM shares again, buys more Ap­ple

San Francisco Chronicle - - BUSINESS - By Josh Funk Josh Funk is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

OMAHA, Neb. — War­ren Buf­fett’s com­pany sold al­most a third of its re­main­ing IBM shares in the third quar­ter and changed some of its other in­vest­ments.

Berk­shire Hath­away filed a quar­terly snap­shot of its port­fo­lio with the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion on Tues­day. In­vestors watch Berk­shire’s fil­ings closely be­cause of Buf­fett’s suc­cess­ful record.

The com­pany sold nearly 32 per­cent of its re­main­ing IBM shares to leave it with 37 mil­lion shares at the end of the quar­ter. Be­fore this spring, Berk­shire had held more than 80 mil­lion IBM shares.

Berk­shire also picked up nearly 4 mil­lion more Ap­ple shares to give it 134 mil­lion shares of the Cu­per­tino com­pany.

Berk­shire of­fi­cials don’t gen­er­ally com­ment on the rea­sons for their port­fo­lio moves.

But Buf­fett has said that IBM hasn’t per­formed the way he ex­pected since he first bought shares in 2011. IBM’s stock rose to $215 in March 2013 but closed Tues­day at just un­der $149, a de­cline of more than 30 per­cent, as the com­pany has faced stiff com­pe­ti­tion in the cloud com­put­ing busi­ness from Mi­crosoft and Ama­zon.

The quar­terly fil­ings with the SEC don’t make clear who made all the in­vest­ments at Berk­shire. But Buf­fett han­dles the big­gest in­vest­ments, such as Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo, while in­vest­ments of less than $1 bil­lion are of­ten the work of Berk­shire’s two other in­vest­ment man­agers.

The lat­est quar­ter is the first since Berk­shire ex­er­cised the Bank of Amer­ica war­rants it re­ceived in 2011 when Buf­fett in­vested $5 bil­lion in the bank. It re­ported hold­ing 679 mil­lion Bank of Amer­ica shares at the end of Septem­ber.

It boosted its in­vest­ments in Syn­chrony Fi­nan­cial and Mon­santo.

And it trimmed its stakes in Wells Fargo and Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

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