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Buffett's Firm Reveals 2 New Stock Investments

Thu, 05/16/2013 - 8:03am
Josh Funk, Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Warren Buffett's company revealed new investments in Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. and Starz on Wednesday, and it sold off some of its stake in snack food maker Mondelez International Inc.

Berkshire Hathaway also made several other adjustments to its $85 billion U.S. stock portfolio during the first quarter. The changes were disclosed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At the end of March, Berkshire held 6.5 million shares of engineering and construction firm Chicago Bridge & Iron that focuses on energy projects and 5.6 million shares of movie network Starz.

Berkshire's investments are closely watched because many people try to copy Buffett's moves. But because many of the firm's latest investments are smaller than $500 million, they were likely the work of Berkshire's two other investment managers.

The quarterly stock filing doesn't say who made each investment decision. Todd Combs and Ted Weschler are each managing portfolios worth about $5 billion for Berkshire while Buffett continues to make most of the investment decisions for the Omaha, Neb.-based conglomerate.

Berkshire officials do not routinely comment on these required disclosures, and no one responded immediately to a message about it on Wednesday afternoon.

Berkshire cut its Mondelez stake to 7 million shares from 12.8 million at the end of 2012. It also trimmed its Kraft Foods investment slightly to 1.6 million shares from 1.67 million shares.

Berkshire's new CB&I investment complements several other energy industry investments in the portfolio. Berkshire bought more shares of National Oilwell Varco Inc. to give it 7.5 million shares and maintained its investments in Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips.

Berkshire also bought more stock in one of Buffett's favorite banks, Wells Fargo & Co. Berkshire owns 458.2 million Wells Fargo shares, up from 439.9 million. And Berkshire invested in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to give it 49.2 million shares at the end of March, up from 47.5 million.

Buffett's company increased its investment in Internet registry service VeriSign Inc. to 8.2 million shares from the 3.7 million it held at year-end.

Berkshire eliminated two smaller investments in Archer Daniels Midland Co. and General Dynamics Corp. that were in its portfolio at the end of 2012. It also reduced its stake in the Bank of New York Mellon to 18.9 million shares from 19.6 million.

Besides investments, Berkshire owns more than 80 companies; including insurance, utility, railroad, furniture, jewelry, manufacturing, restaurant and apparel companies. Berkshire's insurance and utility businesses typically account for more than half of his company's net income.

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