- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway invested in Aon last quarter.
- Buffett’s company also boosted its Verizon and Kroger stakes.
- Berkshire reduced several positions including Chevron, Wells Fargo, and Merck.
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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a new bet on Aon in a portfolio update on Monday. It also revealed that it took a knife to several positions and virtually eliminated its Wells Fargo stake last quarter. sh_cad_3
The famed investor’s company bought 4.1 million shares of Aon, a global professional-services firm, in the three months to March 31. It also boosted its Verizon stake by about 8% to 159 million shares – worth over $9 billion at the end of the period. Moreover, it ramped up its Kroger bet by over 50% to north of 50 million shares. sh_cad_4
Buffett and his team trimmed several positions, which was expected given Berkshire’s recent earnings showed that it sold $3.9 billion of stock on a net basis last quarter. They slashed their Chevron stake, despite only establishing it last year, by just over half to 24 million shares worth $2.5 billion. They also reduced their pharmaceutical bets – AbbVie, Bristol Myers-Squibb, and Merck – and sold big chunks of their Liberty Global, Axalta, and StoneCo positions. sh_cad_5
Notably, Berkshire cut its Wells Fargo stake from more than 50 million shares to fewer than 700,000. The bank had been one of Buffett’s biggest positions until last year. Buffett’s conglomerate also exited positions in Suncor Energy and Synchrony Financial. sh_cad_6
The lack of purchases last quarter chimes with Buffett’s comments at Berkshire’s recent shareholder meeting. The investor said he was looking to invest about $80 billion of Berkshire’s roughly $140 billion cash hoard in stocks and businesses, but admitted he was struggling to find bargains in the current market. sh_cad_7
Buffett cited the Federal Reserve’s continued efforts to pump liquidity into markets, which has boosted asset prices and fueled competition for acquisitions, as a key factor. sh_cad_8