Warren Buffett bought up several drug stocks, according to regulatory filings, as Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRKB) stock portfolio expanded in Q3.
According to a 13F filing, Buffett took a fresh position with 3.7 million shares in Pfizer (PFE), which soared last week after reporting positive initial data on coronavirus vaccine candidate.
He also bought 21.2 million shares of AbbVie (ABBV), 22.4 million shares of Merck (MRK) and about 30 million shares of Bristol Myers (BMY).
Meanwhile, he continued to shed bank stocks like JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC), while exiting Costco (COST).
Shares of AbbVie rose 1.8% in late trading on the stock market today, Pfizer added 0.9%, Merck gained 0.7% and Bristol Myers rallied 1.6%.
According to Berkshire Hathaway’s Q3 earnings report released earlier this month, Buffett poured $4.8 billion into stocks, excluding a surge in buybacks. That marked a reversal from Q2’s $13 billion in stock sales, the most in more than a decade, as he exited all his airline stocks, including Delta Air Lines (DAL).
Earlier clues pointed to Q3 moves, including an investment in cloud data-warehousing IPO Snowflake (SNOW) and Bank of America (BAC) purchases made in tranches.
Early in Q3, Berkshire steadily nibbled at BofA shares, eventually plowing more than $2 billion into the No. 2 stock in its closely watched equity investment portfolio. Starting July 20, Berkshire’s stake in the banking giant rose to more than 1 billion shares, up from 925 million shares at the end of Q2.
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With Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) still on torrid runs, Berkshire’s closely watched stock portfolio booked $25 billion in Q3 gains.
And while Buffett continued shy away from making big merger deals, Berkshire also bought stakes in five leading Japanese trading companies in August.
But the biggest purchases in Q3 were of Berkshire stock. The earnings report showed the latest buybacks totaled $9 billion, exceeding any full-year amount in the company’s history. It was also a big jump from then-record buybacks of $5.1 billion in Q2.
In addition to the Snowflake IPO and the surge in repurchases, Buffett earlier demonstrated other atypical moves for him. In Q2, Berkshire bought nearly 21 million shares of gold mining giant Barrick Gold (GOLD), valued at more than $563 million.
But the surge in buybacks and other stock purchases meant investors saw something they are not accustomed to: a dip in Berkshire’s cash pile. It went to $145.7 billion from a record high of $146.6 billion in Q2.
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