Warren Buffett is not known for frenetic trading, so the fourth quarter of 2009 was a particularly active time for Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A) portfolio of publicly traded stocks. There were changes in eighteen of the forty three positions held at the start of the quarter.
Berkshire Hathaway submitted the company’s quarterly 13F Report to the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday afternoon, listing positions held as of December 31, 2009. The 13F filing only covers holdings that trade in the United States. The report includes shares of foreign issuers only if those shares are held as ADRs that trade on a United States stock exchange. Shares that trade on foreign exchanges are not reported on this form.
Rail Shares Liquidated and Oil Stakes Trimmed
As previously reported, Berkshire liquidated positions in Norfolk Southern (NSC) and Union Pacific (UNP) to pave the way for regulatory approval of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe acquisition which was completed last Friday.
The company trimmed positions in CarMax (KMX), Conoco Phillips (COP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Gannett (GCI), Ingersoll Rand (IR), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Moody’s (MCO), Proctor & Gamble (PG), SunTrust Bank (STI), Unitedhealth Group (UNH), and Wellpoint (WLP) while adding to positions in Becton Dickinson (BDX), Iron Mountain (IRM), Republic Services (RSG), Wal-Mart (WMT), and Wells Fargo (WFC). There were no newly established positions during the quarter.
It is particularly interesting to note Berkshire’s sale of Exxon Mobil shares given that the company just started acquiring Exxon stock during the second quarter of 2009.
Net Seller During Quarter
In the aggregate, Berkshire was clearly a net seller of stocks during the quarter in terms of market value. However, it may be incorrect to view the liquidations as a call on the valuation of the overall stock market. Instead, it is likely that Warren Buffett intended to raise some cash to partially fund the Burlington Northern Santa Fe acquisition.
The following spreadsheets summarize the 13-F data in a format that is easier to read compared to the raw 13-F filing.
Disclosure: The author owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.