Thursday, August 15, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway raises stake in Wells Fargo

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in Wells Fargo & Co. by 1.1 percent in the second quarter, a securities filing Thursday shows.

Berkshire Hathaway, whose stock holdings are closely followed by investors, owned 463 million Wells Fargo shares valued at $19 billion, up from 458 million shares worth $16.9 billion in the first quarter.

The second quarter was a strong one for Wells Fargo, which reported profit of $5.3 billion, an increase of 20 percent from the same period last year. Earnings per share reached 98 cents, higher than analysts’ expectations of 93 cents.

Wells Fargo is considered by Berkshire Hathaway to be one of its "Big Four" investments. In its 2012 annual report, Berkshire Hathaway said it had an 8.7 percent stake in Wells Fargo. The other companies in the Big Four: American Express, IBM and Coca-Cola Co.

In the annual report, Berkshire Hathaway said its ownership interest in the four companies is likely to increase.

"The four companies possess marvelous businesses and are run by managers who are both talented and shareholder-oriented," the report said.

So, what other actions did the Omaha, Neb.-based company run by the famed investor take in the second quarter?

Well, among other things, it bought more shares of General Motors Co. but reduced holdings in Moody's Corp., Mondelez International and Kraft Foods Group.

By the way, CNBC has put together a slideshow of Berkshire Hathaway's 15 biggest stock holdings.