FRI, SEP 02, 2022
Berkshire sells nearly 8% of its BYD shares
A pair of regulatory filings with the Hong Kong stock exchange this week reveal that Berkshire Hathaway has sold 7.9% of its BYD shares.
In his annual letter to shareholders in February, Warren Buffett noted that Berkshire still held its entire original stake of 225 million shares as of the end of last year. (It bought them in 2008 for around $230 million. Berkshire's reduced stake is worth almost $5.7 billion now.)
A filing on Tuesday showed a sale on August 24 of 1.3 million shares had lowered Berkshire's stake from 20.04% to 19.92%.
Hong Kong's exchange requires a filing when the number to the left of the decimal point in a stake above 5% moves from one integer to another, as it did when it moved from 20 to 19 due to the reported trade.
But the size of Berkshire's stake had actually dropped from 225 million to 218.7 million shares, presumably as a result of earlier sales that hadn't been reported because they didn't move the percentage from one whole number to another.
That's a drop of 2.8%.
And the filing today (Asia time) details a 1.7 million share sale that changed Berkshire's stake from 19.02% to 18.87%.
But once again, there were more sales in between the filings. This latest filing shows Berkshire now owns a bit more than 207 million shares.
That's a 5.3% reduction from the first filing this week, and a drop of 7.9% from the 225 million shares Berkshire owned as of the end of last year.
Shares of BYD have been falling on concerns Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger may have soured on the company and are planning more sales.
That would be quite a turnaround, especially for Munger, who has called the Chinese electric vehicle maker a "damn miracle."
But Barron's notes the sales may be "oddly welcome news" to BYD investors. That's because the stock had already dropped in July amid speculation Berkshire might sell the entire stake because shares matching the size of its position had appeared in Hong Kong's clearing system.
Bloomberg reported at the time that "while there are many reasons a stake might appear (there), such moves are often seen by traders as precursors to sales because shares must enter the system before transactions can be settled."
Now that we have seen some sales, the question is whether they continue and how big they'll turn out to be.
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BERKSHIRE'S TOP U.S. STOCK HOLDINGS - Sep. 2, 2022
Berkshire's top holdings of disclosed publicly-traded U.S. stocks, and BYD, by market value, based on today's closing prices.
Holdings are as of June 30, 2022 as reported in Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F filing on August 15, 2022, except for:
Apple, Bank of America, Chevron, and U.S. Bancorp, which also include shares held as of June 30, 2022 as disclosed in New England Asset Management’s 13F filing on August 15, 2022
- BYD, which is as of September 1, 2022
Occidental Petroleum, which is as of August 8, 2022
The full list of holdings and current market values is available from CNBC.com's Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker.
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-- Alex Crippen, Editor, Warren Buffett Watch