Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway slashed its Goldman Sachs stake by 84% last quarter

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway slashed its stake in Goldman Sachs and exited its positions in Philips 66 and Travelers in the first quarter, a financial filing on Friday showed.
  • The billionaire investor's company cut its Goldman holdings by 84%, helping to reduce their value from about $2.8 billion to less than $300 million.
  • Berkshire left most of its holdings untouched, but the coronavirus pandemic fueled a 27% drop in the value of its stock portfolio to $176 billion.
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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway slashed its Goldman Sachs holdings and sold its stakes in energy group Philips 66 and insurer Travelers in the first quarter, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released on Friday.

The famed investor's conglomerate slashed its Goldman position by 84%, from about 12 million shares at the end of December to fewer than 2 million at the end of March. Combined with a decline in Goldman's share price, that meant the value of Berkshire's position in the investment bank fell from about $2.8 billion to less than $300 million.

Berkshire also exited its positions in Philips 66 and Travelers, which were worth about $25 million and $43 million respectively on December 31.Advertisement

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The company left most of its holdings untouched, only trimming a handful such as JPMorgan, Liberty Global, Synchrony Financial, Sirius XM, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Verisign. However, the coronavirus sell-off meant the total value of its stock portfolio tumbled by 27%, from about $242 billion to $176 billion.

The SEC filing confirms Buffett's comments at Berkshire's annual meeting this month, where he signaled the company was relatively inactive in the first quarter.
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Berkshire's first-quarter earnings revealed it made just $1.8 billion in net stock purchases in the period, surprising many people who expected him to deploy Berkshire's massive cash pile to buy stocks during the market meltdown. Berkshire continued to upset expectations in April. It netted about $6.1 billion from stock sales as it dumped its stakes in the "big four" airlines.Advertisement

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