By: Dividend Sensei
Despite a record first-quarter loss for Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B), there’s little denying that Warren Buffett is one of the greatest investors of our time. He’s created close to $400 billion in value for Berkshire’s shareholders over many decades, and he’s handily outperformed the S&P 500 (inclusive of dividends) by more than 2,700,000% since 1964.
As a general rule, when Warren Buffett buys or sells a stock, Wall Street and retail investors tend to pay close attention. That’s why the filing of Form 13F with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday, May 15, was so anticipated.
The Oracle of Omaha has been a busy bee in 2020
Form 13F provides a snapshot of what asset managers with more than $100 million under management owned as of the end of the previous quarter (in this case, March 31, 2020). Put another way, it’s a means of seeing what the brightest minds on Wall Street were up to during the fastest bear market correction in history.
For Buffett, who was sitting on a near-record $128 billion in cash to enter 2020, the expectation was that he would be an active buyer with the market in a serious downdraft. However, Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F showed quite the opposite, with a total of 19 stocks (yes, nineteen) either being pared down or completely sold out of during the first quarter.
Keep in mind the Oracle of Omaha has been a busy bee in the weeks subsequent to the end of the first quarter. We’ve seen some modest bank stock selling, along with Buffett completely exiting positions in all four major airlines. But since none of these transactions occurred prior to the March 31 cutoff, they’re not being accounted for in the latest 13F filing. We’ll see this activity accounted for when Berkshire releases its second-quarter snapshot in mid-August.