It appears that Warren Buffett is souring on the financial sector’s prospects, and that the Oracle of Omaha also has a newfound interest in Big Oil, as well as telecom and media.
He also bought stakes in Dow components Chevron (CVX) and Verizon (VZ) in the fourth quarter of last year.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) on Tuesday disclosed in its latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the industrial conglomerate no longer owns shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM), PNC (PNC) or M&T Bank (MTB). The shares were sold sometime in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The JPMorgan Chase sale is noteworthy given that Berkshire partnered with the Jamie Dimon-led bank and Amazon (AMZN) on a health insurance venture named Haven, formed in 2018 but which last month announced plans to shut down. Berkshire still owns shares of Amazon.
Berkshire Hathaway also cut back on its stake in scandal-ridden Wells Fargo (WFC), but kept its positions in Bank of America (BAC), Bank of New York (BK), US Bancorp (USB) and American Express (AXP). Berkshire acquired a new stake in another financial firm — insurance broker Marsh & McLennan (MMC),
Berkshire Hathaway sold all of its shares of Covid-19 vaccine maker Pfizer (PFE) as well as mining company Barrick Gold (GOLD) during the fourth quarter, too. The latter stock was a curious investment for Berkshire given Buffett’s well-known disdain for gold as an investment.
The Pfizer sale comes just one quarter after Berkshire made several other big bets on the health care sector. In fact, Berkshire disclosed Tuesday that it bought even more shares of AbbVie (ABBV), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Merck (MRK) in the fourth quarter.
Buffett trimmed Berkshire’s position in Apple (AAPL) as well, but the stock remains a top holding. Berkshire also added to its stake in wireless telecom giant T-Mobile (TMUS), in addition to its new stake in Verizon.
Verizon owns Yahoo, the company that now webcasts the livestream of Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting from Omaha each spring. That meeting, which is scheduled for May 1, will be a virtual affair due to Covid-19 — as it was last year.
The new stake in Chevron is an interesting choice for Berkshire Hathaway, given that Chevron lost a 2019 bidding war for Anadarko Petroleum to a Berkshire-backed offer by rival oil company Occidental (OXY). It looks like the consolation prize for Chevron is an investment from Buffett.