Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Buffett reveals Berkshire's 15 largest stock holdings - including Apple, Wells Fargo

Rick Wilking  Reuters Rick Wilking Reuters
Lindsey Cook | 25 February, 2018, 00:16

Every year, the world's third-richest man pens a much-anticipated letter (pdf) to shareholders of his company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Here's what to watch for in the latest letter from Buffett, 87, which is set for release online Saturday at 8 a.m.at Berkshire's home page http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/. He also stepped down from the board of food and drinks giant Kraft Heinz on Friday but was tight-lipped on succession yesterday.

Berkshire attributed roughly $29.11 billion of its net income to the reduction of the corporate tax rate, to 21 percent from 35 percent, that Trump signed into law in December.

But he said the prices asked for businesses a year ago "hit an all-time high", and Berkshire will be looking for those available at "a sensible purchase price".

Berkshire Hathaway has a broad financial reach.

The iPhone maker, which wasn't even a Berkshire holding until the first quarter of 2016, has quickly grown to one of Berkshire's top stock holdings, if not its biggest.

Book value, Buffett's favorite measure of value, is the total amount a company would be worth if it liquidated its assets and paid back all its liabilities.

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Past year was another good one for Berkshire shareholders, as the company's "A" shares rose almost 22%, vs. a gain of 19.4% for the S&P 500, a broad stock market index.

On Friday, Berkshire's Class A shares closed at $304,020.01, having risen above $300,000 a share for the first time ever in December on expectations that Trump's U.S. tax overhaul would pass into law.

"But", he added, "2017 was far from standard: a large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire". And sometimes I will make expensive mistakes.

Buffett gave the final details of a 10-year long bet he made against hedge funds in 2007.

Buffett says investors shouldn't assume that bonds are less risky than stocks.

In last year's letter, Buffett said Jack Bogle, the Vanguard Group founder considered to be the father of indexing, was the person who had done the most for American investors.

Buffett touted his win in a bet that he made 10 years ago, in which he basically wagered that a low-priced index fund tracking the S&P 500 stock index would post better returns over the next decade than a portfolio of five fund of funds run by high-fee hedge fund managers, often considered the "smart money" on Wall Street.

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