It wasn't just Apple shares that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was gobbling up in the first three months of the year.
The billionaire investor also more than doubled his stake in generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and boosted his holdings in agriculture products giant Monsanto.
Teva shares, which Berkshire started buying in the final quarter of 2017, jumped 3% to $21 in Wednesday afternoon trading. It's not uncommon for stocks to rise in value after Buffett's purchase of them is made public.
The moves in Buffett's closely watched Berkshire stock portfolio were revealed in a quarterly regulatory filing that provided an update on holdings through March 31.
Ahead of Berkshire's annual meeting May 5, Buffett revealed that he had purchased nearly 75 million shares of Apple stock. That was confirmed in the filing released Tuesday night. Berkshire's total stake in the iPhone maker is now nearly 240 million shares, valued at roughly $44.7 billion as of last night's closing price of $186.44.
Here are the major stock purchases and sales executed by Buffett in Berkshire's $173 billion stock portfolio in the first three months of 2018.
What Buffett is buying:
Apple: Buffett has bought aggressively over the past year after steering clear of the company for more than three decades. It's now Berkshire's top stock holding. At the company's annual meeting this month, Buffett touted the iPhone for becoming an integral part of Americans' lives. He also backed Apple's recent decision to repurchase $100 billion of its own stock, a move Buffett said would boost his investment.
“I’m delighted to see them repurchasing shares,” Buffett told Berkshire shareholders at the annual meeting. “I love the idea of having our 5%, or whatever it is, maybe grow to 6 or 7% without our laying out a dime. But you have to have a very, very special product, which has an enormously widespread ecosystem, and the product is extremely sticky.”
Teva Pharmaceutical: Berkshire bought 21.7 million more shares of Teva, an Israeli-based drug maker, in the first quarter, more than doubling its stake to 40.5 million shares, according to the filing. It's unclear if Buffett himself is behind the growing Teva stake, or if it is an investment favored by one or both of his stock-picking lieutenants Ted Weschler or Todd Combs. Both money managers, Buffett said at the recent annual meeting, now manage stock portfolios valued at $12 to $15 billion. The filing does not disclose which money manager bought the stock.
Monsanto: Buffett's Berkshire boosted its position in Monsanto, the giant agriculture products maker, by more than 60% with a purchase of 7.3 million shares. Berkshire's total position now totals nearly 19 million shares.
Berkshire also added to its holdings in two banks, U.S. Bancorp and Bank of New York Mellon, as well as Delta Air Lines.
What Buffett is selling:
Graham Holdings: Buffett dumped a newspaper holding that dates to the 1970s. He shed all 107,575 shares of Graham Holdings, the former publisher of The Washington Post.
Wells Fargo: Buffett trimmed his position in his former biggest holding, Wells Fargo, a bank that has been roiled in controversy the past two years due to revelations that it had created accounts for clients without their consent. In the first quarter, Buffett sold 1.72 million shares, leaving him with a still-sizable holding of 456.5 million shares. Buffett defended the bank at Berkshire's recent annual meeting, saying he still likes the stock and supports CEO Tim Sloan.
Phillips 66: Berkshire trimmed its stake in the energy-related company by 35 million shares, or more than 40%. But the sale was previously disclosed by Buffett's company, and it was done to keep Berkshire's total investment below the 10% ownership level that triggers additional regulation and oversight. Berkshire still owns 45.7 million shares of the oil refiner.
IBM: Buffett finally exited his entire position in IBM, selling the final 2 milion shares Berkshire owned. He has long said that buying Big Blue, his first tech purchase, was one of his biggest investment mistakes.
Other small stock sales by Buffett in the first quarter of 2018 included a 266,518 share reduction in Charter Communications, and a 505,600 share sale of United Continental.