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Buffett’s Berkshire Bets on GM, Ups Wal-Mart Stake

Warren Buffett is betting that more people will be shopping at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and buying General Motors (NYSE:GM) cars.

The iconic billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A, BRK.B) investment company took its first stake in GM and increased its existing stake in Wal-Mart, during the first quarter, according to SEC filings.

With U.S. car sales risings, Berkshire purchased 10 million GM shares for about $214 million. Buffet is known to drive a Cadillac DTS, though the investment could have been directed by any of Berkshire’s investment managers, the Associated Press notes.

Berkshire also increased its stake in Wal-Mart with the purchase of 8 million shares. That brings Berkshire’s total stake in the world’s largest retail chain to 46.7 million shares.

The move is seen as a vote of confidence in the retailer, which is facing federal scrutiny after the New York Times revealed rampant bribery and corruption in its Mexican subsidiary last month.

According to the AP, Buffett has said that the scandal won’t harm Wal-Mart’s profitability.

In addition to GM, Berkshire also acquired a 1.6 million-share, first-time stake in Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) during the first quarter, while increasing its holdings of IBM (NYSE:IBM), Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) and Direct TV (NASDAQ:DTV).

Berkshire showed less confidence in Kraft (NYSE:KFT), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), lowering its stakes in those companies.

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