Buffett Bets on Suncor, Dish Network

by Dan Burrows | August 15, 2013 9:40 am

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B[1]) had a relatively quiet quarter of investment activity, adding only two new relatively small positions in Dish Network (DISH[2]) and Suncor Energy (SU[3]).

These quarterly disclosures of which stocks Buffett and his minions are buying and selling always garner keen interest, since he’s without a doubt the greatest value investor of his generation.

But it’s highly doubtful that you could replicate the Oracle of Omaha’s success by copycatting everything Berkshire discloses in its quarterly regulatory filings.

After all, if it were that easy, everyone would do it. And there’s only one Warren Buffett.

Besides, while initiating or adding to a position is always a vote of confidence on the part of Buffett and his managers on a stock’s long-term prospects, portfolio managers reduce or exit positions for a number of reasons.

Getting leaner on a stock — or getting out entirely — doesn’t not necessarily mean a vote of no-confidence; not in the totality of a diversified portfolio.

Still, it’s always fun to see what Buffett and his boys have been up to:

Berkshire reported a stake in Canadian heavy-oil producer Suncor of 17.8 million shares, valued at more than $500 million. That would appear to be a bet on the North American energy revolution, where new technology allows for the extraction of petrochemicals from the Canadian oil sands.

The company also took a new position in satellite-TV operator Dish Network of about 550,000 shares, worth $24 million. Given the tiny size of the stake, or roughly 0.03% of Berkshire’s portfolio, this investment was probably made by one of Buffett’s managers.

Interestingly, Berkshire is buying up small, local newspapers around the country, but it completely exited its stake in Gannett (GCI[4]), the nation’s largest newspaper publisher.

Berkshire also reduced its positions in three well-known names: Moody’s (MCO[5]), Mondelez (MDLZ[6]) and Kraft Foods (KRFT[7]).

Elsewhere, Berkshire added to some of its favorite stocks.

The company lifted its stake in General Motors (GM[8]) by 60% to 40 million shares, worth about $1.4 billion at today’s prices. The investment in Bank of New York Mellon (BK[9]) was raised by nearly 30% to 24.6 million shares, worth about $700 million.

Berkshire also bought some more Wells Fargo (WFC[10]), a Big Four core holding of the firm and its top position. WFC now accounts for nearly 22% of Berkshire’s equity portfolio, followed by Coca-Cola (KO[11]) at 18% and International Business Machines (IBM[12]) at nearly 15%.

As of this writing, Dan Burrows did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

  1. BRK.B: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=BRK.B
  2. DISH: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=DISH
  3. SU: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=SU
  4. GCI: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GCI
  5. MCO: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=MCO
  6. MDLZ: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=MDLZ
  7. KRFT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KRFT
  8. GM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GM
  9. BK: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=BK
  10. WFC: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=WFC
  11. KO: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KO
  12. IBM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=IBM

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