Berkshire Filing Should Reveal if It Sold Verizon Stock in First Quarter

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Berkshire Hathaway had more than $8 billion worth of Verizon Communications stock at the end of 2021.

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Berkshire Hathaway was more active than ever in the stock market during the first quarter. A securities filing expected late Monday will detail what the company has been up to, including whether it sold shares of Verizon Communications.

In early May, Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK.A, BRK.B) said in its 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it bought $51.1 billion of stocks in the first quarter and sold $9.7 billion of equities. The company has detailed some of the moves, but not all.

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Among those that are on the public record is a buy of about 121 million shares of Chevron (CVX), which lifted Berkshire’s investment in the company to about 159 million shares worth $25.9 billion on March 31.

Barron’s has written based on analysis of the 10-Q that Berkshire’s big sale in the first quarter could have been Verizon Communications (VZ). Berkshire held 158 million shares of the telecom company worth $8.3 billion at year-end.

We speculated that Verizon was sold in part because Berkshire’s sales for the quarter generated losses of about $700 million, which would line up with the potential loss that Berkshire would take if it had unloaded the Verizon stake, or a good chunk of it, in the first quarter. None of the other big Berkshire equity holdings at year-end 2021, including Apple (AAPL), Bank of America (BAC) and Coca-Cola (KO), were showing a loss.

Berkshire also was a buyer of nearly $10 billion of financial stocks based on the 10-Q. The company’s 13-F filing due after the close of trading Monday should detail some of those purchases.

Berkshire bought about $5 billion of overseas stocks in the first quarter, CEO Warren Buffett said at Berkshire’s annual meeting on April 30. Those buys likely won’t appear in the 13-F because those filings generally don’t include foreign stocks.

Berkshire’s purchases of about $8 billion of Occidental Petroleum and $4 billion of HP (HPQ) during the first quarter have already been disclosed because the company owns more than 10% of those stocks. SEC rules require purchasers to promptly disclose holdings above that level.

Write to Andrew Bary at [email protected]


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