Warren Buffett's Berkshire dumps Goldman holdings; trims other investments

Daniel Fowler
May 20, 2020

Combined with a decline in Goldman's share price, that meant the value of Berkshire's position in the investment bank fell from about $2.8 billion to less than $300 million. Berkshire and Goldman redrew the terms of the deal five years later.

Berkshire also exited its position in energy company Phillips 66, worth more than $25 million at the end of a year ago, and trimmed several holdings, including those in Amazon, Liberty Global, Sirius XM, Synchrony Financial, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Verisign.

Holding in Goldman Sachs has fallen to 1.92 million shares worth $330 million, the company said in a 13F filing.

Berkshire earlier this month swung to a first-quarter loss as the selloff in markets hit the company's vast investments, though the company's operating earnings rose in the quarter.

In one of its few swoops in the first quarter, Berkshire boosted its stake in regional bank PNC Financial Services Group Inc.by 6%.

Mnuchin defends United States fiscal response to coronavirus
The CARES Act has provided trillions of dollars in liquidity to financial markets, loans to businesses and direct payments to individual Americans.

Ironically, Buffett had assured that the banking sector was not a "primary worry" for him during the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Buffett has been a huge backer of US financial services firms in recent years, building up a position in banks, payments companies, insurers and ratings firms.

"If problems become severe enough in an economy, even strong banks can be under a lot of stress, and we'll be very glad we've got the Federal Reserve system standing behind them".

Berkshire ended March with a record $137.3 billion of cash, disappointing investors unhappy with the low yields it generates for the company.

Material from Bloomberg and Reuters has been used in this report.

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