Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reveals stakes in AbbVie, Merck, Pfizer, and other ‘big pharma’ stocks

Warren Buffett AP Images

  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway invested in AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and Pfizer in the third quarter.
  • The billionaire investor’s company disclosed the new holdings in a regulatory filing on Monday.
  • Berkshire boasted stakes worth more than $US1.8 billion in each of AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Merck as of September 30. It also owned $US136 million of Pfizer stock.
  • Buffett and his team also trimmed their Apple stake, which is easily the most valuable holding in their stock portfolio.
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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway plowed billions of dollars into Pfizer, Merck, and other pharmaceutical stocks in the third quarter, a regulatory filing revealed on Monday.

The famed investor’s company disclosed stakes worth more than $US1.8 billion in each of AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Merck, as well as $US136 million in Pfizer stock. Buffett and his team may be betting that “big pharma” companies will play an increasingly important role in the global economy during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Berkshire also disclosed a new $US280 million stake in T-Mobile, continued to reduce its Wells Fargo stake, and exited its position in Costco. Moreover, it trimmed its position in Apple — the biggest holding in its portfolio by far — by about 3.7% or 36 million shares.

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Close watchers of the company were expecting significant changes to Buffett’s portfolio. Berkshire’s third-quarter earnings showed $US17.6 billion in stock purchases and $US12.8 billion in stock sales, equating to $US4.8 billion in net stock purchases in the period.

Moreover, Berkshire announced $US19 billion worth of investments last quarter. Those included buying Bank of America and Snowflake stock, acquiring 5% stakes in five Japanese trading companies over the 12 months to August, and striking deals with Dominion Energy and Scripps.

Berkshire’s sizeable bets on several pharma stocks and its flurry of other purchases signal a bullish turn for Buffett and his team. After all, Berkshire sold its entire stakes in the “big four” US airlines at a loss in the second quarter, and also slashed its financial holdings including JPMorgan and Wells Fargo in the period.