Warren Buffett is ultra-bullish on Apple, as he nearly quadrupled his holdings in the stock. By the end of the year, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway held about 57 million shares, an increase from 15 million shares in the third quarter, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday. The firm’s total stake in the iPhone maker stood at approximately $6.6 billion as of December 31.
Buffett bullish on Apple
Apple shares, which have rallied 42% in the last 12 months, surged to a new high on Tuesday, exhibiting rising interest among investors. If Buffett did not make any alteration to his positions since the end of the last year, it is now worth a whopping $7.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Buffett’s rising interest in Apple does come as a surprise, considering his reluctance towards technology stocks, which, according to him, are outside his zone of competence, except for IBM. However, Berkshire has etched its name among the top 10 biggest Apple investors after accumulating the stock recently, according to Reuters.
Thomas Russo, who oversees $11 billion in assets at Gardner Russo & Gardner in Lancaster, told Reuters, “I’m stunned to see the size of that Apple position. It’s quite possible that Warren woke up and began to understand the virtues of Apple that he had been neglecting or, like with Precision Castparts, Todd or Ted had an affinity for Apple that sparked interest from Warren.”
Buffett started building a position in the stock last year when the market turned bearish on it due to sluggish iPhone sales and declining revenue. He added 9.8 million shares worth $1.1 billion.
Upbeat on airlines too
Buffett’s Berkshire is also upbeat about airlines, beefing up its position in American Airlines, Delta and United Continental. Additionally, it added a stake in Southwest Airlines during the quarter, according to regulatory filings. Buffett has also taken a position in Monsanto and Sirius XM, notes Forbes.
On the other hand, Berkshire has reduced its holdings in Wal-Mart from 12.9 million shares to 1.4 million shares. Buffett, who is not so bullish on technology companies, is currently the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of about $74.9 billion, according to Forbes’ estimate.
Major Berkshire investments such as Wells Fargo & Co, Coca-Cola and IBM are Buffett’s ideas, but the 86-year-old has given more responsibility to Todd Combs and Ted Weschler in recent years.
On Tuesday, Apple shares closed down 1.3% at $135.02. Year to date, the stock is up almost 17%, while in the last six months, it is up almost 25%.