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Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Stake Tops 18% As Daily Buying Spree Rolls On

Saturday, 19 Jan 2008 | 1:57 PM ET

Warren Buffett's stake in Burlington Northern Santa Fe has topped 18 percent after his Berkshire Hathaway holding company bought an additional 1.25 million shares for $96 million over the past three days.

That brings Berkshire's total holdings to 63,775,118 shares, or 18.2% of the freight railroad's outstanding shares.

Even as fears of a possible recessionhave sparked heavy selling on Wall Street, Berkshire has been steadily adding to its Burlington position. It has made a purchase on each day of the past two weeks, with the exception of Friday, January 11.

According to its latest disclosure to the SEC, Berkshire made its largest single-day purchase in the recent series of buys when it picked up 996,100 shares yesterday (Friday, January 18) for $76.97 each. That's near the bottom of the price range it's been paying recently.

Berkshire Hathaway's Burlington Northern Buys This Month

Date Shares Acquired Price/Share Total Price
Monday, January 7 29,600 $76.55 $2,265,880
Tuesday, January 8 240,000 $77.89 $18,693,600
Wednesday, January 9 435,700 $77.12 $33,601,184
Thursday, January 10 46,100 $77.78 $3,585,658
Monday, January 14 141,400 $78.18 $11,054,652
Tuesday, January 15 807,400 $77.69 $62,726,906
Wedmesday, January 16 44,200 $76.55 $3,383,510
Thursday, January 17 205,800 $77.83 $16,017,414
Friday, January 18 996,100 $76.97 $76,669,817
TOTAL 2,946,300 $77.38 (Weight Avg.) $227,998,621
Source: SEC Filings

The Burlington buys appear to be a vote of confidencein the long-term health of the U.S. economy and Burlington's ability to take advantage of the increased rail shipments that would presumably accompany the eventual economic rebound. He's also taking advantage of the lower stock prices prompted by the market's worries about the economy.

Buffett has been saying that while the U.S. is in danger of falling into a recession, and that downturns are inevitable, he believes the U.S. economy will continue its long-term growth trend for many years to come.

As he told our Becky Quick last month:

"It is the nature of capitalism to periodically have recessions. People overshoot. So, it isn't the end of the world. I mean, as a matter of fact, for an investor, you know, it turns out to be the times when you make your best buys."

Current prices:

Burlington Northern

Berkshire Hathaway

Questions? Comments? Email me at buffettwatch@cnbc.com

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