Buffett added to Berkshire's positions in Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, Norfolk Southern and Nalco Holding during the first three months of the year.
Berkshire's stake in J&J rebounded by 13.6 percent, or about four million shares, rising to 32.5 million as of March 31, compared to 28.6 million at the end of December.
The increase is especially interesting because the big news out of the fourth quarter portfolio filing was that Berkshire had cut its J&J stake by almost 54 percent between September 30 and December 31. (61.8 million shares vs. 28.6 million shares.)
The money helped fund Berkshire's $8 billion in loans to Goldman Sachs and General Electric last fall. Those preferred stock holdings are generating a hefty 10 percent annual return for Berkshire. That yield is not affected by price changes for GE or Goldman's common stock, although Berkshire could make an additional profit from "bonus" warrants that allow it to buy common stock in the future at pre-determined prices.
Buffett has been publicly praising Wells Fargo and US Bancorp in recent weeks, and Berkshire did increase its holdings in the two banks during the first quarter. The Wells Fargo stake increased by about 12 million shares during the period, or 4.3 percent.
The US Bancorp stake is up by 2.2 percent, or 1.5 million shares to 69.0 million, but that's still below the 72.9 million shares reported for the end of last year's third quarter.