Buffett Watch

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Almost Doubles Wal-Mart Holdings During Summer

In what appears to be a bet consumers will stick with discount retailers even after the economy rebounds, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway increased its Wal-Mart holdings by almost 90 percent during the summer.

It added almost 18 million shares, currently worth almost $1 billion, in the third quarter. 

An SEC filing detailing Berkshire's stock holdings as of September 30 shows its Wal-Mart stake going to 37.84 million shares, up from 19.9 million shares as of June 30.

At today's closing price of $53.56, Berkshire's Wal-Mart stake is worth just over $2 billion.  That's less than one percent of Wal-Mart's total market value of about $205 billion.

Berkshire's filing also reveals a new stake of 3.4 million shares in the ADRs of Nestle.   It's valued at $161 million as of today's close.

Berkshire also added a new, relatively small stake, in ExxonMobil .  It held almost 1.3 million shares, currently worth about $95 million, as of September 30.  A smaller stake of 854,490 shares as of June 30 was also revealed in a separate filing today.  It was not included three months ago in Berkshire's original filing for the second quarter.

That filing, like today's, said some "confidential information has been omitted" from the public report, but had been "filed separately" with the SEC. 

Among the other changes:

  • Small stake in Travelers added: 27-thousand shares worth about $1.5 million.

  • Small stake in the solid waste disposal company Republic Services added: 3.6 million shares worth about $96 million.

  • Wells Fargo holdings up 3.6 percent to 313.36 million shares.

  • ConocoPhillips stake decreased by roughly 7 million shares during the third quarter.

  • NRG Energy holdings decreased almost 17 percent to 6 million shares.

  • SunTrust Banks stake trimmed by just under 4 percent to 3.08 million shares.

  • Slight decrease in Wellpoint holdings to just under 3.4 million shares.

  • Wabco Holding stake of 2.7 million shares and Eaton stake of 2 million shares eliminated.

  • The total market value of Berkshire's U.S. stock portfolio increased to $56.55 billion as of September 30.  That's 15.5 percent higher than June 30's $48.95 billion.

    The portfolio is valued at almost $60.7 billion based on today's closing prices, excluding the stakes in Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific that Buffett says have been sold to "facilitate" Berkshire's planned acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe.  That deal was announced on November 3. 

    CNBC.com's Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker has been updated with the information in today's SEC filing.


    Here are the details from tonight's Berkshire Hathaway portfolio snapshot as of September 30, 2009, compared to the filing for June 30, 2009:


    • Eaton stake of 2,000,000 shares eliminated.

    • Nestle stake added at 3,400,000 ADRs.
    • Republic Services stake added at 3,625,000 shares.

    • Travelers stake added at 27,336 shares.

    • Wabco Holdings stake of 2,700,000 shares eliminated.


    • ExxonMobil stake increased 49.4% to 1,276,290 shares from 854,490 shares as of June 30.  The earlier stake was not revealed until today.

    • Wal-Mart Stores stake increased 89.7% to 37,836,642 shares.

    • Wells Fargo stake increased 3.6% to 313,355,657 shares.


    • ConocoPhillips stake decreased 10.9% to 57,430,168 shares.

    • Moody's stake decreased 18.3% to 39,219,312 shares.  (On October 30, after the end of the third quarter, Berkshire disclosed that it had cut its stake in Moody's to 38,066,685 shares.)

    • NRG Energy stake decreased 16.7% to 6,000,000 shares.

    • SunTrust Banks stake decreased 3.9% to 3,079,778 shares.

    • Wellpoint stake decreased 29.0% to 3,394,213 shares.


    • American Express unchanged at 151,610,700 shares.

    • Bank of America unchanged at 5,000,000 shares. 

    • Becton Dickinson unchanged at 1.2 million shares.

    • Burlington Northern Santa Fe unchanged at 76,777,029 shares.   (Berkshire announced on November 3 that it has an agreement to buy the roughly 77% of Burlington shares it does not already own.)

    • Carmax unchanged at 9,000,000 shares. 

    • Coca-Cola unchanged at 200,000,000 shares.

    • Comcast unchanged at 12,000,000 shares.

    • Comdisco unchanged at 1,538,377 shares.

    • Costco Wholesale unchanged at 5,254,000 shares.

    • Gannett unchanged at 3,447,600 shares.

    • General Electric unchanged at 7,777,900 shares.

    • GlaxoSmithKline unchanged at 1,510,500 shares.

    • Home Depot unchanged at 2,757,898 shares.

    • Ingersoll-Rand unchanged at 7,782,600 shares.

    • Iron Mountain unchanged at 3,372,200 shares.

    • Johnson & Johnson unchanged at 36,914,633 shares.

    • Kraft Foods unchanged at 138,272,500 shares.

    • Lowes Companies unchanged at 6,500,000 shares.

    • M&T Bank unchanged at 6,715,060 shares.

    • Nalco Holding unchanged at 9,000,000 shares.

    • Nike unchanged at 7,641,000 shares.

    • Norfolk Southern unchanged at 1,933,000 shares.  (In an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast on November 13, Buffett said that he had "already sold" his non-BNSF railroad holdings to "faciliate" Berkshire's acquisition of Burlington Northern.)

    • Procter & Gamble unchanged at 96,316,010 shares.

    • Sanofi Aventis unchanged at 3,903,933 shares.

    • Torchmark unchanged at 2,823,879 shares.

    • US Bancorp unchanged at 69,039,426 shares.

    • USG unchanged at 17,072,192 shares.

    • UnitedHealth Group unchanged at 3,400,000 shares.

    • Union Pacific unchanged at 9,558,000 shares.  (In an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast on November 13, Buffett said that he had "already sold" his non-BNSF railroad holdings to "faciliate" Berkshire's acquisition of Burlington Northern.)

    • United Parcel Service unchanged at 1,429,200 shares.

    • Washington Post unchanged at 1,727,765 shares.

    • Wesco Financial unchanged at 5,703,087 shares.

    Current Berkshire stock prices:

    Class A:

    Class B:

    General Electric is CNBC's corporate parent.

    Email comments to buffettwatch@cnbc.com