Warren Buffett's IBM stake was in the black — briefly

Warren Buffett
Paul Morigi | Fortune | Time Inc | Getty Images

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett had a very short window on Thursday where a big bet paid off, aside from an already hefty pile of dividends.

On Thursday, IBM shares briefly jumped as high as $171 a share in extended trading, as the iconic technology company posted better-than-expected earnings. That's higher than it's been in at least a year, in terms of the regular session: The 52-week intraday high is $169.95 a share.

Thursday's move briefly put Buffett's stake in the black, excluding dividends.

The chairman of Berkshire Hathaway bought IBM shares at an average price of $170.43 per share, and has accumulated a nearly 8.6 percent stake in the company since he started buying shares in 2011.

Unfortunately, the potential windfall didn't last long: IBM pared gains, and last traded down more than 2 percent after hours, around $163 a share.

The iconic New York-based enterprise technology company has now suffered 19 straight quarters of declining year-over-year total revenues, since April 2012, amid uneasy transition away from operating systems and equipment, and toward "strategic imperatives" like business services, artificial intelligence and cloud.

Shares peaked at $215.90 a share, intraday, in March 2013.

Still, Buffett has collected $1.7 billion in dividends since opening a position in the stock. The company has not missed a quarterly dividend payment since 1916, and has doubled its dividend since 2010, it said.

Buffett told CNBC he the stock because he said IBM has a "stickiness" within corporate IT departments, and is the best of big companies when it comes to laying out a road map.

— CNBC's Alex Crippen, Deirdre Bosa and Kelly Evans contributed to this report.

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