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Berkshire trimmed its Apple stake, but it reportedly wasn't Buffett's idea

Key Points
  • Berkshire Hathaway reduced its stake in Apple slightly, but the selling wasn't under Warren Buffett's direction.
  • Berkshire trimmed nearly 3 million shares of Apple, to 249.5 million, in the fourth quarter, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Buffett first announced Berkshire was buying Apple in February 2017, and the company added to its position in the iPhone-maker significantly in the past two years.
Warren Buffett
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Berkshire Hathaway decreased its stake in Apple by nearly 3 million shares, to 249.5 million, in the fourth quarter, but Warren Buffett reportedly had nothing to do with the selling.

"One of the managers other than Warren had a position in Apple and sold part of it in order to make an unrelated purchase," Buffett's assistant Debbie Bosanek said in an email to Reuters. "None of the shares under Warren's direction have ever been sold."

Bosanek didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. Berkshire didn't return CNBC's call seeking comment.

Buffett first announced Berkshire was buying Apple in February 2017 despite his usual aversion to tech stocks. And since then, Berkshire's position in the iPhone-maker has grown significantly. By the end of 2017, Buffett's conglomerate already owned 165.3 million Apple shares, and it bought another 75 million shares in the first quarter of 2018.

Buffett told CNBC at the time that he clearly likes Apple, and "we buy them to hold."

"We bought about 5 percent of the company. I'd love to own 100 percent of it. ... We like very much the economics of their activities. We like very much the management and the way they think," Buffett told CNBC's "Squawk Box. "

New stakes in Suncor, Red Hat

While paring the Apple holdings, Berkshire added more than 10.8 million shares of Suncor, an energy company based in Calgary, Canada, in the fourth quarter, according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Berkshire also revealed a new stake of 4.175 million shares in software company Red Hat, according to the 13-F filing, which documents the company's holdings as of end of December.

The company added more than 20 million shares of General Motors in the fourth quarter, raising its total stake to 93.19 million shares. It also boosted its investments in many U.S. banks last quarter including Bank of America, U.S. Bankcorp, PNC, Bank of NY Mellon. The company reported adding 14.45 million shares of J.P. Morgan in the fourth quarter, to total 50.116 million shares.

The filing shows Berkshire dissolved its holding of 41.4 million shares in Oracle.

— Click here to read the original report from Reuters.

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