Shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe have soared by more than 15 percent since Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway completed a string of almost daily stock purchases in mid-January.
As we've been detailing here on Warren Buffett Watch, Berkshire bought almost three million sharesat a total price of almost $229 million dollars between Monday, January 7 and Tuesday, January 22. SEC filings show purchases on every day the markets were open during that period except for Friday, January 11.
Burlington closed at $76.51 on January 22, near its lowest close during the entire 11-day period. The next day it gained over 4% to finish at $79.67 and we haven't had any additional purchases disclosed since then.
Burlington finished last week at $88.30, it's highest daily close since last July. That's a 15.4 percent jump from the day of Buffett's most recent purchase. It also represents a 14.1 percent gain from the weighted average of $77.38 that Berkshire paid for its Burlington shares last month. Current price:
While it is far too early for anyone to declare victory, and we must remember that Warren Buffett buys for the long-term, Burlington's big short-term rally is a striking example of Berkshire's stock-picking skills.
(An email from Mark K. after this post was published points out, however, that two other railroads Berkshire was selling last year, did even better over the same short-term period. From January 22 through February 1, Norfolk Southern was up 24.9 percent and Union Pacific gained 15.9 percent.)
In November, a study by two university professorsdemonstrated that investors who simply follow Buffett's lead on stocks have wound up way ahead of the game.
In a few weeks, we'll be getting an update on what was in Berkshire Hathaway's stock portfolio as of the end of the year, which will give Buffett-followers more ammunition. Stay tuned!
Berkshire's current price:
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