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Amended Berkshire Hathaway Filing Indicates No Secret Stock Stakes at End of Q3

Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett

An amended SEC filing by Berkshire Hathaway this afternoon indicates Warren Buffett's company did not have any 'secret' stock holdings as the third quarter ended on September 30.

Each quarter, Berkshire files what's known as a 13F with the SEC, publicly detailing its holdings of U.S. publicly traded stocks. That's how we learned just over a week ago that Berkshire's Wal-Mart stake had almost doubled in this year's third quarter. (The filings are also the source of data for our Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker.)

The original 13F for the third quarter, filed on November 16, includes this sentence: "Confidential Information has been omitted from the public Form 13F and filed separately with the commission."

The amended 13F, filed today, lists all the same stock holdings as the original, but does not include the line about omitting confidential information.

That indicates the holdings as of September 30, as detailed in the 13Fs, are giving us a complete snapshot, with nothing left out.

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There are times when Berkshire asks for, and receives, permission from the SEC to keep some holdings confidential from the public for a time. That's generally when it is accumulating a position and wants to discourage copycats who could drive up a stock's price while Berkshire is buying.

For example, Berkshire's 13F for the second quarter did not include the company's ownership of 854,490 ExxonMobil shares as of June 30. (Those shares were subsequently disclosed in a separate filing last week.)

Berkshire's Q2 13Fdid include the notice that some confidential information had been omitted, leading us to note at the time that "there could be a surprise to come." The surprise, of course, turned out to be ExxonMobil.

This time around, it appears, there won't be any surprises to come, at least not until the next quarterly 13F filing in mid-February.

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