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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sells off some Apple stock

<i>Mario Tama/Getty Images</i><br/>People walk past the Apple store in the Americana at Brand shopping center on the day after Christmas on December 26
Mario Tama/Getty Images
People walk past the Apple store in the Americana at Brand shopping center on the day after Christmas on December 26

By Nicole Goodkind, CNN

New York (CNN) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold off 10 million shares of Apple stock in the final three months of 2023, representing about 1% of its holdings in the company.

The tech titan has become a major holding for the Oracle of Omaha’s company and is known as one of the so-called “four giants” – alongside its insurance, railroad and energy operations – that Buffett says drives most of Berkshire’s value.

But the Omaha-based conglomerate announced on Wednesday it had slightly trimmed its position in Apple in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The selloff is notable for Buffett, who is known to hold onto stocks for long periods of time. “If you aren’t willing to own a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes,” he’s said.

Berkshire still owns more than 905 million shares of the company, worth about $174 billion. That represents 6% of all Apple shares and one-fifth of Berkshire’s entire portfolio.

Many investors, hoping to duplicate the success of Berkshire’s portfolio, closely watch and often copy Buffett’s market moves.

Paring back

This isn’t the first time Berkshire, which began investing in Apple in 2016, has pared back some of its holdings in the tech company.

In the second half of 2020, the company sold off about $11 billion worth of the stock, a move that Buffett, 93, later said was “probably a mistake,” in a shareholder meeting.

Buffett went on to praise Apple CEO Tim Cook as “one of the best managers in the world” and last year said that the company “just happens to be a better business than any we own.”

Berkshire Hathaway purchased an additional $31 billion in Apple shares in 2022.

Shares of Apple fell by about 1.2% in morning trading on Thursday. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway were 0.7% higher.

Troubles at Apple

Apple reported earlier this month that sales grew year-on-year during the December quarter, following a streak of four consecutive quarters of revenue declines caused by slower device sales amid an uncertain economic environment. But while product sales have ticked up, revenue from the key China region slid, a sign of growing competition weighing on the iPhone maker.

The company’s stock is essentially flat from the start of this year.

As it works to right the ship, Apple has taken a bold bet and rolled out its first new product in nearly a decade: the Vision Pro mixed reality headset. The device, which cost Apple billions in research and development, is being touted by the company as the future of computing, but for now, it remains a costly and clunky piece of hardware with limited uses.

More to come

Filings also showed that Berkshire sold 80 million shares of printer company HP in the fourth quarter of 2023, reducing its holdings by 78%. It also pared off 32% of its holdings in media company Paramount.

Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders is due out on February 24. It will be the first letter since his long-time business partner, Charlie Munger, died last November.

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Additional reporting by Clare Duffy

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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