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Berkshire Hathaway Reduces Apple Stake By 13%

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A / BRK.B) has reduced its stake in Apple (AAPL) by 13% amid signs that global sales of the iPhone and other electronic devices are slowing.

The holding company run by Warren Buffett lowered its holding of Apple stock during this year’s first quarter to 790 million shares from 905 million shares previously.

Despite trimming its stake, Apple remains the largest holding of Berkshire Hathaway, currently valued at $144.78 billion U.S. and accounting for 40% of the company’s investment portfolio.

Berkshire had purchased its Apple stake mostly between 2016 and 2018 and paid an average price of about $35 U.S. a share.

Apple’s stock is currently trading at $183.38 U.S., giving Berkshire an investment gain of $11.2 billion U.S. in Q1 of this year.

However, Berkshire lowered its holding of Apple stock as the consumer electronic giant struggles with a slowdown in sales of its devices, notably is signature iPhone.

Berkshire also dumped its entire stake in entertainment company Paramount Global (PARA) during Q1 of this year, taking a substantial loss on the sale.

“It was 100% my decision and we’ve sold it all and we lost quite a bit of money,” said Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, referring to the Paramount sale. “I did it all by myself, folks.”

Berkshire had been one of the largest Paramount shareholders with a stake of 63 million shares, or close to 10% of the company. Buffett paid more than $30 U.S. a share for the Paramount stake.

In the last 12 months, Paramount Global’s stock has declined 24% to trade at $12.88 U.S. per share. The film and TV producer is now in the process of trying to sell itself.

Beyond the changes to its investment portfolio, Berkshire Hathaway revealed Q1 earnings that showed its operating profits rise 39% to a record $11.2 billion U.S.

Buffett said the Q1 results were given a boost by strength in the company’s property and casualty insurance business, and higher investment income.

Berkshire’s cash balance continued to grow in Q1, reaching a record $189 billion U.S., up from $167.7 billion U.S. at the end of 2023.

Buffett said that the cash pile at Berkshire Hathaway is likely to exceed $200 billion U.S. by the end of the current second quarter of the year.

He added that the rise in Berkshire’s cash balance was due to $17 billion U.S. of stock sales during Q1, mostly Apple shares.

Berkshire Hathaway bought back $2.6 billion U.S. of its own stock in Q1, up from purchases of $2.2 billion U.S. in the previous quarter.

The class B stock of Berkshire Hathaway has risen 11% so far in 2024 to trade at $400.87 U.S. per share.