Warren Buffett’s company sold almost a third of its remaining IBM shares in the third quarter and made several tweaks to its stock investments.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. filed a quarterly snapshot of its portfolio with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday. Investors watch Berkshire’s filings closely because of Buffett’s successful record.
The company sold off nearly 32% of its remaining IBM shares to leave it with 37 million shares at the end of the quarter. Before this spring, Berkshire held more than 80 million IBM shares.
Berkshire officials don’t generally comment on the quarterly filings or the reasons for their portfolio moves.
But Buffett has said that International Business Machines Corp. hasn’t performed the way he expected since he first bought shares in 2011. IBM’s stock rose to $215 in March 2013 but closed Tuesday at just under $149, a decline of more than 30%, as the company has faced stiff competition in the cloud computing business from Microsoft and Amazon.
The quarterly filings with the SEC don’t make clear who made all the investments at Berkshire. But Buffett handles the biggest investments in Berkshire’s portfolio, such as Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo while investments of less than $1 billion are likely to be the work of Berkshire’s two other investment managers.
The latest quarter is the first since Berkshire exercised the Bank of America warrants it received in 2011 when Buffett invested $5 billion in the bank. Berkshire reported holding 679 million Bank of America shares at the end of September.
During the quarter, Berkshire also picked up nearly 4 million more Apple shares to give it 134 million shares of the iPhone maker.
Berkshire also boosted its investment in Synchrony Financial to 20.8 million shares, up from 17.5 million in June.
The Omaha, Nebraska, based conglomerate Buffett leads also added to its Monsanto investment.
And it trimmed its stakes in Wells Fargo and Charter Communications.
Besides investments, Berkshire owns more than 90 companies, including insurance, retail, manufacturing, railroad and candy companies.
This comes on news that IBM reached a milestone in its race against Google and other big tech firms to build a powerful quantum computer.
Dario Gil, who leads IBM’s quantum computing and artificial intelligence research division, said Friday that the company’s scientists have successfully built and measured a processor prototype with 50 quantum bits, known as qubits.
Gil says it’s the first time any company has built a quantum computer at this scale.
Quantum computing, a technology that’s still in its early phases, uses the quirks of quantum physics to perform calculations at far higher speeds than current computers.
Seth Lloyd, an MIT mechanical engineering professor not involved in IBM’s research, says it’s likely that IBM still has glitches to work out but the 50-qubit announcement is a sign of significant progress.