November 15, 2012
Stocks appear to be holding firm this morning after yesterday's poor performance. As of 10:10 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is roughly flat with a 0.16% gain, while the broader S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) is up 0.2%.
The micro view
Institutional money-managers who manage more than $100 million must file a 13F form detailing their holdings with the SEC within 45 days of the end of the calendar quarter. For this purpose, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B ) , which manages tens of billions of dollars, qualifies as a money manager. Berkshire filed its 13F for the quarter ended Sept. 30 yesterday.
Given Warren Buffett's track record, value-oriented investors naturally keep a close eye on changes in Berkshire's 13F reports, but despite the attention these reports receive, their value does not appear to have been extinguished. Two finance academics found that a portfolio that mimicked Berkshire's holdings at the beginning of the following month after they are disclosed outperformed the S&P 500 by 10.75% on an annualized basis between 1976 and 2006 (though I suspect the outperformance was stronger at the beginning of that period than at the end.)
One of the notable changes in the latest report: Berkshire has virtually eliminated its positions in General Electric (NYSE: GE ) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) . The news is surprising, as the companies are classic Buffett investments (i.e., world-class franchises), and neither looks expensive at first glance: Both trade at roughly 13 times estimates for the next 12 months' earnings. Nevertheless, the news does appear to be having an impact on Johnson & Johnson, which is down 0.27%.
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