Here's What Berkshire Hathaway Bought Last Quarter

It's that time again, folks!

Berkshire Hathaway  (NYSE: BRK-B  ) (NYSE: BRK-A  ) just filed its latest form 13F with the SEC, giving investors a much-anticipated glimpse of what, exactly, the world's most successful financial holding company has been buying over the past quarter.

First, in order of the biggest percentage change, let's take a look at where Berkshire just put its money to work:

Company Shares Held Shares Purchased in Q2 Market Value
(as of June 30, 2013)
% of Portfolio % Change
DISH Network 547,312 547,312 $23,272,000 0.03% New
Suncor Energy (NYSE: SU  ) 17,769,457 17,769,457 $524,021,000 0.59% New
General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) 40,000,000 15,000,000 $1,332,400,000 0.82% 60%
Chicago Bridge & Iron 9,550,755 3,042,155 $569,798,000 0.48% 46%
VeriSign 10,897,420 2,723,320 $486,679,000 0.55% 33%
Bank of New York Mellon 24,644,029 5,704,914 $691,264,000 0.78% 30%
U.S. Bancorp 78,277,301 16,819,200 $2,829,725,000 3.18% 27%
National Oilwell Varco 8,880,000 1,395,700 $611,832,000 0.69% 18%
Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) 463,131,623 4,961,300 $19,113,442,000 21.47% 1%

Source: Berkshire Hathaway SEC Filings.

So what jumps out right away from Berkshire's latest buys?

First, the company opened two brand-new positions, including one in satellite TV provider DISH Network, and another in Suncor Energy, Canada's largest oil and natural gas producer. While the DISH position is relatively small, representing only 0.03% of Berkshire's total portfolio at the end of the second quarter, the half a billion-dollar bet on Suncor is sure to raise some eyebrows, worth nearly $595 million at its recent price of $33.44 per share.

What's more, Berkshire made some other big additions to existing positions, including a 60% boost in its General Motors stake to 40 million shares, currently worth more than $1.38 billion. Of course, with the auto sector continuing to rebound while GM's stock currently trades at just 12.4 times last year's earnings and 7.6 times next years' estimates, it's hard to argue Berkshire won't get its money's worth over the long haul.

In addition, Berkshire added to its position in engineering and construction company Chicago Bridge & Iron by 46%, and grew its already-huge stakes in Bank of New York Mellon, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo by 30%, 27%, and 1%, respectively -- but don't let Well's Fargo's tiny percentage boost fool you; Berkshire already owns more than a fifth of the mammoth bank's outstanding shares, worth almost $19.9 billion dollars at today's price of $42.95 per share.

One caveat
While some of these buys are certainly large, fellow Fool Matt Koppenheffer also astutely pointed out that something even bigger could be in the works thanks to a single line in the filing that states, "Confidential information has been omitted from the public Form 13F report and filed separately with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."

Translation? Berkshire probably already made an even bigger buy that the public doesn't know about... yet. 

What's an investor to do?
But back to what we do know: Does this mean you should immediately go out and buy all of the above-mentioned stocks?

Not necessarily.

In fact, some of my other fellow Fools long ago made the case not to blindly follow Buffett's (and Berkshire's) lead, but not because he isn't a great investor -- to the contrary, he's arguably the best investor our world has ever seen.

Instead, we need to remember Berkshire Hathaway has an enormous capital base the likes of which retail investors like you and I will probably never enjoy. But as small investors, having less money is also one of our biggest advantages, especially considering this opens up quite literally thousands of possible investments Buffett and Berkshire could never consider.

In addition, we should also remember many (if not all) of the above purchases were likely made by Berkshire's younger investment managers in Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who have enjoyed steadily increasing responsibilities over the past few years, collectively handled nearly $10 billion of Berkshire's money by the end of 2012, and are widely expected to completely take over the portfolio by the time Buffett dies.

However, if there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio is comprised of solid, steady stocks which that been purchased with a long-term mind-set, so you can bet their chances of continuing to beat the market are great.

As Buffett has shown us time and again, the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.


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