Once again, Berkshire held the public stock of 43 companies, but the total value of the holdings grew from $92 billion at the end of September to $104 billion at the end of 2013. The top of the portfolio stayed relatively unchanged, but thanks to the growth in price the stock at American Express, it and IBM swapped places, with American Express now being the third largest holding of Buffett at $13.8 billion, and IBM coming in fourth at $12.7 billion.
Wells Fargo still remained at the top of the portfolio, with a value eclipsing $21 billion, and Berkshire still owned 400 million shares of Coca-Cola, now worth more than $16.5 billion. Interestingly enough, Buffett added a little more than 325,000 shares of Wells Fargo, but considering he owned 463 million already, it didn't make much of a difference.
For the third quarter in a row, Buffett bought stock of ExxonMobil, adding 3% to his total stake, making it the 6th largest position in his portfolio, worth $4.1 billion. Buffett and team (particularly portfolio manager Ted Weschler) also upped their stake in DaVita HealthCare Partners by 16% -- which now brings his total investment to $2.3 billion.
Perhaps the biggest news though is that Berkshire has held onto a $2.2 billion position in Goldman Sachs (GS -2.38%), making it the 11th largest in his portfolio. Typically Buffett favors commercial banks, like Wells Fargo and US Bancorp, however, he made a $5 billion investment in Goldman during the financial crisis. When Goldman Sachs and Berkshire amended the terms of the warrants in early 2013, Berkshire Hathaway took the profit in the form of common stock.
In addition to the Goldman Sachs addition, Buffett also more than doubled his position in USG Corp (USG), bringing the total investment from $487 million to $990 million. The building material manufacturer and distributor watched its stock stay essentially flat throughout the fourth quarter, but its price has actually risen by more than 20% already in 2014. Certainly Buffett is likely very happy about that.
The final big news from the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio was the sizable addition of General Electric (GE -2.56%). Buffett and team upped their position in GE by more than 17 times, as they added almost 10 million shares worth of the company. In total, the position has now grown from being worth just $14 million to almost $300 million. In March of 2012, Berkshire had a position in GE worth nearly $160 million, but unloaded it to just a $13 million stake in September of 2012.
Clearly his opinion has shifted on the well-known American company, and he has expressed as much with his sizable purchase of General Electric's common stock.