Berkshire Hathaway — the investment firm belonging to Warren Buffett, one of Apple’s biggest cheerleaders in recent years — reduced its stake in the Cupertino tech giant last quarter.
According to a regulatory filing made this week, in Q4 2020, Berkshire Hathaway cut 6% of its Apple shares. By contrast it kept its Amazon shares steady, while growing its stake in T-Mobile by a massive 117%.
Cutting 6% of your Apple holdings wouldn’t normally be particularly noteworthy. In this case, it’s also worth stressing that Apple remains Berkshire Hathaway’s No. 1 stock in terms of value, and No. 2 in terms of number of shares held. Approximately 10.6% of the portfolio is made up of Apple shares.
Nonetheless, because of the number of shares, this still represents a huge amount of money. Plus, this marks the second quarter in a row that Berkshire Hathaway trimmed its Apple stock holdings.
During the quarter, Berkshire sold 57.16 million Apple shares. Apple jumped from $116.41 on October 1 to $132.49 on the last day of December 2020. Today, Apple trades at $133.19 per share.
Warren Buffett and Apple
For much of his career, Buffett stayed away from technology stocks. One of his guiding principles is to only invest in companies where he personally understands the business model. Getting a handle on Apple took him a while. For example, in 2011 he said he just didn’t get Apple’s business.
Somewhere along the way, that changed. In February 2020, Buffett raved that: “I don’t think of Apple as a stock. I think of it as our third business. It’s probably the best business I know in the world. And that is a bigger commitment than we have in any business except insurance and the railroad.”
He has, however, admitted he doesn’t understand Apple’s technology personally. In an interview last year, the investing superstar talked about receiving a personal iPhone lesson from Apple CEO Tim Cook — only to come away none the wiser.
“I went out to California, and Tim Cook very patiently spent hours trying to move me up to the level of the average 2-year-old,” Buffett told Yahoo Finance. “And didn’t quite make it.”