Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway potentially sold as much as $5 billion of Apple stock last quarter

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  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway potentially cashed out as much as $5 billion of Apple stock last quarter.
  • The billionaire investor’s company recently valued its stake in the iPhone maker at $111.7 billion as of September 30, compared to $91.5 billion as of June 30.
  • The disparity suggests it sold about 39 million shares last quarter, based on the price of Apple’s shares at the end of both periods.
  • Berkshire’s last portfolio update also suggests it has trimmed its largest holding.
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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway may have sold as much as $5 billion of Apple stock last quarter, trimming by far the biggest holding in its stock portfolio.

The famed investor’s company owned $111.7 billion worth of the technology titan’s shares as of September 30, its third-quarter earnings show. Divide that figure by Apple’s closing share price of $115.81 that day, and it appears Berkshire held about 964.5 million shares at the last count.

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However, Berkshire’s second-quarter earnings showed it held $91.5 billion of Apple stock as of June 30. Divide by Apple’s closing stock price of $91.20 that day — adjusted for the four-for-one stock split in August — and it seems Berkshire owned 1.003 billion shares at the time.

The difference in share counts suggests Berkshire sold about 39 million Apple shares, or 3.8%, of its position last quarter. It  may have raked in between $3.5 billion and $5.2 billion, based on the tech stock’s trading range in the period.

Berkshire’s second-quarter portfolio filing also points to a disposal, albeit a smaller one. Buffett’s company disclosed 981 million Apple shares at the end of June, not as many as its earnings suggested.

Those shares would have been worth about $113.6 billion at the end of September — $1.9 billion more than the stated value of Apple’s stake in Berkshire’s latest earnings. The disparity suggests Berkshire sold about 16 million shares, or roughly 1.6% of its holding, for just under $2 billion last quarter.

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Berkshire will disclose any changes to its Apple holdings when it publishes its portfolio as of September 30 in a regulatory filing, expected within the next week.

Buffett’s company spent about $35 billion to build its Apple stake between 2016 and 2018, meaning it has more than tripled its money on paper. The holding has accounted for more than 40% of the total value of Berkshire’s stock portfolio, and upwards of 20% of the company’s entire market capitalization, in recent months.