Buffett’s firm cuts stakes U.S. Bank, BYD; adds chip maker

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s company slashed its stake in U.S. Bank’s parent company and also sold shares in Chinese electric car maker BYD in the third quarter, according to regulatory filings Monday.

The moves were among several others including a more than $4.1 billion investment in Taiwan Semiconductor that Berkshire Hathaway disclosed in the filings with the SEC and the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The filings detailed all the stock moves made by Buffett’s company in the third quarter.

Many investors follow Berkshire’s moves closely because of Buffett’s remarkably successful track record over the decades.

Berkshire revealed a new 60 million share stake in Taiwan Semiconductor and two smaller new investments in Jefferies Financial Group and Louisiana Pacific Corp.in Monday’s filing.

Berkshire also picked up nearly 4 million more Chevron shares worth more than $700 million to give it 165.4 million shares and continue betting on oil producers. One of Buffett’s biggest investments this year has been buying up roughly $12 billion of Occidental Petroleum shares, including adding nearly 36 million shares in the third quarter.

Buffett’s company trimmed its Activision Blizzard, General Motors and Kroger holdings during the quarter. It also eliminated an investment in Store Capital Corp.

Berkshire said Friday that it now owns 3.5% of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, down from nearly 10% at the start of the year. The 52.5 million shares Berkshire now holds were worth roughly $2.4 billion Monday.

It also reduced its investment in the Bank of New York Mellon by 10 million shares during the quarter.

But financial stocks remain a core part of Berkshire’s portfolio. The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate’s stake of more than 1 billion shares of Bank of America is one of its biggest investments.

Berkshire’s filings with regulators don’t specify if the decisions were made by Buffett or were the responsibility of the company’s two other portfolio managers, but Buffett generally handles investments over $1 billion. Berkshire officials don’t routinely comment on these stock filings, and they haven’t said why they are selling BYD and U.S. Bancorp stocks.

Berkshire said it now owns a little over 182 million BYD shares, down from 225 million when it started selling off the stock in August. Previously, Buffett hadn’t touched the investment he paid $232 million for in 2008. The stake had soared in value to nearly $7.7 billion by the end of last year.

Buffett’s company now holds 16.6% of the Hong Kong-issued shares of BYD.

Besides its equity investments, Berkshire owns more than 90 companies outright, including Geico insurance, BNSF railroad, several major utilities and an assortment of well-known brands such as Duracell, Dairy Queen and Fruit of the Loom.

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