Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway develops taste for US home builder stocks




According to the firm's 13F (fund manager) filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after trading ended on Monday, Buffett bought around $4.6 billion worth of shares in the quarter, led by the homebuilders (which some analysts said was somewhat surprising).

Berkshire displayed new stakes in homebuilders D. R. Horton, Lennar Corp, and NVR, Inc. The position in D.R. Horton was by far the largest at 5,969,714 shares. The firm also owns 152,572 shares of Lennar and 11,112 shares of NVR.

Analysts noted the surprising positions considering the challenges US homebuilders have faced due to higher interest rates, which have slowed homebuilding activity.

Some analysts suggested these stakes could be a bet that interest rates will fall and that home buying and building will surge again.

In addition to the homebuilding trio, Berkshire increased its holdings in Capital One Financial and Occidental Petroleum. The stake in Capital One (which was put on credit watch by Moody's last week for a possible downgrade) grew from 9,922,000 shares to 12,471,030 shares. The stake in Occidental rose from 211,707,119 shares to 224,129,192 shares.

There were also sales in the quarter - Berkshire reduced its holdings in game maker Activision Blizzard, specialty products group Celanese, oil major Chevron, General Motors, and insurer Globe Life.

Buffett’s managers closed out the company’s stakes in insurance brokers Marsh & McLennan Companies, drug store chain McKesson Corp, and Vitesse Energy Inc.

Berkshire maintained its 915,560,382 share stake in Apple, by far its most valuable position and worth more than $170 billion at the end of June.

Berkshire shares closed slightly higher on Monday (before the 13F filing details were made public) at $543,150 each, up $250 on the day and well under the record high of $555,800 hit last week.

Analysts predict that shares in the three homebuilders will rise when trading resumes for the Tuesday session due to Berkshire’s appearance as a shareholder.

Lennar shares closed at $123.87 on Monday, DR Horton shares at $123.28, and NVR shares ended at $6,158.70.


Name Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.