Berkshire Hathaway Inc. sharply cut its equity holdings in a pair of big banks during the fourth quarter of 2019 and also took up new positions in the grocery and biotechnology industries.
Berkshire, led by Chairman, President and CEO Warren Buffett, reduced the number of shares it owns of Wells Fargo & Co. by 14.6% in the final quarter of last year, according to its latest Form 13-F. The sales, which continued a pattern from the previous quarter, lower Berkshire's common stock position Wells to $17.39 billion. The conglomerate also shrank its holdings in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. by 34.6% quarter over quarter to $2.76 billion.
The company did not fully exit any investment during the period. However, it did make four new additions to its holdings. Among those entrances were grocery giant The Kroger Co. and biotechnology company Biogen Inc. Berkshire bought more than 18.9 million shares in the former, which had a market value of $549.1 million, and picked up a little more than 648,000 shares of the latter, valued at $192.4 million.
Berkshire also bought into two exchange-traded funds for the first time, snapping up 43,000 shares of the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF and 39,400 shares of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust.