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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway keeps selling off its HP shares at a loss this week

Associated Press - Fri Oct 6, 2023
Berkshire Hathaway Investments

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway continued selling off more of its HP Inc. shares at a loss this week and dropped its stake below 10% of the printer and computer maker.

Berkshire said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the latest sale of over 3 million shares Tuesday raised more than $80 million. Berkshire said Monday it had just sold off 5 million other shares.

But HP's shares have been selling around $26 dollars this week after taking a sharp fall of nearly 14% over the past month. The stock of the Palo Alto, California-based company was selling in the mid $30s last spring when Berkshire first bought it.

It's still not clear whether Buffett plans to unload all of Berkshire's HP shares because he doesn't comment on stock sales while Berkshire is still making them. He only discloses what he's required to as a substantial owner of the stock.

Berkshire used to own more than 12% of HP's stock before it started selling off the shares last month. Now that Berkshire owns just under 10% of the stock, the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate won't have to disclose every transaction.

So investors who want to follow Buffett's moves will have to wait for the quarterly updates on Berkshire's roughly $350 billion portfolio to learn more. And because the latest HP sales took place in the fourth quarter of this year, the next quarterly update that might show new transactions won't come until February.

At this point, it appears the HP investment may be more likely to wind up like the ill-fated IBM purchases Buffett made in 2011 rather than the wildly successful Apple investment that is now the biggest holding in Berkshire's portfolio. Buffett acknowledged in 2018 that he had been wrong about IBM and sold off the stock for little gain after six years.

Investing in technology stocks has always been hard for Buffett and he shied away from it for years because he said it was too hard to pick the long-term winners in the fast-moving sector. Buffett feels comfortable investing in Apple because he looks at it as a consumer products company with extremely devoted customers.

Besides stocks, Berkshire owns a broad assortment of entire companies, including Geico insurance, BNSF railroad, several major utilities and an assortment of manufacturing and retail businesses including well-known brands like Dairy Queen, See’s Candy and Helzberg Diamonds.

Provided Content: Content provided by Associated Press. The Globe and Mail was not involved, and material was not reviewed prior to publication.