Berkshire Cuts Visa, Mastercard Bets, Trims Some Drug Stakes1 min read

(Bloomberg) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. cut two of its payments bets — holdings in Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. — as it also pulled back on investments in pharmaceutical giants AbbVie Inc. and Bristol Myers-Squibb Co.

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Berkshire reported a 30% decrease in AbbVie and a 16% cut to its Bristol-Myers Squibb investment during the third quarter, as well as no longer showing a stake in Merck & Co., according to a filing released Monday. The Visa and Mastercard holdings were cut 4.3% and 6% respectively.

Buffett’s Berkshire has spent recent quarters tweaking its mammoth stock portfolio that was valued at nearly $311 billion at the end of the third quarter. Overall, the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate was a net seller of stocks for the fourth quarter in a row.

Berkshire wasn’t totally negative on the pharmaceutical sector. It disclosed a new bet on Royalty Pharma Plc and still holds an investment in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

The conglomerate also reported a new stake in Floor & Decor Holdings Inc. during the period and even ramped up a bet on Chevron Corp., boosting that 24% to an investment valued at $2.91 billion at the end of the quarter.

Berkshire’s been whittling away at some of its large financial bets in recent months. In addition to the Visa and Mastercard cuts, Berkshire decreased its U.S. Bancorp investment. Buffett’s company has also been pulling back on its iconic Wells Fargo & Co. investment in recent months. That bet stayed the same from the second quarter to the third.

(Updates with Merck, other bets, financial stakes starting in second paragraph.)

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