Today (Thursday), stock market futures got a boost from a Wal-Mart earnings beat, and a $4.7 billion deal between Berkshire Hathaway and ProctEr & Gamble.
The earnings reports calendar is getting crowded as some big names deliver numbers this week - and investors will get to see if a harsh winter hurt Q1 results this season.
S&P 500 companies' Q1 earnings are forecast to have fallen 1.4% year over year, according to data from FactSet. That's down sharply from the start of the year, when profit growth was projected to rise 4.5%.
Run by the iconic Warren Buffett since 1965, Berkshire has grown from a textile manufacturing company to now include 80-plus businesses that run the gamut from insurance to railroads to utilities to ice cream. The Omaha, Neb.-based conglomerate consists of some $117.5 billion of a variety of stocks.
Not only did Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) sell more than $750 million in two American giants, they initiated four new holdings and eliminated three positions entirely. Overall, Berkshire's reported portfolio, which only includes long positions, increased to $75.3 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $74.3 billion the previous quarter.
While some think Buffett is taking profits where he can, others think he is building up a stockpile of cash for a major move.
"Buffett may be selling the consumer stocks to provide more funds to his deputies while reserving money for a large acquisition," David Kass, a professor at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, told Bloomberg News.
"He may be really wanting to keep that aside for his big elephant," said Kass, who is referring to Buffett's quote in a letter to shareholders last year where the 82-year-old investing legend stated, "Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy."
Only Buffett and Berkshire's new portfolio managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, truly know why they made their latest moves, and so without further speculation, here they are.
Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett along with other iconic investors such as George Soros this week revealed their second-quarter stock moves - and you may be a little more than surprised to see what they've been up to.
The two billionaire investors disclosed their most recent investments in 13F filings, which are released by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 45 days after the close of a quarter.
While Buffett has stepped back a bit from the business as he anticipates retirement, the Berkshire Hathaway holdings show he's still the driving force behind the firm's investing success.
"Buffett continues to hold sway over a meaningful amount of the equity portfolio--something we don't anticipate changing too significantly in the near to medium term," wrote Morningstar analyst Greggory Warren.