Shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. were left out of the stock market rally in the second quarter. Warren Buffett clearly thought the disconnect wasn’t warranted.
The famed investor spent a record $5.1 billion buying back Berkshire’s own stock in the second quarter, more than double the amount he’d ever purchased before. That came as he unloaded almost $13 billion of other companies’ shares, including airline stocks and some financials, in what was Buffett’s biggest selling quarter in more than a decade.
Buffett has shown signs of buying appetite in recent weeks, but the second-quarter results show those are a new phenomenon as the COVID-19 pandemic has slammed the economy but failed to put a permanent dent in stock-market valuations. Buffett’s been building up cash this year even as other investors have sought to seize on opportunities amid the turmoil, and the pain Berkshire’s own businesses are feeling may inform his thinking.
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