OMAHA, Neb. (TheStreet) -- The quarterly portfolio holdings revealed after the market close on Monday from Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) show that the big Buffett train slowed down in the second quarter when it came to selling stocks.
In 2009 and earlier this year, to help fund the mega-acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, Buffett was a big net seller of stocks held in his portfolio. It was notable for Mr. Buy and Hold to be a heavy seller of stocks in recent quarters, but in light of the Burlington Northern deal, the crowd of zealous Warren Buffett watchers downplayed the selling activity. The man who, among other famous sayings, once said that the best holding period for a stock is "forever," was entitled to some portfolio sales given the size of the Burlington Northern deal.
It was back to normal for Mr. Buy and Hold in the second quarter of 2010, which can be described as a period of overall tweaking the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. There were some notable buys, sells and new additions. Yet most of the buys and sells were on the margins, and there was only one new company making it into the coveted list of public stocks held by Warren Buffett."Things quieted down," said Morningstar analyst Bill Bergman. Buffett was again a net buyer of stocks in the second quarter in marked contrast to the previous two quarters of heavy selling, at least heavy selling by Buffett standards. It wasn't as if Buffett needed to raise cash in the quarter for continuing operations either. The recently released earnings from Berkshire Hathaway showed that outside a big decline in the value of derivatives, the operating companies owned by Berkshire -- which had been a drag on earnings in recent quarters and in the recession -- were recovering. The big derivatives loss in the second quarter of close to $2 billion has to be put in the proper perspective, too. Berkshire Hathaway's derivatives gain in the preceding four quarters was $5.5 billion. As the Oracle has always said, derivatives will go up and down in value quarter to quarter. What follows is a breakdown of the most notable stocks to move up and down in Buffett's estimation in the second quarter. As the Burlington Northern train came into the Omaha station the portfolio activity went from a blaring whistle to a relative tweet, but the tweets were still notable.
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