Warren Buffett sheds big stakes in banks and goes for the gold

Legendary investor reduces Wells Fargo, JP Morgan holdings and takes a shine to gold

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. unloaded a more than a quarter of its stake in Wells Fargo & Co. and about 61% of its position in JPMorgan Chase, while acquiring a new position in Barrick Gold Corp., according to 13-F filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the period ended Jun 30, that were released Friday afternoon.

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Berkshire's moves appeared to reflect a broad lightening of the conglomerates' exposure to large-capitalization banks during the worst public health crisis in generations.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BRK.ABERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.319,534.00-8,067.00-2.46%
BRK.BBERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.213.02-5.19-2.38%
WFCWELLS FARGO & COMPANY24.04-1.09-4.34%
JPMJP MORGAN CHASE & CO.95.31-3.04-3.09%

Berkshire sold 85.6 million shares of Wells Fargo, representing about 26% of its stake and putting its ownership to about 3% from 5.3%.

The insurance conglomerate also shed 35.5 million shares of JPMorgan, 61% of its position, which now represents 1% of Berkshire's overall portfolio from 3% in the prior period.

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Meanwhile, the investment firm acquired nearly 21 million shares of Barrick Gold worth $563 million, representing 0.3% of Berkshire's holding. Berkshire also reduced its holding in PNC Financial Services (PNC), selling 3.85 million shares to cut its position to 0.3% from 0.5%.

Berkshire didn't change its holdings in Apple Inc. where the firm owns 245 million shares.

Large investors must disclose long stock positions held at the end of a quarter 45 days later in a 13-F filing with the SEC, which means such filings are merely a snapshot of an investor's holdings at a given point.

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Berkshire Class A and B shares are down by about 0.6% and 0.5% at Friday's close. Meanwhile, shares of Wells Fargo were down 0.8% in after-hours trade on Friday, JPMorgan shares edged 0.1% lower, while Barrick's stock was up 3.9% after Friday's closing bell.

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