By Barbara Kollmeyer
But what will Buffett say about banks this weekend?
Warren Buffett could be the recipient of a few extra high-fives walking into the Berkshire Hathaway annual general shareholder meeting this weekend, thanks to the conglomerate's No. 1 holding, Apple Inc.
The tech giant (AAPL) late Thursday reported forecast-beating second-quarter revenue and earnings, thanks to a rebound in iPhone sales. Even better for Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA)(BRKA), which first bought Apple in 2016, was the news that Apple was lifting its dividend by 4%.
Berkshire is its second-largest institutional holder, with 895,136 shares, according to FactSet. Apple upped its quarterly dividend by 24 cents, putting roughly $214.83 million in the pockets of Berkshire Hathaway. The tech company also said it was boosting its buyback program by $90 billion.
In his annual letter to shareholders in late February, the 92-year old Buffett said one big lesson investors needed to remember was that "weeds wither away in significance as the flowers bloom. Over time, it takes just a few winners to work wonders."
He said Apple buybacks at the end of last year had increased the company's ownership. "The math isn't complicated: When the share count goes down, your interest in our many businesses goes up," Buffett wrote. "Every small bit helps if repurchases are made at value-accretive prices."
Set to walk away even richer from that latest dividend payout is the $8 trillion investment adviser Vanguard Group. Apple's biggest shareholder according to FactSet, holds 1.2 million shares, which means a $291.6 million payout.
Buffett admitted to selling a bit of Apple once from a tax standpoint, but called that "a dumb sale," in an interview with CNBC last month, as he explained a key reason for holding the stock. "If you're an Apple user and somebody offers you $10,000 but the only proviso is that they'll take away your iPhone and you'll never be able to buy another, you're not gonna take it," he said
"And I don't know whether when I look at my iPhone, I don't know whether it's some little guy inside that's doing anything. I don't know the technical aspects at all. But I know that at the Nebraska Furniture Mart, if we don't have the Apple product, people leave the store and go someplace else," he added.
The iPhone maker comprises roughly 39% of Berkshire's portfolio, according to its latest 13-F filing.
Shares of Apple were up more than 2% in premarket trading, and are up 7% so far this year amid a general rebound for tech shares from last year's beatdown. Berkshire's a shares have gained more than 4% so far this year.
Berkshire's second-biggest position is Bank of America (BAC), which has tumbled 18% in 2023, amid the persistent banking crisis that has re-emerged to hit regional lenders hard this week.
Investors and shareholders in Omaha, Neb. this weekend, where Berkshire will also release its latest results, will likely be looking out for what one of the world's most closely watched investors has to say about the latest ripples. While Berkshire has scaled bank holdings of big lenders in recent years, the conglomerate was still holding a few.
As troubles for the sector appeared to calm for a time when he spoke to CNBC in early April, Buffett did come across as wary. "We're not through with bank failures," he said.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 06, 2023 09:00 ET (13:00 GMT)
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