Berkshire Hathaway Inc. took a stake in Deere & Co. as CEO Warren Buffett entrusts more of the company's investment portfolio to deputy stock pickers.
Berkshire held 3.98 million shares of the agricultural equipment maker on Sept. 30, Buffett's Omaha-based firm said Wednesday in a filing disclosing U.S. stock holdings at the end of the third quarter. Berkshire's investments are closely watched, as many investors try to copy Buffett's moves.
Buffett, 82, has been handing more responsibility to Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, the former hedge-fund managers he hired to help oversee part of the firm's $88 billion equity portfolio.
Weschler and Combs “seem to get more free rein as the quarters progress,” which shows Buffett is gaining confidence in their abilities, said Josh Brown, of Fusion Analytics Investment Partners in New York. “That's probably a good trend. You hate to see it the other way around.”
Berkshire also disclosed stakes in Precision Castparts Corp., the maker of metal components, and Wabco Holdings Inc., the manufacturer of braking and suspension systems for commercial vehicles.
Berkshire added to its existing investments in Wells Fargo, Bank of New York Mellon Corp., General Motors and DaVita Inc. Berkshire reduced its stakes in Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Lee Enterprises, Procter & Gamble and US Bancorp.
The Omaha World-Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.