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May 17, 2010 Monday 17:49 PM EST
SECTION: NEWS & ANALYSIS; Financial Services
LENGTH: 286 words
HEADLINE: Buffett Dumps Health Insurance
BYLINE: Scott Eden, Reporter.Scott Eden has covered business — both large and small — for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city’s weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men’s Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He’s also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.
OMAHA, Neb. (TheStreet) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway(BRK.B:NYSE) got out of health insurance and into garbage collection and medical devices during the first quarter of 2010. According to the seasonal disclosure of its investment holdings, Berkshire killed its stake in WellPoint(WLP:NYSE) during the first quarter, selling all 1.3 million shares. Buffett’s holding company also liquidated sizable stakes in UnitedHealth Group (1.2 million shares) and regional bank SunTrust(STI:NYSE) (2.4 million shares).Buffett continued to sell shares in Gannett(GCI:NYSE), and notably sold stock in Kraft(KFT:NYSE), a long time Berkshire favorite that came under fire from Buffett for its purchase of Cadbury.But Republic Services(RSG:NYSE) has apparently caught the Oracle’s attention. Berkshire increased its interest in the waste collector and recycler to 10.8 million shares from 8.3 million shares in the prior quarter. Meanwhile, he bought up shares of medical device maker Becton Dickinson(BDX:NYSE), hiking his interest by 200,000 shares to 1.7 million.The bullish calls for Buffett were relatively scarce in the first quarter, which comes as no surprise as his firm has sought to raise cash for the completion of its $26.7 billion acquisition of railroader Burlington Northern(BNI:NYSE). His only other raise came in shares of data provider Iron Mountain(IRM:NYSE), a recent favorite of Berkshire’s. During the quarter, the firm increased its holdings in the company to 7.8 million shares from 7 million.Berkshire also eliminated a modest holding — about 270,000 shares — in insurance giant Travelers(TRV:NYSE).2— Written by Scott Eden in New YorkFollow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
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