Warren Buffett’s buying spree continues, HP soars with 11.5% stake | Nebraska News

By JOSH FUNK, AP Business Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Shares of HP Inc. jumped nearly 15% on Thursday after Warren Buffett’s company took more than 11% of the printer and computer maker over the past week in another investment billionaire’s unusual technology.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it now owns nearly 121 million HP shares, giving it control of 11.5% of the company.

HP shares rose more than $5 to close at $40.06 on the first day of trading since the disclosure of the purchases. The company is based in Palo Alto, California.

Buffett started the year by telling shareholders he was struggling to find anything attractively priced to invest Berkshire’s nearly $147 billion in cash. Since expressing that sentiment in February in its annual letter, Berkshire has said it will spend $11.6 billion to acquire insurance conglomerate Alleghany, and it has bought more than $7 billion from Occidental Petroleum shares.

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Buffett has long been hesitant to invest in tech companies, saying it’s too hard to pick long-term winners. Still, he’s liked Apple’s prospects enough to buy more than 5.6% of the iPhone maker in recent years, and it seems he’s found something equally enticing in HP.

Berkshire’s investments now rely heavily on financial services companies and “value technology investments,” said CFRA Research analyst Cathy Seifert.

Along with high-tech investments in Apple, HP and electric car maker BYD, Berkshire’s $351 billion portfolio includes major investments in Bank of America, American Express, US Bancorp and rating agency Moody’s.

“This strategy makes a lot of sense, in our view, despite Buffet’s continued mistrust of the tech space, as it further diversifies Berkshire’s broader operating model, currently centered on energy, manufacturing, consumption and insurance,” Seifert said.

Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan said that while HP makes printers and computers, Buffett may see it more as a traditional manufacturer. And he said HP shares several qualities of Berkshire’s other investments, including a relatively cheap price relative to its earnings and a solid track record of returning money to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks. The company currently pays a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share.

Berkshire’s filing does not reveal whether Buffett or any of Berkshire’s other investment managers made the HP purchases, but Buffett said he typically manages investments over $1 billion. Berkshire did not immediately respond to questions about the HP investment on Thursday.

Many investors closely follow Buffett’s investment moves due to his stellar track record over the decades.

Along with its investment portfolio, the Omaha, Nebraska conglomerate also owns more than 90 companies, including BNSF Railroad, Geico and a number of other major insurers, several major utilities and an assortment of manufacturing and retail companies.

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