Warren Buffett cuts stakes in pharma stocks, exits Biogen; Nifty Pharma tanks 4% in 1 month

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August 18, 2021 3:35 PM

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway slashed stakes in several pharmaceutical companies such as Abbvie Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Merck & Co. in the second quarter of FY21.

Warren buffett, Berkshire hathaway, nifty pharmaWarren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has also trimmed its position in the automaker General Motors by 10.44 per cent. Image: Reuters

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway slashed stakes in several pharmaceutical companies such as Abbvie Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Merck & Co. in the second quarter of FY21. The firm has eliminated complete stake in another pharma company — Biogen Inc. in the second quarter, regulatory filings revealed this week. On the other hand, Berkshire Hathaway has increased stakes in supermarket chain Kroger Co, Rh Com and Marsh rival Aon Plc Shs CI A.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has also trimmed its position in the automaker General Motors by 10.44 per cent, as it shed 60 million shares, reducing its total stake in GM to $3.55 billion at the end of June 2021. The firm has cleared its complete stakes in Liberty Global Plc, and Axalta Coating Systems.

Also read: How to invest in US stock market from India: All that you need to know about process, rules

Berkshire Hathaway’s stakes in Apple, Bank of America remain unchanged

The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate also reported a new stake of $46.92 million in Organon & Co Common Stock. It has shed a $411 million stake in paint maker Axalta Coating Systems Ltd, which is a Berkshire holding since 2015. The changes were disclosed in a regulatory filing of Berkshire’s US-listed holdings as of June 30, 2021. Berkshire Hathaway’s stake in Apple Inc worth over $121 billion, and nearly $42 billion stakes in Bank of America, remained unchanged during the quarter.

Berkshire Hathway has been a net seller of stocks in 2021, including in the second quarter, when it sold $1.1 billion more stocks than it bought. The S&P 500 index has doubled from its March 2020 low of $2304.92 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic. Berkshire has instead bought back about $14.3 billion of its own stock between January and late July through its share price also set records, and now sits just 2% below its May 7 peak, according to Reuters.

Nifty Pharma index falls over 4% in one month

Back home, Indian share markets witnessed a massive sell-off in pharma companies on account of negative newsflow on a few pharma names. Moreover, the sell-off in drugmakers was triggered following lower-than-expected quarter earnings by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. The company’s earnings were hurt by the weaker performance of North American markets. In the past one month, the Nifty Pharma index fell 4.12 per cent, and nearly one per cent in the last five days.

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