Billionaire Buffett's Holdings Struggle During Tough Q2

By the Staff

Not even Warren Buffett's stocks were immune from the rocky market in Q2.

Though not quite as hair-raising as the Q1 slide that hit the market, Q2 was no walk in the park for investors. Stocks were in recovery mode for the first half of Q2, but have traded steadily lower as a myriad of concerns -- including inflation fears, high energy prices, and the possibility of slowing growth -- continue to hit the market. The S&P 500 dipped a bit more than -3% during Q2.

It's been a fairly quiet quarter for Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A - News, BRK-B - News). The company's only major move was to help finance candy bar maker Mars' planned takeover of gum maker Wrigley (NYSE: WWY - News). Berkshire will take a stake in the new business once the deal is completed.

Among Berkshire's equity holdings from the end of Q1, there was little to cheer about during Q2.

Looking at Buffett's holdings from the start of Q2, the laggards outnumbered the winners. At the bottom of the heap were a pair of banks, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC - News) and SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI - News), as well as General Electric (NYSE: GE - News), which offered up surprisingly disappointing earnings in April.

There were some exceptions, however. Top performers during the quarter included railroad stocks Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI - News), Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC - News), and Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP - News), which continue to move on high commodity prices. Berkshire's two big retailers, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT - News) and Costco (Nasdaq: COST - News), also fared well as consumers have turned to discount retailers in the tough economic climate. Finally, the biggest winner among Berkshire's end-of-Q1 holdings was Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD - News), which has moved higher of late on takeover interest from Belgian brewer InBev.

Looking at's graph charting the performance of Berkshire's end-of-Q1 holdings during Q2, it's clear that it was a tough quarter all around, even for Buffett. If you want to see how your performance stacks up to Warren Buffett's, visit to see the Oracle of Omaha's top holdings and a chart of their combined performance.


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