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Warren Buffett takes a big bite of Apple

16 February 2017

Legendary investor Warren Buffett, through his Berkshire Hathaway firm, has almost quadrupled the company's stake in Apple's stock through a shopping binge during the final three months of 2016, according to a regulatory filing.

Berkshire owns 57.4 million shares of Apple as of December 31, vs 15.2 million shares three months previously, according to a regulatory filing.

Cupertino-based Apple's stock has soared 17 percent this year in its climb to all-time records.

Today, as Apple's stock price hit a record high, crossing over $135 a share, that stake is worth more than $7.7 billion.

Larger Berkshire investments such as Wells Fargo & Co, Coca-Cola Co and International Business Machines Corp are normally Buffett's, but the 86-year-old billionaire has given his deputies Todd Combs and Ted Weschler more to invest over the years.

Assuming no part of Berkshire's stake has been sold, Apple's 16.6% gain in 2017 would leave Berkshire with a paper profit for just 2017 of $1.1 billion.

The plunge into Apple appears particularly well-timed. Berkshire added to the investments in American and United.

But their decisions have sometimes influenced Buffett, as when Berkshire past year paid $32.1 billion for aircraft parts maker Precision Castparts Corp, once a Combs investment.

Buffett declined to discuss the rationale for the airline investments during an interview with Charlie Rose on January 27, but he did say that the decision to buy was "in large part" his.

Warren Buffett is taking a big bite out of Apple.

Shares of American, Delta, Southwest and United, as well as Apple, Monsanto and Sirius, rose in after-hours trading. It completely dumped its stake in Deere. During the past two decades, Buffett has focused more on acquisitions than stocks to generate growth.

Warren Buffett takes a big bite of Apple