Warren Buffett's Berkshire adds ADM, more Wal-Mart in fourth qtr

Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:51pm EST

* Raises DirecTV stake 15 pct, DaVita stake 33 pct

* Takes new stakes in Archer Daniels Midland, VeriSign

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway took a new stake in agribusiness heavyweight Archer Daniels Midland Co in the fourth quarter and added to positions in old favorites like Wal-Mart Stores Inc , according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.

Many of the investment decisions were made not by Buffett himself but by his two investment managers, Ted Weschler and Todd Combs. Buffett has said only the changes in Berkshire's biggest positions, like adding to holdings of Wal-Mart or Wells Fargo, were made by him.

The portfolio was again active this quarter, with a number of large moves in a wide variety of stocks. While Buffett is the exemplar of buy-and-hold investing, he has indicated that at least one of the team of Weschler and Combs is inclined to trade more actively from quarter to quarter.

Besides buying about 6 million shares of ADM -- a stock that could appeal to Buffett's farmer son Howard -- Berkshire also added a new position of about 3.7 million shares in Internet registry manager Verisign Inc.

Otherwise, Berkshire raised stakes in a number of old favorites. It added 33 percent more of dialysis clinic operator DaVita, raised its position in satellite broadcaster DirecTV by 15 percent and added almost 27 percent to its stake in National Oilwell Varco.

Buffett added about 1.7 percent to the Wal-Mart position, and just over 4 percent to the stake in Wells Fargo, his favorite bank.

Berkshire also reduced some positions, slashing its stake in one-time portfolio stalwart Johnson & Johnson by another 34 percent and its position in newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises by 92 percent.

In the third quarter, Berkshire sold retailers and consumer heavyweight stocks but took new positions in industrial manufacturers like Deere & Co and Precision Castparts . Deere is the world's largest agricultural equipment maker. Precision Castparts' castings are used in every jet aircraft engine program in production or under development.

It also took a position in Wabco Holdings, which makes braking and transmission products for the commercial truck market, and raised its stake by 50 percent in the automaker General Motors.

In the third quarter Berkshire cut its long-time holding in Johnson & Johnson by 95 percent and also trimmed its Procter & Gamble position by another 11 percent.

J&J was one of Berkshire's biggest investments by valuation over the last five years, but Buffett sold it aggressively in 2012, telling CNBC in February the company "has messed up in a lot of ways" in the recent past.