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Warren Buffett loses over $4 billion selling Apple shares

Warren Buffett loses over $4 billion selling Apple shares

Warren Buffett, the famed Oracle of Omaha, has undertaken many savvy trades in the last eight decades, ensuring both his reputation as a titan of investing and his net worth of over $120 billion.

His biggest holding, and arguably his best trade of the last decade, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has helped Buffett’s wealth skyrocket since he first bought the stock in 2016.

Still, despite profiting significantly from making AAPL shares accounting for about 50% of his portfolio, the Oracle of Omaha has mostly been selling the technology giant’s stock in recent years, and one of his most dramatic selloffs came in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024.

Indeed, during the trimester, Buffett reduced his Apple position by about 13% by selling as many as 16 million shares.

This is how much Buffett could have made by just not selling AAPL

Though it is likely that the massive sale was part of a strategy seeking to take advantage of the current tax rates as President Biden recently proposed a significant tax hikeparticularly for high-net-worth individuals – the sale may not have been the savviest of moves given Apple’s recent stock market moves.

Throughout Q1 2024, Apple shares were trading in the general range between $169 and $195, meaning that Buffett made at least $19.5 billion and at most $22.6 billion.

In comparison, the same number of shares, as of the market’s close on June 11, would be worth $24 billion, meaning that Buffett lost between $1.4 billion and $4.5 billion.

AAPL stock 5-day price chart. Source: Finbold

There is also a strong bias toward the bigger loss, given that Apple traded closer to the lower bounds of the range through most of Q1.

On the other hand, despite the sale of 116 million shares being massive every way one looks at it, it is worth remembering that Buffett still holds nearly 790 million AAPL shares, and their value rose some $18 billion to $163.5 billion by the time of publication.

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