Johnson & Johnson is now Berkshire Hathaway's sixth-largest common stock position, according to data released yesterday.
Warren Buffett's firm reported its common stock holdings as of June 30 to the SEC in a regulatory filing yesterday afternoon.
Berkshire added about 17.1 million shares of JNJ to its portfolio in the three months ending June 30. That likely cost the firm about $1 billion.
Berkshire had been selling shares of JNJ in recent quarters to increase liquidity, but Buffett wrote in the past two shareholder letters that he thinks the stock will eventually increase in value. Buffett appears to have used JNJ's recent woes (product recalls, quality-control questions, falling stock price) as an opportunity to again boost its stake.
Because JNJ has been at about the same prices over the past 45 days as it was in the three months before that, it's possible that Berkshire now owns more than the stake reported yesterday afternoon.
As of June 30, Berkshire owned about 41.3 million shares of JNJ, a stake worth about $2.4 billion at yesterday's closing prices. Berkshire boosted its stake in the consumer healthcare firm by about 73 percent in the second quarter.
JNJ is now Berkshire's sixth-largest common stock position (this doesn't count its preferred shares in companies such as General Electric and Goldman Sachs). It trails only Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, American Express, Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods, in that order.
During the second quarter, Berkshire also added common shares of Fiserv Inc. (a new position), Becton Dickinson, Nalco Holding, Iron Mountain and Sanofi Aventis. All of those purchases were relatively modest, suggesting they may have been the work of Lou Simpson for GEICO's stock portfolio.
Berkshire yesterday reported modestly reduced stakes in Kraft Foods, ConocoPhillips, M&T Bank and Procter & Gamble.