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Buffett buys GM shares, Einhorn cuts RIM holdings

Globe and Mail Blog

17:47 EDT Tuesday, May 15, 2012

J.C. Penney stock is set to plunge Wednesday morning and shares in General Motors Corp. are likely to see a boost after a news-packed post-market Tuesday evening.

Shares in the U.S. retailing giant fell as much as 14 per cent in after-hours trading after reporting it swung to a much worse than expected quarterly loss, with same-store sales plunging 19 per cent. It also axed its quarterly dividend and said it no longer expects to meet profit forecasts, and braced investors for more restructuring charges this year.

Meanwhile, the latest 13-F filings from the major U.S. funds -- which detail changes made to holdings in the first quarter of this year -- were released in the post market.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. may have drawn the most attention. It bought 10 million shares, worth about $256.5-million, in General Motors Co. in the first quarter, as well as 1.6 million class B shares in Viacom Inc. Berkshire scaled back its exposure to Intel Corp. to 7.7 million shraes from 11.5 million in the previous period, and kept its stake in IBM pretty much unchanged.

GM shares are up 3.8 per cent in the post market, pointing to a strong start to trading on Wednesday.

Some other notable 13-F filings:

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital reduced its stake in Research In Motion , as well as in Microsoft and Dell , according to its 13-F regulatory filing. It sold its entire Yahoo stake of 3 million shares.

Greenlight’s stake in RIM would be worth about $17.7-million at Tuesday prices, with the share count down by nearly half, according to the Wall Street Journal.

RIM’s U.S.-listed shares are unchanged in the post market but had a brutal regular session, falling 5.93 per cent to $11.10, a new eight-year low.

George Soros’s Soros Fund Management bought shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group ; it didn’t own any shares in the two banks as of Dec. 31 of last year. Soros also sliced its holdings in Apple by more than half to 40,000 shares, and sold all its shares in Google.

Stocks to watch Wednesday morning include Target Corp., which releases its quarterly earnings and will be particularly monitored for signs of a consumer spending slowdown in the wake of the J.C. Penny results. The Street is expecting profit per share of $1.01 (U.S.).

Deer & Co. earnings also come out before market open. The Street is expecting profit of $2.53 a share.

On the economic front, the U.S. Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits for April. Economists expect 684,00 starts and 730,000 permits, annualized.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board reports on industrial production and capacity utilization in April. Economists expect production to rise by 0.5 per cent, and capacity utilization at 79 per cent.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board also publishes the minutes of its latest policy-setting meeting.

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