Robert McDonald, P&G’s chief executive officer, is working to prove that his pricing and plan to cut cost cuts will be enough to improve results. Jennifer Chelune, a spokeswoman for the Cincinnati-based company, declined to comment.
Berkshire pared its holdings of Johnson & Johnson by about two-thirds to 10.3 million shares. The world’s biggest health- products maker was ordered in April to pay more than $1.1 billion in fines after an Arkansas jury found the firm misled doctors and patients about the risks of antipsychotic medication Risperdal. The company has also struggled with recalls of artificial hip implants and over-the-counter medicines.
“It’s still got a lot of wonderful products and it’s got a wonderful balance sheet and all of that, but there have been too many mistakes,” Buffett told CNBC in a Feb. 27 interview.
Bill Price, a spokesman for the New Brunswick, New Jersey- based company, declined to comment.
Berkshire’s holding of Kraft Foods Inc. fell 25 percent to 58.8 million shares. The foodmaker is planning to split its snacks business from its U.S. grocery unit on Oct. 1. Buffett has pared the investment for five straight quarters and said in 2010 that Kraft’s takeover of Cadbury Plc and the sale of its pizza brands were “dumb” moves.
Michael Mitchell, a spokesman for the Northfield, Illinois- based company, declined to comment. Kraft slipped 0.3 percent while P&G and Johnson & Johnson were little changed.
“Warren has always said, as he talked about other positions he’s sold, that the best discipline for selling is if you have something better to do with the money,” Tom Russo, a partner at Berkshire investor Gardner Russo & Gardner, said in a phone interview before the filing was released.
Berkshire increased its investment in Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. home lender, to 411 million shares as of June 30 from 394.3 million three months earlier. The stake was valued at more than $13 billion at the end of the second quarter.
Buffett has praised the San Francisco-based bank’s mortgage business and said it will benefit as the housing market rebounds. The lender created one of every three U.S. mortgages in the first half, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, and may seek to boost market share to 40 percent.
“They’ve got a sensational mortgage operation,” Buffett told Liu. “The total mortgage market was at the $3 trillion level not that long ago. If it goes back up to $3 trillion, I hope Wells is doing a third of those.”
Berkshire’s stake in Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the world’s largest custody bank, more than tripled to 18.7 million shares and was valued at about $410 million as of June 30.
Wells Fargo advanced 0.2 percent and BNY Mellon was up 0.4 percent.
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