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August 17, 2009

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Buffett invests in medical sector

BILLIONAIRE Warren Buffett's company has revealed it had bought a new stake in medical supply company Becton, Dickinson & Co and boosted its holdings in Johnson & Johnson during the second quarter.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed the investments and several other changes to its roughly US$49 billion United States stock portfolio in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing offers a snapshot of the Omaha-based company's holdings as of June 30.

Berkshire reduced its holdings in CarMax Inc, ConocoPhillips, Eaton Corp, Home Depot Inc, and health insurers UnitedHealth Group Inc and WellPoint Inc.

But the filing also says Berkshire has permission from the SEC to omit some information to protect its trading strategy, so the document offers an incomplete picture of the its investments.

Berkshire regularly asks the SEC for the ability not to immediately disclose its holdings when it is making significant changes in an investment. Berkshire says the information could hurt its trading strategy because the market likes to follow what the "Oracle of Omaha's" company does.

Last Friday's filing is the first to mention a stake in Becton Dickinson. At the end of June, Berkshire held 1.2 million shares of the maker of medical devices and lab equipment.

Berkshire seems to be rebuilding its stake in Johnson & Johnson by buying 4.4 million shares in the second quarter after buying 3.9 million in the first quarter. Last fall, Buffett sold 33.1 million shares of the drug and medical products maker.


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