Dow Jones

WASHINGTON - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett sold portions of his holdings in several financial companies and opened a new stake in Shaw Communications Inc. during the second quarter of 1999, according to a confidential 13F filing released Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the confidential filing, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is controlled by Buffett, cut his holdings in insurance company Chubb Corp. by 2,221,800 shares during 1999's second quarter to a stake of 534,100 shares. He also sold 1,135,000 shares of Wells Fargo & Co. but maintains a stake of 61,716,680 shares.

Buffett's total holdings on the confidential 13F for the second quarter of 1999 were in 15 companies with a value of $10.22 billion compared with 14 positions with a value of $9.84 billion for the confidential 13F for the first quarter of 1999. A confidential 13F is held by the SEC for one year before being released; the SEC grants such delays at the request of certain filers to limit market movements.

The additional holding came from the new position in Shaw Communications, in which Berkshire purchased 4,281,600 shares of during the second quarter of 1999, giving the firm a stake valued at $170.2 million, at the time.

The confidential filing shows that Buffett didn't get rid of any holdings, but did cut his stakes in seven of the 15 companies listed in the filing. The largest sale by Buffett during the quarter was of 5,452,800 shares of Walt Disney Co. The sales lowered Buffett's holdings in Disney to 28,742,342 shares valued at $885.75 million on June 30, 1999.

According to a previous 13F filing, Buffett opened his stake in Chubb Corp. during 1999's first quarter through the purchase of 2.7 million shares.

The billionaire investor lowered his stake in aerospace and defense company General Dynamics Corp. during 1999's second quarter by 1,705,527 shares for a total holding of 5,988,100 shares on June 30. In 1999's second quarter, Buffett sold 447,400 shares of U.S. Bancorp, 323,300 shares of Nucor Corp. and 50,000 shares of American International Group Inc.

As of June 30, 1999, the investor held 10,860,101 U.S. Bancorp shares, 4,009,100 shares of Nucor and 1,330,250 shares of American International Group.

The holdings listed on the confidential 13F are separate from the holdings listed on the "regular" 13F report filed by Berkshire Hathaway after every quarter.

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