Warren Buffett Bails on Exxon Mobil

Feb 18 2015 | 8:06pm ET

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced that it sold its entire stake in Exxon Mobil Corp. The $3.7 billion stake was sold while oil prices were crashing in the fourth quarter, according to a regulatory filing.

Berkshire was Exxon's sixth-largest shareholder until the end of 2014. At 3.7%, it was also Buffett's eight-largest position in his portfolio.

The motive for releasing such a large stake is unclear; however, Buffett may have little expectations for rising crude prices in the near term, or he may have little faith in the firm's ability to boost shareholder value in a time of volatile crude prices. 

Buffett is the latest high-profile investor to abandon the energy giant. On Tuesday, George Soros' hedge fund released a filing stating that the firm slashed U.S. equity holdings and shifted to global assets. Soros unloaded his position in Exxon, in addition to stakes in Apple Inc. and Intel Corporation.

Exxon's stock had weathered the decline of oil prices rather well in comparison to the commodity itself. In the last year, Exxon stock is down 6%, while Brent crude prices are down roughly 45%. 

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