Top U.S. investors take profits, hold out hopes on energy in Q2

Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:45pm EDT
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK Aug 15 (Reuters) - Top U.S. investors such as Berkshire Hathaway and Paulson & Co slashed some energy investments in the second quarter amid strong gains in crude and natural gas prices, while also appearing optimistic by maintaining or placing new bets on the sector, regulatory filings showed on Friday and Monday.

Warren Buffett's conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway cut its stake in oil exploration and production (E&P), refining and marketing company Suncor Energy by 7.7 million shares to 22.3 million shares over the quarter, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed. The company's stock price was little changed at the end of the quarter.

Buffett's firm maintained its stake in pipeline company Kinder Morgan of 26.5 million shares, however, amid a nearly 5 percent gain in the company's stock price.

Berkshire also increased its stake in U.S. refining company Phillips 66 by 3.2 million shares to 78.8 million shares, despite a loss of 8.4 percent in the company's share price.

U.S. crude prices rose 26 percent over the quarter to $48.33 a barrel after topping $51 a barrel. Prices rallied after major producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, began talking of an output freeze to ease a supply glut. Although that cooperation never came about, crude prices were later supported by unexpected production outages in Canada, Nigeria and Libya.

John Paulson's hedge fund firm Paulson & Co sold its entire stake of 3.2 million shares in oil exploration and production (E&P) company Whiting Petroleum Corp in the April-June quarter.

That liquidation came amid a 16 percent run-up in the company's stock price over the quarter.

The firm trimmed its bets on E&P companies Cobalt International Energy and Oasis Petroleum, but still kept the stakes sizable at 39.1 million shares and 5.3 million shares, respectively.   Continued...