Buffett Adds Burlington Northern Shares Before Earnings (BNI, CSX, BRK-A)

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Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. (NYSE: BNI) is set to report earnings today, and this comes just a day after competitor CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) earnings missed analyst expectations after a resort writedown took earnings down more than 30%.  What is most interesting here is that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) disclosed that purchased an additional 4.36 million shares of common stock for a total of $271.2 million on the open market. 

This last average price comes roughly to $62.15, which is far lowerthan its most recent transaction prices. This puts Berkshire Hathaway’stotal reported stake at 21.7% or about 74.5 million shares of commonstock.  This stock is trading up over 3% late-morning at $63.20 aheadof the report.  After today’s gain, the value of the Buffett stake sitsat roughly $4.7 billion.

Thomson Reuters (First Call) has consensus estimates pegged at $1.74EPS on $4.4 billion in revenues.  CSX was able to forecast certainprice increases for 2009, which it at least expects some offset againstlower shipment volumes seen.

We recently used this as part of our outline in just automatically followingWarren Buffett into his stocks, mainly because these shares frequentlyfall in the periods after he buys shares.  This is nothing againstBuffett and his strategy, but Joe Public can rarely take the "foreverattitude" of a holding period like Buffett and friends can.  Here isalso a full list of Buffett’s reported stock holdings as of the last full quarter.

Jon C. Ogg
January 21, 2009