Gates Foundation Buys Up Amazon, Apple, Twitter Stock; Trims Berkshire Hathaway Stake


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust has built up new positions in tech giants Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Twitter (TWTR) in the first quarter of the year, while trimming its investment in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

In the first three months of the year, the Gates Foundation Trust bought up 501,044 in Apple shares, according to a SEC filing. The iPhone maker’s stock, which dropped 15% in the first quarter, has since been on a recovery path, appreciating some 25% to trade at $318.89 as of Friday’s close. Given the recent rally, the $318.93 average price target by analysts indicates shares are fully priced (See Apple stock analysis on TipRanks).

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife established the world’s largest private foundation back in 2000. The foundation holds over $40 billion in assets.

The trust also built up new positions in Twitter, which has soared 48% in the past two months, by purchasing 272,420 shares. In e-commerce giant Amazon it acquired 60,460 shares. It also bought 552,383 shares of Alibaba.

For Amazon stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic have been good for business. Demand for its products has surged, with the internet colossus expanding operations during lockdown and responding to consumers’ needs, many of which switched to online retail for the first time during the global crisis.

Although Amazon in March stopped accepting non-essential item shipments it already in April resumed those shipments with limits in place. Last week, the e-commerce giant decided to reschedule its annual shopping event Prime Day for September.

“Improving shipping efficiency and its ability to execute on one of its primary value propositions/sources of competitive advantages gives Amazon confidence to reschedule its Prime day event for September,” five-star analyst Youssef Squali at SunTrust Robinson said in a note to investors.

Shares in Amazon have surged 45% since mid-March and were trading at $2,436.88 as of Friday.

The analyst counts Amazon among his favorite Buy-rated stocks in the current environment with a $2,700 price target, saying that despite concerns over the COVID-19 impact, the e-commerce company largely beat on both top and bottom lines.

Turning now to Wall Street, analysts have a bullish outlook on Amazon stock. Out of the 41 analysts covering the shares in the last three months, 38 have Buys and the rest are split between 2 Holds and 1 Sell adding up to a Strong Buy consensus. The $2,673.17 average price target implies a modest 9.7% upside potential in the stock in the coming 12 months. (See Amazon stock analysis on TipRanks).

The Gates Foundation Trust’s biggest new buy was the purchase of 6,981,665 shares of Schrodinger, a life and materials sciences software company. Meanwhile, the trust cut its holding in Berkshire Hathaway by 5,000,000 Class B shares, or 10.02%.

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