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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway buys more Occidental Petroleum stock

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) scooped up more shares of the billionaire's favorite oil and gas producer, Occidental Petroleum (OXY), increasing its stake to nearly 29% of the company.

Buffett has said Berkshire has no interest in buying control of Occidental, but the conglomerate has been a repeat dip buyer of the Houston-based company as the stock sits roughly 12% off its April peak. Prior to the Monday filing, Berkshire disclosed the purchase of 7.3 million shares.

Occidental stock gained more than 1% on Tuesday to trade above the $61 level.

“Mr. Buffett appears to step in and buy more OXY shares whenever the share price falls near or below $60. This bid sure appears to have set a floor on the share price,” James Shanahan, senior equity research analyst at Edward Jones, told Yahoo Finance.

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Shanahan notes Berkshire’s $15.4 billion position makes Occidental its sixth-largest stock holding. The company’s top holding is Apple (AAPL), which currently sits at roughly 20% of Berkshire's market cap, after Berkshire trimmed its position in the iPhone maker in May.

Berkshire is still highly involved in energy plays, as Chevron (CVX) remains a top-five holding despite the company selling some of its position as recently as March.

“Together with the preferred share investment in OXY, Berkshire's bet on oil is almost $43 billion. Interestingly, this total has been $41-51 billion at the end of each quarter dating back to March 2022, which was the quarter when Berkshire began to buy OXY,” said Shanahan.

Buffett has been a vocal backer of Occidental Petroleum, publicly praising the company’s CEO Vicki Hollub. He was also instrumental in helping finance Occidental’s acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum in 2019.

In December, Occidental announced it would buy Midland, Texas-based CrownRock for $12 billion, the latest in a string of industry consolidation moves across the Permian Basin.

In a vote of confidence, Berkshire Hathaway purchased nearly $600 million worth of OXY shares within a three-day span following the acquisition announcement.

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway attends the annual Berkshire shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2019. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, attends the annual Berkshire shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb., May 3, 2019. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images) (JOHANNES EISELE via Getty Images)

Occidental recently put some of its assets up for sale in order to purchase the privately held oil and gas producer.

In May, Hollub told Yahoo Finance the company would taper stock buybacks for the next couple of years as it focuses on reducing its debt.

“We’ve had a very healthy repurchase program over the last couple of years because of the fact that our stock right now is very undervalued, in our view,” said Hollub.

Last year, Occidental paid out $600 million in dividends, repurchased $1.8 billion of common shares, and redeemed $1.5 billion of preferred shares.

The stock declined 5% in 2023 after skyrocketing 119% in the prior year when oil peaked, making it the best-performing equity of the S&P 500 (^GSPC) that year.

Ines Ferre is a senior business reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre.