By Andrew Frye
Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. cut its stake in Moody’s Corp. by 2 percent, the second reduction in two months, after the ratings firm reported two years of quarterly profit declines.
Berkshire, still the largest stockholder in Moody’s, sold 794,388 shares, according to a regulatory filing today. Buffett’s firm cut its stake in New York-based Moody’s by 17 percent in July.
Moody’s and rival firms Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have been targets of criticism from investors and lawmakers including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, who has said the companies wrongly assigned top credit rankings to subprime-mortgage bonds just before that market collapsed. Buffett himself has said Moody’s damaged its brand as ratings proved inaccurate.
“They made a mistake that many, many people made,” Buffett said at Berkshire’s May 2 annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. “There was almost a total belief throughout the country that house prices certainly wouldn’t fall significantly.”
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