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Combs Hands Gains to Buffett by Raising Bets When Picks Slip

Todd Combs, Warren Buffett’s apprentice stock picker at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., posted gains on his first equity bets at the company by buying when markets fell and increasing stakes in investments that declined.

Purchases of seven stocks by Combs in the nine months ended Sept. 30 advanced almost 14 percent as of Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed last year. Combs’s results were propelled by a 51 percent surge in holdings of MasterCard Inc., the world’s second-biggest payments network, and a 28 percent advance in an investment in retailer Dollar General Corp.