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New York — Warren Buffett’s capital-deployment machine pulled back on several fronts at the start of the year as the billionaire took a more cautious stance on stocks.

Berkshire Hathaway’s net stock sales in the first quarter were the second highest in almost five years and the conglomerate, where the billionaire is CEO, slowed its buyback pace, according to a regulatory filing on Saturday. That helped push Berkshire’s cash pile up 5.2% from three months earlier to a near record $145.4bn at the end of March...

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