Warren Buffett, on CNBC, says bought about 120 million Apple shares in 2017

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[February 27, 2017]  By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc <BRKa.N>, told CNBC on Monday that his conglomerate had purchased about 120 million shares of Apple Inc. <AAPL.O> in 2017 and that U.S. stocks were not in a "bubble territory."

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett plays bridge during the Berkshire annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. on May 3, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

"Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product," Buffett said. He said Berkshire's Apple stake was now worth about $17 billion and amounted to 133 million shares.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook had done a "terrific job," Buffett said, but added he had not bought shares since the company's earnings report.

Buffett, who told the cable television network that Berkshire had spent about $20 billion on stocks since just before the Nov. 8 U.S. election, also said the U.S. stock market was cheap with interest rates at current levels.

Buffett said it was extremely difficult to attempt to find a floor in stock prices and that he did not know what would happen in the near term in the equity market. He said U.S. shares could conceivably "go down 20 percent tomorrow."

Buffett said that Berkshire's positions in airlines remained unchanged. He said pricing shares of airlines has historically been a "very tough game" and that he had never met the chief executives of any of the four airlines in which Berkshire holds stakes.

(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by W Simon and Bernadette Baum)

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