10 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Buying (And 11 He's Selling)

Berkshire Hathaway's chief continued his purge of bank stocks during the third quarter, but Warren Buffett also added six brand-new positions.

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The stock market came roaring back during the third quarter, and Warren Buffett busied himself by adding and selling a number of stakes in Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B (opens in new tab)) portfolio.

The most notable theme of the three months ended Sept. 30 was the continuing saga of Berkshire's shrinking bank stocks. Buffett has been cutting the holding company's position in banks for multiple quarters, but he really doubled down in Q3. In just about every other case, the selling was just the trimming of a position, although Buffett did dump one stock in its entirety.

Most interesting, as always, is what Warren Buffett was buying. With the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Berkshire Hathaway added a handful of pharmaceutical stocks to its portfolio. Buffett also picked up a telecommunications company and a rare initial public offering (IPO).

We know what the greatest long-term investor of all time has been up to because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires all investment managers with more than $100 million in assets to file a Form 13F quarterly to disclose any changes in share ownership. These filings add an important level of transparency to the stock market and give Buffett-ologists a chance to get a bead on what he's thinking.

When Buffett starts a new stake in some company, or adds to an existing one, investors read into that as a vote of confidence. But if he pares his holdings in a stock, it can spark investors to rethink their own investments.

Here's the scorecard for what Warren Buffett was buying and selling during the third quarter of 2020, based on the most recent 13F that the company filed on Nov. 16. And remember: Not all "Warren Buffett stocks" are actually his picks. Some smaller positions are believed to be handled by lieutenants Ted Weschler and Todd Combs.

Current price and holdings data is as of Nov. 16. Sources: Berkshire Hathaway's SEC Form 13F filed Nov. 16, 2020, for the reporting period ended Sept. 30, 2020; and WhaleWisdom.

Dan Burrows
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com