Warren Buffett's stock picks ain't what they used to be.
The Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) equity portfolio has changed dramatically over the past few years. For one, Berkshire Hathaway's investment arm has gained a taste for growth plays.
Although old-guard favorites such as American Express and Coca-Cola still form the core of the portfolio, Buffett & Co. have taken a shine to names such as Apple and Amazon.com, and even to lesser-known firms such as Snowflake and Nu Holdings.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is Buffett's preference for maintaining a highly concentrated portfolio. Berkshire Hathaway's five largest holdings comprise 80% of the portfolio's total value. The top 10 account for 88%. But whether we're talking about Berkshire's biggest bets or the scores of stocks it maintains at the margins, Buffett's focus shifted after the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the investment landscape.
Buffett owned airline stocks at the start of 2020; now he holds none. Banks were aces among Buffett stocks to begin 2020; Berkshire spent the past two-plus years kicking most of them to the curb. And it seems like only yesterday that Buffett was an enthusiastic buyer of select pharmaceutical names. Today, most of those positions have been closed out too.
If you want to know which stocks legendary investor Warren Buffett feels are worth his time and attention, look no further than the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio. (And as always, remember: A number of these stocks were actually picked by co-portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.)
Read on as we take a look at the entire Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, dive into Buffett's most recent buys and sells, and examine some of the holding company's largest positions.
Price, share totals and other data as of November 14, 2023. Sources: Berkshire Hathaway’s SEC Form 13F filed November 14, 2023, for the reporting period ended September 30, 2023; and WhaleWisdom.
The entire Berkshire Hathaway portfolio
|Company||Ticker||Shares held||Holding value||Percent of portfolio|
|Bank of America||BAC||1,010,100,606||$28,279,487,924||9.03%|
|Capital One Financial||COF||12,471,030||$1,210,313,462||0.39%|
|Liberty Sirius XM Group Class C||LSXMK||43,208,291||$1,100,083,089||0.35%|
|Liberty Sirius XM Group Class A||LSXMA||20,207,680||$514,285,456||0.16%|
|Formula One Group||FWONK||7,722,451||$481,108,697||0.15%|
|Floor & Decor||FND||4,780,000||$432,590,000||0.14%|
|Sirius XM Holdings||SIRI||9,683,224||$43,768,172||0.01%|
|Liberty Latin America Class A||LILA||2,630,792||$21,467,263||0.01%|
|Vanguard S&P 500 ETF||VOO||43,000||$16,886,100||0.01%|
|SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF||SPY||39,400||$16,842,712||0.01%|
|Liberty Latin Americ Class C||LILAK||1,284,020||$10,477,603||less than 0.01%|
|Atlanta Braves Holdings||BATRK||223,645||$7,990,835||less than 0.01%|
Stocks Warren Buffett is buying
On the buy side of Berkshire's ledger, all roads led to John Malone in Q3 2023.
Berkshire initiated a small stake in John Malone-backed Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI). BRK.B has owned SIRI before, exiting a small stake back in 2021.
The holding company also came to own shares in Liberty Live tracking stocks, both the class A voting shares (LLYVA) and nonvoting shares (LLYVK), and Atlanta Braves Holdings (BATRK) via spinoffs from its ownership stakes in other companies backed by John Malone. Those investments are thought to be handled by Ted Weschler.
All told, however, Berkshire Hathaway was a net seller of equities to the tune of $5.3 billion in Q3.
Stocks Warren Buffett is selling
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway closed out positions in General Motors (GM), Procter & Gamble (PG) and some other long-time blue-chip holdings, cut its bets on a slew of other stocks in the third quarter of 2023.
As for Buffett's latest moves, in many ways it amounted to a housecleaning. The company had been cutting its exposure to GM for years. In other cases, although the stocks Berkshire dumped might be well known, the positions themselves were essentially immaterial leftovers from happier times.
Berkshire's biggest move by far in Q3 was to sell its remaining 22 million shares in GM. The holding company slashed its position by 45% just a quarter ago, so maybe the writing was on the wall. At any rate, the investment, which is thought to be handled by co-portfolio manager Ted Weschler or Todd Combs, accounted for only 0.2% of Berkshire's portfolio, or its 24th largest holding. Berkshire first bought GM in the first quarter of 2012. Based on average prices paid, it wasn't a particularly remunerative use of capital.
Elsewhere, Buffett finally cleaned a bunch of rump positions out of Berkshire's portfolio, closing out tiny holdings in Dow Jones stocks PG and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), as well as Mondelez (MDLZ) and United Parcel Service (UPS). Berkshire also exited Celanese (CE) and Activision Blizzard (which was acquired by Microsoft (MSFT)).
In other cuts, Berkshire reduced its holdings in seven other names, the most notable being Chevron (CVX). Buffett cut Berkshire's stake in the blue chip energy giant by 10.5%, or 12.8 million shares. At almost 6% of the portfolio, CVX remains Berkshire's fifth largest holding.
Berkshire's 10 biggest positions
- Shares held: 915,560,382
- Holding value: $156,753,093,002
- Percent of portfolio: 50.04%
Warren Buffett's love affair with Apple (AAPL) continues.
During the first quarter of 2022, Berkshire used a brief dip to tack on another 3.8 million shares, or 0.3%, to its already massive holdings. And honestly, Buffett wishes it had been even more.
"Unfortunately the stock went back up, so I stopped," he told CNBC following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. "Otherwise who knows how much we would have bought?"
Happily for Berkshire shareholders, Buffett got a second chance in Q2, picking up another 3.9 million shares in AAPL when the price slumped.
In Q4 2022, Berkshire's stake in Apple rose by 333,856 shares, or less than 1%. But Warren Buffett didn't go shopping for more of his favorite stock. Rather, the Apple stock became Berkshire's property once it acquired Alleghany insurance company.
Buffett has said that "I think of [Apple] as our third business." It might as well be. The tech giant represents more than 40% of the assets in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio. And Berkshire is Apple's third-largest investor. Only Vanguard and BlackRock – giants of the passively managed index fund universe – hold more Apple stock.
The Oracle of Omaha has only occasionally dabbled in technology stocks. But he bought Apple with two fists, and he's more than happy to discuss his ardor for AAPL. As he has said more than once on CNBC, he loves the power of Apple's brand and its ecosystem of products (such as the iPhone and iPad) and services (such as Apple Pay and iTunes).
"It's probably the best business I know in the world," Buffett said a year ago. "And that is a bigger commitment that we have in any business except insurance and the railroad."
Bank of America
- Shares held: 1,032,852,006
- Holding value: $28,279,487,924
- Percent of portfolio: 9.03%
Buffett spent most of 2020 and 2021 hacking and slashing at his various bank-stock holdings. But he remained as committed as ever to Bank of America (BAC).
Buffett's interest in BAC dates back to 2011, when he swooped in to shore up the firm's finances in the wake of the Great Recession. In exchange for investing $5 billion in the firm, Berkshire received preferred stock yielding 6% and warrants giving Berkshire the right to purchase BofA common stock at a steep discount. (The Oracle of Omaha exercised those warrants in 2017, netting a $12 billion profit in the process.)
Warren Buffett let go of 2.2 million BAC shares in Q4 2019, but that represented a mere 0.2% reduction. And while he cut heavily into various bank holdings in 2020, he actually added to Berkshire's already large position in Q3 of that year by snapping up more than 85 million shares.
Most recently, in Q1 2023, a change in the way Berkshire reports its holdings led BRK.B to up its stake by 23 million shares, or 2%.
- Shares held: 151,610,700
- Holding value: $22,618,800,333
- Percent of portfolio: 7.22%
American Express (AXP) continues to endure as one of Warren Buffett's favorite investments.
Buffett likes to say this his preferred holding period is "forever," and AmEx is one of the premier examples. Berkshire entered its initial stake in the credit card company in 1963, when a struggling AmEx badly needed capital. Buffett obliged, getting favorable terms on his investment. He has played the role of white knight many times over the years, including during the 2008 financial crisis, as a means to get stakes in good companies at a discount. (Think: Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.)
Berkshire Hathaway is by far the company's largest shareholder.
Buffett praised the power of AmEx's brand at Berkshire's 2019 annual meeting. "It's a fantastic story, and I'm glad we own [so much] of it," he said. Of course he's glad: A roughly 1,000% total return over the past quarter-century would make most investors glow.
- Shares held: 400,000,000
- Holding value: $22,392,000,000
- Percent of portfolio: 7.15%
Buffett, an unabashed fan of Cherry Coke, started investing in Coca-Cola (KO) stock soon after the stock market crash of 1987. In his 1988 letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett said he expected to hold on to the stock "for a long time."
Three decades later, he has proven true to his word. Berkshire is KO's largest shareholder with 9.3% of its shares outstanding, and Coca-Cola remains among the most iconic of Buffett stocks.
Coca-Cola made a brief appearance as a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the 1930s. Shares were added back to the Dow in 1987, and they've remained a stalwart member ever since.
Coca-Cola's stock performance was a lifesaver in an otherwise terrible 2022. Shares generated a total return of 10.6% for the 52 weeks vs a total return of -18.1% for the S&P 500.
KO has also been an income investor's dream. The beverage maker has increased its dividend annually for more than 60 consecutive years.
- Shares held: 110,248,289
- Holding value: $18,590,066,491
- Percent of portfolio: 5.93%
And for a while, Buffett couldn't seem to make up his mind about whether he liked or loathed CVX. Now, however, it's abundantly clear that Buffett is a huge fan of the integrated energy major.
Berkshire Hathaway initiated a position of more than 48 million shares in the fourth quarter of 2020 valued at $4.1 billion. Although energy prices weren't expected to make huge moves in 2021 after a considerable rebound in late 2020, the outlook for oil and gas was much improved and expected to get better as the global economy recovered.
Chevron specifically was well positioned, as it took advantage of the worst of the industry's woes in July 2020 by acquiring Noble Energy in a $5 billion all-stock transaction. The company's scale, asset quality and reserves made it one of the healthiest players in an industry where a lot of players were on injured reserve. Also noteworthy was its standing as a Dividend Aristocrat, with 36 years of uninterrupted dividend growth under its belt.
And yet, Buffett reversed course in Q1 2021. In addition to booting Suncor Energy (SU) from the portfolio, Berkshire jettisoned a little more than half of its CVX position, unloading 24.8 million shares. He followed that up by dropping another 550,000 or so shares, or 2%, in Q2, to bring the position down to 23.1 million shares.
Buffett, however, has come back with vengeance. He upped Berkshire's Chevron stake by 24% in the third quarter of 2021, by 33% in the fourth quarter, by more than 300% in Q1 2022 and by 1% in the second quarter of this year.
And he wasn't done yet. Buffett raised BRK.B's CVX stake by another 2%, or almost 4 million shares, in the third quarter of 2022.
Cut to Q1 2023, however, and Buffett slashed the position by 18%, or more than 30 million shares. He followed that up with more selling in Q2 2023, trimming Berkshire's stake by 7% to 123.1 million shares worth $19.4 billion as of June 30.
Chevron, a Buy-rated Dow Jones stock, remains Berkshire's fifth largest holding with a 5.56% weighting in the portfolio.
CVX now makes up less than 7% of the Berkshire portfolio, down from almost 10% at the end of 2022.
- Shares held: 224,129,192
- Holding value: $14,541,501,977
- Percent of portfolio: 4.64%
Warren Buffett really likes Occidental Petroleum (OXY).
Berkshire upped its stake once again in the second quarter of 2023, this time by 5%, or 12.4 million shares. With 224.1 million shares worth $13.2 million as of June 30, OXY accounts for 3.78% of Berkshire's portfolio, or its sixth largest holding.
Buffett typically adds to Berkshire's OXY stake when the share price falls below $60. OXY traded below that level through most of May and June of 2023.
Berkshire owns more than a quarter of Occidental Petroleum's common shares outstanding and has regulatory approval to purchase up to 50%, but Buffett has said he has no intention of acquiring the oil and gas firm outright.
Like the rest of the industry, OXY is flush with cash, which it is returning to shareholders through dividends and buybacks – both of which Buffett loves.
- Shares held: 325,634,818
- Holding value: $10,954,355,278
- Percent of portfolio: 3.50%
Warren Buffett was one of the driving forces behind the 2015 merger of packaged-food giant Kraft and ketchup purveyor Heinz to create Kraft Heinz (KHC). It's Berkshire's seventh largest stock investment with a market value of nearly $11 billion.
But it has been a dog, and Buffett likely still regrets his participation in what was one of his biggest deals of the past decade.
Berkshire Hathaway recorded a $3 billion non-cash loss from an impairment of intangible assets in 2018, "arising almost entirely from our equity interest in Kraft Heinz," Buffett wrote in his 2019 letter to shareholders. In early 2019, KHC wrote down the value of its brands by nearly $15 billion. In 2020, Fitch downgraded the company's debt to junk status. Its second-quarter earnings beat expectations, but Kraft still had to record yet another $2.9 billion in impairments.
Kraft's operational performance has at least improved since then, and shares are holding up well amid this recent market rout. But KHC still has a lot of catching-up to do to shed its "dud" status in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio.
"I was wrong (about KHC)," Buffett flatly admitted on CNBC in 2019. Buffett says he overpaid, and it's difficult to disagree. KHC's five-year annualized total return stands at -6.1% vs 11.5% for the S&P 500.
Berkshire Hathaway is the company's largest shareholder with a 26.5% stake. Private investment firm 3G Capital – who teamed up with Berkshire in 2013 to purchase H.J. Heinz – owns 7.9%.
- Shares held: 24,669,778
- Holding value: $7,799,843,711
- Percent of portfolio: 2.49%
Moody's (MCO) is a business and financial services firm best known for its Moody's Investors Service credit rating arm – one of the three major American business credit ratings agencies alongside Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. It also offers financial analysis technology via Moody's Analytics.
MCO is a longtime, significant holding in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio – and an ironic one to boot.
"Uncle Warren" first dipped his toe in during the first quarter of 2001, and he has been content with his investment of late, leaving his 24.7 million-share stake unchanged over the past couple of years.
The funny thing about Berkshire's holding in Moody's is that Buffett said back in 2010 that "Our job is to rate credit ourselves. We do not outsource that to ratings agencies." Yet Berkshire Hathaway is the largest institutional holder of MCO.
The holding is meaningful on Berkshire's end, too. At 2.46% of assets, Moody's is one of the top 10 Warren Buffett stocks.
- Shares held: 36,095,570
- Holding value: $3,412,114,232
- Percent of portfolio: 1.09%
DaVita (DVA) was a largely undisturbed holding in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio, at least up until in 2020. Then Buffett snipped 1% of his stake in the kidney care provider and dialysis center operator in Q1 2020. He cut it by another 5% in Q3.
But Buffett left the position alone in 2021 and 2022, as well.
DaVita serves patients via more than 3,000 dialysis centers in the U.S. and nine other countries. Aging baby boomers and a graying population in many developed markets should provide a strong, secular tailwind.
Berkshire disclosed its initial position in DaVita during 2012's first quarter. Given that DVA was a large position of Ted Weschler's Peninsula Capital in his pre-Berkshire days, it wasn't unreasonable to assume that it was his pick. Weschler confirmed as much in 2014.
DaVita's shares have been a disappointment since BRK.B first bought it at the end of 2011. The stock's 10-year annualized total return comes to 6.4%, vs 12.4% for the broader market.
- Shares held: 102,519,035
- Holding value: $2,634,739,200
- Percent of portfolio: 0.84%
Buffett dipped into Berkshire's massive cash pile in Q1 2022 to initiate a commanding position in HP (HPQ). And this big new bet on a PC and printer maker appears to be another classic Buffett value play.
HPQ generates a steady and ample stream of free cash flow (FCF) – the cash left after expenses, capital expenditures and financial commitments have been met – or an average of nearly $4 billion a year over the past five years.
Industry analysts expect that FCF number to increase and – most importantly – to flow into investors' pockets.
Free cash flow supports dividends, and it's no secret Buffett adores dividends. HPQ, for its part, has been not only a generous dividend payer, but a dividend grower. The company has increased its payout annually for 13 years.
True, the market for PCs and printers is hardly overflowing with growth prospects. But HPQ has a solid track record of slow but steady gains on the top line. Wall Street analysts see this incremental revenue growth continuing for years, all helped by recent strategic acquisitions.
And then there's HPQ's valuation, which Buffett appears to have found irresistible.
Buffett, with 10.6% of HP's shares outstanding, snatched up a boring but dependable cash machine at a bargain price.
Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.
A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.
Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.
In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes and more.
Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.
Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.
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